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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Henry Miller's 11 Commandments of Writing

When I was younger (middle school and high school), writing was the only thing I wanted to do "when I grew up." During my first year of community college, however, I lost the urge to write, and that urge left for several years.

Then I started this blog two years ago and it rekindled my love of writing. Now I'm also writing for a few different websites and newsletters (and I'm totally available to write guest posts, if you were wondering) and, for the first time ever, I feel like an actual writer.

[I also identify as a true activist now for the first time ever, but that's another post for another day.]

When I read Henry Miller's 11 Commandments of Writing a few weeks ago, I thought, Now there's some advice I need to take. I'm sharing those commandments here, too, to remind myself, and to pass on Mr. Miller's wisdom to my fellow writers out there.

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.

What other writing tips and advice have been most helpful to you? What is your biggest writing struggle?

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