An amusing thought struck me today…imagine if I had been in the shoes of Sachin Tendulkar playing on the cricket field, the entire country would have waited with bated breath for this hurdle of ’98’ to be crossed and a century scored!! But even ordinary mortals like us have our own cheer leaders~some friends and family to egg us on! And so one day i found in my mail these “11 Commandments of Daily Creative Writing” by Henry Miller. Sent to me by my sister, the write up was about how in 1932-33, while working on what would become his first published novel, ‘Tropic of Cancer’, Miller devised and adhered to a stringent daily routine to propel his writing. Among it was this list of eleven commandments which was found in “Henry Miller on Writing.” There was some good advice there and i realised such rules in black and white would really help me as well in my year long ‘writing-haul’. The problem is ‘creativity’ can be quite un-cooperative when you set such limitations! Nevertheless for the future I note them down below. (My own take is mentioned in parenthesis below Miller’s original commandment)
~ Henry Miller Miscellanea~
Henry Millers Eleven Commandments of Daily Creative Writing Routine
Work Schedule, 1932-33
1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
(Me~easier said than done for someone like me who can’t even stick to reading one book at a time!)
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring’ (Miller’s second novel)
(Me~well there go my plans for my ‘travel blog’ and ‘recipes blog’!! Will have to stick to this one for the time being)
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
(Me~i like the sound of that one…must write it in bold in my writing-diary)
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time.
(Me~seriously??!! Need to rearrange the order of some words there!)
5. When you can’t ‘create’ you can ‘work’
(Me~that’s a reasonable enough rule)
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilisers.
(Me~sane advice to follow)
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
(Me~a happy rule, this one’s right after my heart!)
8. Don’t be a draught-horse. Work with pleasure only.
(Me~following this to the t.)
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but go back to it the next day! ‘Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.’
(Me~no choice there, you cannot ever ‘discard’)
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
(Me~for ‘book’ read ‘blog’)
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
(Me~beginning to feel there’s no redemption for me here…some days it’s all the other way round for me!!)
Good humour apart these eleven commandments can serve as a great reality check…even the best of us need to impose some self discipline at times.