Monday, January 30, 2012

Henry Miller's Commandments

Henry Miller

Circulating on Facebook these days is a writer’s list, penned by Henry Miller.  He calls them his “Commandments,” but these guidelines could help anyone who is project-oriented.  Enjoy these notes-to-self Miller wrote while living and working in Paris, c. 1922.  I especially like #7, myself!
Henry Miller’s Commandments:
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 the 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 drought-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9.  Discard the Program when you feel like it – but go back to it the 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.


  1. I haven't seen these before; they are wonderful! I'm going to type them out and stick them on my desk where I can see them every time I sit down to write (and feel overwhelmed!)

  2. #11 - that's the one that niggled me. So easy to do everything but write!