henry miller’s eleven commandments

‘henry miller on writing’ (new directions)


In the early thirties, as he was writing Tropic of Cancer, his first published novel that was to become a classic of twentieth century fiction- Henry Miller wrote himself this list of 11 commandments. We find them really useful – some more than others – applicable to many creative pursuits:

  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. ConcentrateNarrow downExclude.
  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.
from  via Henry Miller on Writing via Letters of Note (although the post seems to have been taken down). Scan via biblioklept.org

One Response to henry miller’s eleven commandments

  1. Noreen Sullivan 02.15.2012 at 6:44pm #

    i would highlight exactly those you did. very useful and interesting!

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