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. And 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
The Kafka–Klum worm, this newsletter’s sometime brand identity, as drawn by Jason Chatfield. (Read more here.)

Is it free???

Subtle Maneuvers is a reader-supported publication, which is to say: If you find the newsletter valuable and would like to see it continue—and can afford it—I’d like you to consider becoming a paid subscriber for $5/month or $30/year.

As a thank-you for your support, you’ll receive an invite to my Subtle Maneuvers server on Discord, where I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes peeks of my writing process and we can all share progress, resources, and advice (and complaints!). You could think of it as a virtual club, or a salon, or a mutual encouragement and commiseration society.

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

Subtle Advice

One last thing: Periodically, I’ve been trying my hand at writing an advice column. To submit a question or creative dilemma for consideration, email me at subtlemaneuvers@substack.com and I’ll do my best to provide some concrete advice based on my research into great minds’ work habits.

Email me

(Read my past advice here.)

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


Mason Currey 

Author of the Daily Rituals books and the Subtle Maneuvers newsletter