Henry Miller’s Work Schedule

July 1970 with Rip Torn

– Courtesy of Corey Mandell Screenwriting Ramblings


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

2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”

3. Don’t 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 can’t “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. Don’t be a drought-horse! Work with pleasure only.

9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but 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.


Mornings: If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus. If in fine fettle, write.

Afternoons: Work on section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

Evenings: See friends. Read in cafes. Explore unfamiliar sections–on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry. Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program. Paint if empty or tired. Makes Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafes and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library references once a week.

5 thoughts on “Henry Miller’s Work Schedule

  1. Pingback: Intentions for 2013 | elizabeth g.

  2. I haven’t seen this list before, but it’s helpful today as I find myself, due only to my mood, ignoring the schedule I need to follow in order to get things accomplished. Sometimes I just want to say “To hell with it all” and follow my nose, thank you very much! But it’s dangerous to allow myself to do that whenever I feel like it. So I shall keep Mr Miller’s advice in mind.

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