What’s urgent are emails, texts, tweets, calls, and news.
What’s important is spending a thousand hours to learn a new skill that will really help you in your life or work. What’s important is giving your full undistracted attention to the important people in your life. What’s important is taking time to get exercise, or to collect and share what you’ve learned.
But none of these things will ever be urgent.
So you have to ignore the tempting cries of the urgent, and deliberately choose what you know is important.
— Derek Sivers on the meaning of life
Making films is all about — as soon as you’re finished — continually regretting what you’ve done. When we look at films we’ve made, all we can see are the flaws; we can’t even watch them in a normal way. I never feel like watching my own films again. So unless I start working on a new one, I’ll never be free from the curse of the last one.
— Hayao Miyazaki in his book Turning Point: 1997–2008
I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.
— Ernest Hemingway in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald
Previously: “Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time…”
It’s not difficult, as a young writer, to feel anxious, moody, and paranoid. Lawyers, dentists, and car salesmen do not directly compete with all of the people who have ever practiced law, dentistry, and car salesmanship. But anyone who decides to write joins a bruising free-for-all in which a dwindling number of attention spans are being fought over by the many dead writers whose books are still brilliant, and the multitude of the living who aspire to achieve that status.
— Ben Tarnoff (Mark Twain, Writing Coach and Role Model)
I’m most superstitious about hubris. I am terrified about having things taken away from me because I finally relax. When I wrote the pilot of Mad Men, I was saying, I’m already successful, why am I not happy? Now it’s become, You didn’t even know what success was. What if your dreams came true?
—Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men in an interview with The Paris Review
If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail. Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.
— Hugh MacLeod in an article that inspired his book, Ignore Everybody
- Andy: They’re trying. But they know they’re not going to get anything on the air. Lesson One is they got to live and die on Friday night. They got to feel like success in a 3 minute sketch is the same thing as love. And they got to fear failure like it’s grim death. They got to be every bit as damaged as you are.
- Danny: What do you think he should do?
- Andy: Toss them in the river [...] Give their sketch a spot at the dress [rehearsal] tonight. Let them hear what 300 people not laughing sounds like.
— From an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Some people go to the movies to be reminded that everything’s okay. I don’t make those kinds of movies. That, to me, is a lie. Everything’s not okay.
— David Fincher in a 2007 interview with Esquire
But the skill I picked up in school that turned out to be the most valuable was learning how to take a punch. We had these insane critiques where we’d trash each other viciously. […] It was an art form in itself. We were basically trying to see if we could get each other to drop out of school.
— Mike Monteiro talks about design & business in an interview
Who in hell ever respected Shelley, Whitman, Poe, O. Henry, Verlaine, Swinburne, Villon, Shakespeare ect when they were alive. Shelley + Swinburne were fired from college; Verlaine + O Henry were in jail. The rest were drunkards or wasters and told generally by the merchants and petty politicians and jitney messiahs of their day that real people wouldn’t stand it. And the merchants and messiahs, the shrewd + the dull, are dust — and the others live on.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald responds to hate mail
Previously: “It’s only ugly because it’s new and you don’t like it”