My apartment was too hot and too messy for me to get any work done. (Cleaning it would have helped, of course, but obviously that wasn’t happening.) So I came to MoMA for a change of scenery and some inspiration. If you have a painting hanging in MoMA, you probably aren’t a slouch. You don’t get a painting on permanent display in New York City by scribbling something quick the night before a gallery show, even if it looks like that’s what they did. It probably takes weeks, months, of concentrated effort. Of hard work. I often think about how many talented people there probably are in the world, people who could blow Jackson Pollack and Jonathan Franzen and Phillip Glass out of the water if they ever just sat down to do any WORK. Of course, hard work isn’t palatable, even if you love what you’re doing, even if it’s exactly what you have always wanted to be doing. So you have to make allowances for yourself. You have to find the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Like coming to MoMA on a Friday afternoon in summer, and spending an air conditioned 30 minutes wandering through the rooms before buying a coffee on the second floor cafe and working, really working, without wifi or the fridge or the overpoweringly delectable prospect of a nap on the couch to distract you. And then maybe you don’t go out on Friday night but instead stay in, and take advantage of one, two, and three am, the only hours where you seem to be able to concentrate without distraction. And while everyone else is out drinking, or dancing, or sleeping, you work. If you work hard, it doesn’t matter when you do it. If the work is good, it doesn’t matter where you do it. The only rule is that you have to tell yourself the truth: you can’t convince yourself you’re working hard when you aren’t. You can’t reassure yourself your work is fine, when it isn’t, or that it’s perfectly ok, when it should be perfect.

My apartment was too hot and too messy for me to get any work done. (Cleaning it would have helped, of course, but obviously that wasn’t happening.) So I came to MoMA for a change of scenery and some inspiration. If you have a painting hanging in MoMA, you probably aren’t a slouch. You don’t get a painting on permanent display in New York City by scribbling something quick the night before a gallery show, even if it looks like that’s what they did. It probably takes weeks, months, of concentrated effort. Of hard work. I often think about how many talented people there probably are in the world, people who could blow Jackson Pollack and Jonathan Franzen and Phillip Glass out of the water if they ever just sat down to do any WORK. Of course, hard work isn’t palatable, even if you love what you’re doing, even if it’s exactly what you have always wanted to be doing. So you have to make allowances for yourself. You have to find the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Like coming to MoMA on a Friday afternoon in summer, and spending an air conditioned 30 minutes wandering through the rooms before buying a coffee on the second floor cafe and working, really working, without wifi or the fridge or the overpoweringly delectable prospect of a nap on the couch to distract you. And then maybe you don’t go out on Friday night but instead stay in, and take advantage of one, two, and three am, the only hours where you seem to be able to concentrate without distraction. And while everyone else is out drinking, or dancing, or sleeping, you work. If you work hard, it doesn’t matter when you do it. If the work is good, it doesn’t matter where you do it. The only rule is that you have to tell yourself the truth: you can’t convince yourself you’re working hard when you aren’t. You can’t reassure yourself your work is fine, when it isn’t, or that it’s perfectly ok, when it should be perfect.