Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Morning Reading: Henry Miller

I never imagined that Henry Miller offered writing advice but perhaps that suggests more about me and my imagination than Mr. Miller, a writer whose works I stumbled across in high school, along with the breathy, elusive diaries of his one-time girlfriend Anais Nin. Boy, did my friends and I try to puzzle those two out.

Anyway, here's Mr. Miller's advice to himself, courtesy of Professor Zero's most excellent blog. She got it from The Lotus Notebooks.

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 book 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.

(from Henry Miller on Writing, 161)

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