What is Subtle Maneuvers?

From Mason Currey, author of the Daily Rituals books, a fortnightly newsletter on routines, rituals, and wriggling through a creative life.

The title comes from a letter Franz Kafka sent in 1912. He wrote:

Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.

Anyone trying to pursue an ambitious creative project has probably felt this way from time to time. Reading about how other people have done it—how they made time and found strength for their creative work in the face of intractable daily obstacles—can be inspiring and comforting.

Hence this newsletter. Every other Monday, subscribers will get a glimpse into how writers, artists, and other inspired minds actually got it done (or didn’t get it done!).

Franz Kafka in 1910

Become a Subtle Patron!

Subtle Maneuvers is a reader-supported publication. All subscribers—both free and paid—get the same newsletter every other Monday. But paid subscribers also get:

The full archive of 140+ back issues

New issues are free for all, but the web versions are paywalled after a couple months. And there’s a lot of good stuff in the archive! Iris Murdoch, impostor syndrome, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Neel, creative blocks and how to solve them, and much more.


My summer course on wriggling through a creative life—now in progress. Join me in establishing (or re-establishing) the habits needed to make progress on ambitious creative work. Paid subscribers get a new lesson every Monday; free subscribers get a lesson preview every other Monday.

The community Discord

The best part of writing this newsletter has been finding a community of like-minded readers online—many of us struggling with the same creative obstacles and frustrations. The subscriber-only Discord is an additional space where we can hang out and share progress, resources, advice, and complaints.

My sincere gratitude for your support

Your subscription dollars help fund this newsletter—and keep new issues free for everyone—but they also give me the financial headroom to finish my current book properly, to think about future books or other long-term projects, and to just generally exist as an independent writer. I realize that this is an enormous privilege and I really am grateful—thank you!

You can also support my work by ordering one of my Daily Rituals books or sharing the newsletter with a friend!

Subscribe to Subtle Maneuvers

A fortnightly newsletter on routines, rituals, and wriggling through a creative life, from the author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work


Author of the DAILY RITUALS books, now writing Subtle Maneuvers on Substack and a new book coming . . . someday đŸ«