Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Writing

Henry Miller Ravishing his New Bride, linocut print by John Steins

As we all approach that time of the semester when we begin term papers, finish our theses, or balance both at the same time, it can often feel like we just need someone to tell us what to do to make it through.  Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Writing may not say exactly how to get that research paper done in a today, but they do give some consoling advice.  Namely, “Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.” And “Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.” Working with pleasure often seems like a difficult task when all of your professors ask for a paper at the same time and you find yourself making the library your new abode, but remember to “Discard the program when you feel like it.”  Don’t drive yourself crazy.  “But go back to it next day.  Narrow down. Exclude.”  Even while working hard, a little taking care of yourself goes a long way.


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