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Books Productivity & Work

Henry Miller on why we create

“I reached out for something to attach myself to—and I found nothing. But in reaching out, in the effort to grasp, to attach myself, left high and dry as I was, I nevertheless found something I had not looked for—myself. I found that what I had desired all my life was not to live—if what others are doing is called living—but to express myself. I realized that I had never had the least interest in living, but only in this which I am doing now, something which is parallel to life, of it at the same time, and beyond it. What is true interests me scarcely at all, nor even what is real; only that interests me which I imagine to be, that which I had stifled every day in order to live.”

Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

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Productivity & Work

Ready, rock steady

gif via Reddit

The more you work the more you make, at least it appears that way. But Søren Kierkegaard thought wiser:

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Henry Miller also disdained to overwork:

“I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to work that much. It’s bad, in fact. You drain the reservoir.”

Henry Miller

More work may beget more money but also creates more stress, which may negatively impact productivity. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break or a vacation and letting the mind run on its own.

Even during those dull moments your mind is working, jettisoning the bad ideas and retaining the good ones much like a washing machine. This process intensifies during sleep.

Pace your work. Focus and relax once in a while and allow the brain to sort out the connections. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Henry Miller: ‘Let us do our best, even if it gets us nowhere.’

“Let us do our best, even if it gets us nowhere.”

Henry Miller

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Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 28, Henry Miller

After all, most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk. I’d say it occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game or whatever, or even talking to someone you’re not vitally interested in. You’re working, your mind is working, on this problem in the back of your head. So, when you get to the machine it’s a mere matter of transfer.

Your best thoughts occur when you’re not working, when your mind and body step away from your desk. But even in those dull moments your mind is working. And then you just copy-paste your thoughts at the computer. The hard part is the editing.

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In the last ten or fifteen years, I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to work that much. It’s bad, in fact. You drain the reservoir.

Henry Miller

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