In the Footsteps of Henry Miller…

I came across a piece of writing by Henry Miller the other day. Here is is here: Henry Miller on Writing. I'd seen it before, and admired it before, but this time it felt like I really needed it. So I copied, pasted and modified it to suit my own needs and bad habits. Then I printed it out and stuck it to the pin-board hanging above my desk. 

Here is my version here...



MORNINGS (mornings end between 12 and 2):

* Paid work if it exists should be done by noon or at the very latest 2pm, if possible, and it is nearly always possible — spread work over a number of days if necessary.
* If no paid work, work on next list item.

* Chores that must be done must be done as early as possible.
* Watch newsy stuff only as accompaniment to food and exercise.

* Do back exercises every day.

* Fill in gratitude journal every day.

AFTERNOONS (afternoons end at 6):

* Carry on writing — whatever is at the top of the list.
* If brain refuses to budge, do Dutch.

* If brain still refuses to budge, go out.
* Make time for museums. Make time for reading.

EVENINGS (evenings end when they end, and not before):

* Socialise. Cinema. Cycle. Read.

* If you must watch things online, make sure they have genuine value.

* Work through notes.
* Catch up with social media if necessary.


1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.

2. Don’t write angry, scared or begrudging. Write calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.

3. Stick to Daily Programme and be not swayed by mood, unless mood is overwhelming. Stop at the appointed times.

4. Write every day.

5. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.

6. Discard Daily Programme if you absolutely must, but return to it the next day. Concentrate. Focus. Life is short and getting shorter every day.

7. Forget the things you want to write. Think only of the thing you are writing.

8. Write first and always. Cinema, reading, Dutch, friends, sunlight, exercise, meditation, guitar — all these things come afterwards.

9. Never give in to the urge to sleep in the afternoons, no matter how little sleep you've had. You don't need sleep. Sleep is a social construct.

10. Be grateful. You are alive.


So there we are. How can I possibly fail? 

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you'll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.

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