[I approach writing] the way an athlete would approach something. I write professionally, and if you look at the professionals, they care about the way they sleep, what they read, what they eat. And it's not just about being trim and strong; it's about achieving a certain amount of mental solidarity. It's funny because in that sense it's the exact inverse of what was perceived as Beat ethics. You know, let's write this thing on Benzedrine, you know. Let's just get whooped on jug wine and just go for it.
I needed to be as fit as possible all the time. So it was just as important for me to write eight or nine hours a day as it was to stay in shape, to eat well, to rest, to even meditate.
I haven't written anything on Benzedrine since, um, ever, but this reminds how often I fail to take care of myself in ways that hurt my ability to be productive, creative and inspired. My weakness is staying up too late while working on a project and running a sleep deficit that (hopefully) gets made up on the weekend. I fool myself into thinking that my ability and willingness to go without sleep is a sign of my professionalism, when in fact it's the exact opposite; being truly professional means taking care of myself so that I can do my best work.
Photo courtesy of Lower Class Student. Yay Flickr & Creative Commons.