Henry Miller’s Creative Commandments
In his writer’s notebook, 1932-1933, Henry Miller, an author with a deep sense of process, laid down his ‘commandments’ of writing. Here they are adapted to whatever it is you want to create:
- Work on one thing at a time until finished.
- Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. Work according to The Program (the timetable you’ve laid out for yourself) and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
- When you can’t create you can work. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
- Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
- Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
- Discard The Program when you feel like it — but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
- Forget the next thing you want to create. Think only of what you are creating now.
- Do it first, always. Painting, music, friends, cinema — all these come after.