Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs Productivity

In another delightful post, Maria Popova from Brain Pickings, together with artist Wendy MacNaughton, have devised an info-graphic of writers productivity and sleep patterns.

Her concluding point:

…no specific routine guarantees success, …. Showing up day in and day out, without fail, is the surest way to achieve lasting success.

A summary of her original post is below.

___________________________________

In both writing and sleeping,”

Stephen King observed,

“we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.

Moreover, it has been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment.

This infographic is the end result — a labor of love months in the making — is this magnificent visualization of the correlation between writers’ wake-up times, displayed in clock-like fashion around each portrait, and their literary productivity, depicted as different-colored “auras” for each of the major awards and stack-bars for number of works published, color-coded for genre.

The writers are ordered according to a “timeline” of earliest to latest wake-up times, beginning with Balzac’s insomniac 1 A.M. and ending with Bukowski’s bohemian noon.

The most important caveat of all, of course, is that there are countless factors that shape a writer’s creative output, of which sleep is only one — so this isn’t meant to indicate any direction of causation, only to highlight some interesting correlations: for instance, the fact that (with the exception of outliers who are both highly prolific and award-winning, such as like Bradbury and King) late risers seem to produce more works but win fewer awards than early birds.

The most important point, perhaps, is a meta one: A reminder that no specific routine guarantees success, and the only thing that matters is having a routine and the persistence implicit to one. Showing up day in and day out, without fail, is the surest way to achieve lasting success.

 

You can view the original post at Brain Pickings here.

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