Advice From Henry Miller

I like Henry and think he had some good advice on writing and life.

I was glad to see that Henry added Krishnamurt to his famous list of The Hundred Books That Influenced Me Most and went on to talk about K in book The Books in My Life:

“Men are reluctant to accept what is easy to grasp. Out of a perversity deeper than all Satan’s wiles, man refuses to acknowledge his own God-given rights: he demands deliverance or salvation by and though an intermediary; he seeks guides, counselors, leaders, systems, rituals. He looks for solutions which are in his own breast. He puts learning above wisdom, power above the art of discrimination. But above all, he refuses to work for his own liberation, pretending that first “the world” must be liberated.

Yet, as Krishnamurti has pointed out time and again, the world problem is bound up with the problem of the individual. Truth is ever present, eternity is here and now. And salvation? What is it, O man, that you wish to save? Your petty ego? Your soul? Your identity? Lose it and you will find yourself. Do not worry about God—God knows how to take care of Himself.

Cultivate your doubts, embrace every kind of experience, keep on desiring, strive neither to forget nor to remember, but assimilate and integrate what you have experienced.”

Henry Miller clearly admired Krishnamurti and I am sure his consciousness was influenced by K’s writings.

Steven Pressfield, author of Do The Work and The War of Art,  recently put together this list on Miller’s advice for writers, it’s good.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no new material to Black Spring.
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to 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 draught-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.

You could just replace the word ‘write’ with ‘work’ or whatever you do, and you’d find it’s sound advice.

Now, go write!