Anything that helps you be productive should be treated as holy. What that may be differs for each of us. For me, it’s long multi-volume history books, as well as certain public sites that have been “lucky” places for me for thinking and working– the now-closed Café Trevi on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, a specific cybercafe near Russell Square in London that still exists, etc. I do recommend treating these sorts of lucky rituals and places with a near-religious awe, because humans are all constantly within inches of turning into sulky, embittered procrastinators and aggressive resenters of the productive and the fulfilled. But you have to find your own holy places and holy relics. (OOP)
This is both brilliant advice, as well as utterly painful for me to read. While living in Nottingham for my MA I did most of my ‘good’ work at one of the many mellow pubs or cafes in the city. On moving to Dundee to start my PhD I figured I’d be able to do the same and find a few places possessing that certain ‘energy’ allowing me to work. Sadly, there is not even a shred of ‘cafe culture’ in this city, and the pubs are not the type of pubs that are used to people coming in mid-day with a stack of books under their arm. (A stack of alcoholism, maybe…)
Thus, I’ve been doing most of my outlining/writing in the small library cafe, and taking advantage of St. Andrews, which is right across the river, and being filled with mostly American and English students it has great cafes where you can buy one cup of coffee and sit for a couple hours comfortably working away. Although at times pretentious, at least St. Andrews ‘feels’ academic, and it’s not hard to walk into a pub and find an awkard looking academic with a pint of ale and a book.
Regardless, great advice.