Keeping Human: Arthur Miller’s Writing Tips

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller

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 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.


From Wikipedia:

Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005)was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (one-act, 1955; revised two-act, 1956).

Miller was often in the public eye, particularly during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, a period during which he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was married to Marilyn Monroe. In 2002 he received the Prince of Asturias Award and in 2003 the Jerusalem Prize.


4 thoughts on “Keeping Human: Arthur Miller’s Writing Tips

  1. So true.

    I had to stop my beloved painting, give up my addiction to obscure movies, miss meetings with friends and only listen to music that matched the spirit of the chapter on the screen.
    Every time I lifted a book to read it the signal ‘shouldn’t you be writing’ flashed neon in my minds-eye. Half finished drafts of other books were tucked away out of sight.

    I’m no Arthur Miller but I would add one more thing to the list – keep your eye on the prize. The book must be completed, edited, revised and published – nothing else is acceptable. Or you will slide into the oblivion of the ‘I-almost-wrote-a-book-once’ world.

    A writer’s world is a lonely one much given to false dawns and black nights, a world of sceptical friends and impatient families. But a writer can have no doubts – he/ she MUST complete.

    It is not enough to write – you must publish.

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