“There are people who say, ‘If music’s that easy to write, I could do it.’ Of course they could, but they don’t. I find [Morton] Feldman’s own statement more affirmative. We were driving back from some place in New England where a concert had been given. He is a large man and falls asleep easily. Out of a sound sleep, he awoke to say, ‘Now that things are so simple, there’s so much to do.’”
—John Cage, Indeterminacy
100 things to do when you have the time
- Doodle. Look for new styles, new approaches.
- Draw a picture of a friend. See how many different ways you can do it, such as how few lines you can use.
- Recite something you once memorized: a poem, a song, a story, a monologue.
- Memorize something new.
- Write a review of something you like.
- Go over the steps in a procedure or a process.
- Explain to a friend a thing you know, or think you know.
- Write a song, or cover a song.
- List the projects you’re working on, or want to work on. Set a deadline for completing one of them.
- Review every thing that you’ve done in the past week, the past month, the past year, the past five years, the past decade.
- Reread your diary or journal. If you don’t keep one, reread old sent emails.
- Describe something in as many words as possible, then as briefly as possible.
- Make up a riddle or joke.
- Make a puzzle for others to solve.
- Play a Dadaist/Surrealist/Oulipian writing game, such as automatic writing, the Exquisite Corpse, the Cut-Up Technique, homophonic translation, lipograms, …
- Write a story or poem entirely in your head.
- Observe whoever is around you. Note what they’re doing.
- Observe how the energy levels in a room change over time.
- Perform John Cage’s “silent piece” (4’33”). Pay attention to both the aural and the visual.
- Perform random FLUXUS pieces, then try inventing new ones.
- List all of your interests. Prioritize them.
- Compose a view.
- Explore a texture (a fabric, a liquid).
- Examine a nearby text. Why is it the way that it is?
- Explore a space: a room, a building, a street, a city.