In an effort to approach my career more professionally I’ve taken to reading numerous articles daily about “the craft” and the like. I came upon this article recently, originally posted by James Clear (jamesclear.com/daily-routines-writers) about the daily routines of 12 famous writers and how they can be applied to our own lives. Most writers wake up early and exercise. I have two dogs so I walk and jog a little daily, but today I tried exercising. We’ll see how long that lasts. I hate mornings.
I, myself, am all about routine. Having the dogs helps too, as they keep me on track, but I’m a night owl. I write best, I feel, in the late hours of the night when the world is asleep, dark and quiet. There are no distractions; no phone calls, few Facebook updates, no pressing matters. And I can play a few mind numbing rounds of Tetris without feeling guilty. I read somewhere that Bret Easton Ellis plays too. That makes me feel better. Sometimes, while I’m spaced out, negotiating odd-shaped blocks into a perfect pattern, I can workout whatever little bump in the writing road I’ve encountered.
Henry Miller’s routine in particular struck me so I thought I’d share – In 1932, the famous writer and painter created a work schedule that listed his “Commandments” for him to follow as part of his daily routine. This list was published in the book, Henry Miller On Writing.
- 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.