Writer’s Toolbox

Tips From the Masters

You will find pearls of writing wisdom in these pithy lists by masters of their craft.

Henry Miller: 10 Writing Tips

Henry Miller: 10 Writing Tips

Henry Miller created something of a new literary form: semi-autobiographical novels that merged storytelling with philosophy, mysticism, and social commentary, all spiced up with explicit sexual scenes (which is why his books were banned in the US until 1961). His most famous books: Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Black Spring, and The Rosy Crucifixion.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to Black Spring. (Apparently he's giving himself this advice.)
  3. Dont be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you cant 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. Dont be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like itbut go back to it the 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.

From Henry Miller's book Henry Miller on Writing.