Got Rules?

Ever since I read Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch thirty-plus years ago I have loved Henry Miller. If his life was anything like that book I sort of wanted to be Henry Miller: live in Paris, write, paint, philosophize, be incredibly cool. Be so cool that uncool America wanted to save the kids from you. The fact that these rules of his are pretty mainline, today or in the ’30s, is pretty cool. “Work according to the Program”? Oh yeah.

Henry Miller’s WRITING 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 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.

3 thoughts on “Got Rules?

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