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Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou courage

James Clear on Maya Angelou:

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James Clear writes:

Maya Angelou is widely known as a voice for women, especially black women, and her works have courageously covered themes of identity, racism, and family.

During an interview with USA Today in 1988, Angelou said, “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Maya Angelou’s Writing Routine:

As you may expect, Angelou’s creative genius didn’t expose itself without hard work. She was a true master of habits, routines, and consistency.

Here’s how she described her writing habits in 1983 interview with Claudia Tate (as covered in Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals),

I usually get up at about 5:30, and I’m ready to have coffee by 6, usually with my husband. He goes off to his work around 6:30, and I go off to mine. I keep a hotel room in which I do my work—a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room. I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous. I edit while I’m working. When I come home at 2, I read over what I’ve written that day, and then try to put it out of my mind. I shower, prepare dinner, so that when my husband comes home, I’m not totally absorbed in my work. We have a semblance of a normal life. We have a drink together and have dinner. Maybe after dinner I’ll read to him what I’ve written that day. He doesn’t comment. I don’t invite comments from anyone but my editor, but hearing it aloud is good. Sometimes I hear the dissonance; then I try to straighten it out in the morning.

Angelou’s routine and her willingness to sit down and do the work for at least five hours each day — even when it was going poorly — is just another indication that great artists don’t wait for inspiration.

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