My favourite subjects at school were literature and creative writing, and I always dreamed of being an author. Instead, I became a journalist, and not until 2018, when I was 57, did I have the courage and discipline to write and publish my first novel. Since then, I’ve written five books, and I hope to publish my next one later this year.
As an experienced professional journalist, I thought writing a novel wouldn’t be such a big deal. How wrong I was, and it’s been a very steep learning curve going from writing articles of around 1.000 words to writing books of about 80.000. Although I’ve read numerous books on writing to help me make the transition, today, as a writer, I live by the commandments stipulated by the American author and bohemian Henry Miller (1891 – 1980), known for his fictional novels based on his own life.
If you are in the process of writing your first book or thinking about doing so, I’m not the sort of chap to keep Mr Miller’s words of wisdom to myself. Good luck with your writing journey.
Henry Miller’s commandments on writing:
Work on one thing at a time until finished.
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
When you can’t create, you can work.
Cement a little every day rather than
add new fertilizers.
Always put in a good shift, even on a bad day.
Keep human! See people, go places
Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with
Discard the Program when you feel
like it—but go back to it the next day.
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