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Henry Miller On Writing

COMMANDMENTS

from “Henry Miller On Writing”

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Work Schedule

Mornings:

If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus
If in fine fettle, write.

Afternoons:

Work on section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No
intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for
good and all.

Evenings:

See friends. Read in cafes.
Explore unfamiliar sections–on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.
Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program
Paint if empty or tired.
Makes Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafes and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library references once a week.

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