The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People




Flannery O’Connor had it figured out…


I like that Mozart spent over an hour and a half getting dressed.


Seems like there’s a trend regarding people doing their creative work in the early part of their “day,” though.


I wonder if famous people sit around wondering how other famous people spend their time?


I don’t suppose Balzac went to many parties.


Daily routine is not a concept I associate with many of the most creative people I know. Most of them work in bursts and flurries and have micro routines for a week or a month or year. Each project demands its own brand of routine and many departures from that routine.


I remember reading that Balzac only worked that much during two-week coffee binges. By the end of them, he was simply eating ground coffee on an empty stomach.


Franklin went to bed at midnight? “Early to bed, early to rise” my arse!


and the moral that we should learn is: early to rise and early to bed, makes a man healthy but socially dead.


Not many of these people had to have a day job apparently.


Patronage probably helped some, publishing success others. One way or another, each probably also maintained a room of one’s own.



And none of them a full day job.


You might be able to fit in more than an hour of productivity for each day, but Immanuel Kant.


Bill Bryson points out that a number of creative accomplishments in the 19th century were made by rectors in the UK who were well looked after financially and didn’t have much else to do.

In the first chapter of At Home, Bill Bryson surveys his own home, an old Norfolk rectory, and considers the career of the young rector for whom it was built in 1851. Thomas JG Marsham would have enjoyed an income of around £500 – £400,000 today. He was, Bryson writes, one of “a class of well-educated, wealthy people who had immense amounts of time on their hands. In consequence, many of them began, quite spontaneously, to do remarkable things”. He cites the examples of George Bayldon, whose services were so poorly attended he converted half his church into a hen-house, and Reverend George Garrett, who pioneered submarine design.



I’ve just totted up the amount of hours collectively they sleep, and I’m pretty sure I’ve slept that much in one go. WTF, Balzac?


Also note - they’re all dead.

Get your 8 hours a day, kids.

Edit: inevitably, they’re not all dead (Murakami).

Maybe Balzac didn’t know what time zone he was living in.


I’ve read that he would write an entire novel in a two-week caffeine binge, so he probably slept many hours per day outside of those two weeks.


See also, those ancient Greek dudes coming up with all that culture, science and civilization stuff on the ample spare time afforded by slave labor. Where’s our machine labor-derived free time? Imagine what mankind is missing because people are shamefully busy working all the time.