I came across the 11 Commandments of Writing and Creative Routine --words of writing wisdom from Henry Miller, written in 1932-33 when he was working on his first novel, Tropic of Cancer. Apparently he was struggling with the same challenges all of us writers face.
HENRY MILLER'S COMMANDMENTS
- Work on one thing at a time until finished.
- Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
- Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
- Work according to Program 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 books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
- Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
The commandment that resonates most with me at the moment is #5 - When you can't create, you can work. I write new material in the morning. When my creative energy lags--as it does around 3 every afternoon--then I can edit, work on my website, Tweet, add to a marketing plan. In other words, there are many ways to be productive. And success often comes from keeping at it.
Thanks Henry Miller!