The one true lesson of the book, says its author, Mason Currey, is that “there’s no one way to get things done”. For every Joyce Carol Oates, industriously plugging away from 8am to 1pm and again from 4pm to 7pm, or Anthony Trollope, timing himself typing 250 words per quarter-hour, there’s a Sylvia Plath, unable to stick to a schedule. Or a Friedrich Schiller, who could only write in the presence of the smell of rotting apples. Still, some patterns do emerge. Here, then, are six lessons from history’s most creative minds.