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Seize your (work) day

Quite a post today: one of my lovely friends asked me about my "Hemingway rules for a working day", and here they are, illustrated with what I did today. 


I remember teaching masters of arts. The problem was not to get the students to be creative. The problem was not to get them to be clever. They were clever and creative all right. They were terrified. They were procrastinating. They couldn't get to work. I think being able to get to work makes all the difference. 

What I know about how to get to work I learned ...from Hemingway. Yes, Ernst Hemingway. I know there is a lot of people who don't like him (especially the ones who didn't read him) but what he wrote about love, war and , yes, work I really like. He has a resonance I find quite universal, and I might be a bit right, considering I have very little common points with Mr Hemingway, except my love for the great outdoors, the fact that I lived in almost the same street in Paris, and a belief in true love.

In " A Moveable Feast", he gives hints about how he works and it inspired me. Working as a freelancer is not always easy. Getting inspired is easy, but getting inspired on a daily basis, not so much. So here's my Papa Rules, and why I stick to them :


1.Get to work.

Ernst woke up early and got to work. That's it. I just do the same, except for the "early " part, because I am a night bird, not an early one. I get up and I lit my computer and here I am, with my second cup of coffee, and since I have coffee and a computer, I get to work. I read my email and connect on Facebook when I wake up on my iPad, but when I get up, work. Concentrating on this one task is key. It's a rule that became such a habit that I am very uncomfortable on vacation. 

2.To avoid artist's block, stop at a reasonable hour but not when you are finished with a task.

This is the main rule. If you have something waiting for you in the morning it's easier. You just get back where you were and continue and inspiration comes back easily. It's a flow. 

3.When you stop, stop.

You don't need to rush to La Closerie des Lilas and have a drink. It's quite unhealthy actually. But when you stop, stop. Don't speak about what you are doing. Don't think about it. Sleep over it. Give yourself a chance to get back to work refreshed. Like that you won't turn a problem again and again in your head without finding a solution. The solution might come easier if you sleep over it. And since you are not speaking about it, people won't find you a bore.

I must admit I am quite good at the first two rules but not so much with the third one! Sometimes talking about a specific problem helps...Oh dang, I must be a bore sometimes! 


If you want to know more about Hemingway's work habits, I just found an interview on the Paris review I quite liked : The art of Fiction nº21


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Reader Comments (6)

Je te coeur!

De concert...

May 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Oô

oh merci pour ce motif d'origami ♥ adorable !

Avec plaisir!

May 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Thank you! This a sunshine in this day.

Wishing you more sunny days^^

May 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Merci pour ces conseils, c'est vraiment intéressant. J'avais déjà remarqué ce que tu dis dans le second, même si j'ai toujours du mal à m'arrêter au milieu d'une tâche. Sans doute parce que je déteste ne pas finir un truc que j'ai commencé, alors que ça m'arrive de plus en plus souvent. Enfin pas dans le travail, mais dans les loisirs. Alors du coup, m'arrêter au milieu... j'ai toujours un petit pincement.

Je n'ai jamais lu Hemingway, tu me conseillerais de commencer par lequel ?

Oh la question difficile!Je sais que je n'aime pas ceux qui parlent uniquement de boxe ou de tauromachie ...Paris est une fete a des description très précises qui m'ont ravies, Pour Qui Sonne le Glas est une superbe histoire d'amour mais un crève coeur, pareil pour En avoir ou Pas, et Au delà du Fleuve et sous les Arbres est très touchant. On a beaucoup accusé Hemingway de mysogynisme, mais je crois qu'il était surtout très masculin, ses charactères féminins ont une belle dimension et on voit qu'il a mis beaucoup d'amour à les décrire. Comme Steinbeck, ca n'est pas un auteur facile, et un livre qui plaira a l'une laissera une autre indifférente...Faut feuilleter, mais il y a de belles pages pleines de lumière."

May 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlycene

merci pour ta réponse ;)

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlycene

"Don't think about it." Oh Gosh... Celui-là, c'est vraiment le plus dur. A moins d'avoir un interrupteur à cerveau?

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeedeen

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