30 January 2006

Prolificity: Keep your chops up.

"Keeping my chops up" has stuck in my head ever since I read this article in The New Yorker in 2004. Here's the relevant quote:
“I try to keep my chops up,” Glover told Jane Goldberg, for Dance Magazine, “so I can just be.”
That's Glover as in Savion Glover, the great tap virtuoso of our age. His point is that he works hard to keep his technique in line--then doesn't have to think about it when it comes time to perform.

This matches my experience of writing. When I'm writing every day--writing to some endpoint, not just jotting down disconnected thoughts--the words flow more easily, and the prose itself ends up at a higher quality. I'm reminded of an interview with Janet Evans that I heard when she made her debut at the Seoul Olympics. Evans said that she tended to break her coach's prohibition on swimming seven days a week, because she found that missing a day in the pool threw her off her (typhonic) rhythm when she got back in the water.

If you want to produce a lot, work to produce something all the time, not by spurts or by seasons.

"Nulla dies sine linea." -- Pliny


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