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“Work under any circumstances.”

Benjamin Robert Haydon was a 19th-century British artist and writer who kept extensive journals throughout his life.

He wrote the following entry in April 1845, when he was 59, and still determined to create art regardless of the many obstacles he faced.

Tragically, just a year later, he would take his own life. His final journal entry ended with this line:

“Stretch me no longer on this rough world. — Lear”

It breaks my heart.

But it’s what he wrote a year earlier that means so much to me:

27th. A man who defers working because he wants tranquillity of mind will have lost the habit when tranquillity comes. Work under any circumstances—all circumstances. I used to carry my sketch when arrested, and sketch and compose as I sat by the officer’s side. The consequence was I was always ready, never depressed, and returned to my work with a new thought or an additional improvement as if I had been all the time at home.

When asked how I manage to get so much done, my answers are many. Enough to fill a book, in fact:

Someday Is Today: 22 Simple, Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life

But one of my answers is always:

I don’t waste minutes. I don’t get precious about my work. I don’t require a sunlight room, a bustling coffee shop, a tall, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle, or three uninterrupted hours to write. I don’t insist on a particular pen or a Joan Baez record or a yellow legal pad.

I write in the cracks of my life:

Ten minutes here. Five minutes there. An hour or two in the wee hours of the morning. Four minutes between meetings.

I write at my desk. The dining room table. Waiting rooms. Picnic tables. Backstage before a show. Waiting in my car for my kids to emerge from their Scout meeting.

I write on my laptop. My phone. Notepads. Envelopes. Whatever I can find.

Like Haydon, I write wherever and whenever I have the opportunity. I write in those moments that would have otherwise been wasted on nonsense, ephemera, and wasteful stupidity.

Admittedly, I did not write on the day I was arrested, but I wrote in my journal later that day when I finally exited jail and the courthouse. And had mobile phones existed back then, maybe I would’ve been writing while being processed, fingerprinted, and arranged.

I like to think so, though even that would’ve been a lot for me.

Haydon was clearly a bad-ass.

But if you’re waiting for the right moment to begin your next great creative endeavor, you can probably forget ever making it happen because the right moment will likely never arrive.

Someday is today. Find a crack in the din of your life and get started.

Benjamin Robert Haydon so wisely said:

“Work under any circumstances.”

Here are some of his more famous paintings.