Category Archives: Writing Process

Writing Is Better with Bacon

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If you are like me, you’ve ventured outside your comfort zone and sampled at least one strange bacon infused concoction. Donuts, pickles, jam, ice cream, brownies . . . Everything is better with bacon—even the craft of writing!

“Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”

1001_image1_slicker_francis_baconWho said it? 

The Renaissance-era scientist and philosopher, Sir Francis Bacon. He, perhaps unknowingly, packed a powerful writing lesson into that one simple sentence.

Let’s break it down.

READING fills a writer with knowledge, ideas and a better understanding of technique. When a writer reads, he or she learns more about the craft of writing by experiencing various writing styles, voices, forms and genres.

CONFERENCE inspires writers to write. Have you come away from a writers’ conference filled with ideas and readiness? Of course you have! Conversing with other writers and creative people sparks motivation. It prepares a writer to write.

EXACTNESS is the final part of Bacon’s lesson. A ready writer works diligently to find the exact words to convey an exact meaning. That’s the most difficult part of writing, taking knowledge and readiness and weaving them into something great.

Reading makes a full writer; conference a ready writer; and writing an exact writer.

The next time you feel stuck, remember Sir Francis’ words:

Read. 
Converse. 
Be exact.

and remember:
Writing is better with Bacon!

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Sir Francis’ mother was a cook who married a bacon.
Anne (nee Cooke) Bacon.

Some scholars believe Sir Francis faked his own death.
He wanted to live—without bringing home the bacon!

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Filed under Uncategorized, writing, Writing craft, Writing Process, Writing Tips

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing

Do you have a stringent work routine? The iconic and controversial author, Henry Miller, did. He stuck to his routine and even wrote eleven commandments for himself to follow:

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “(other work)”.
  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 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.

Miller didn’t stop there. He also created what he called his “Daily Program.”

MORNINGS:
If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.

If in fine fettle, write.

AFTERNOONS:
Work of 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 cafés.

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.

Make 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 cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.

I can’t help but wonder if Miller really stuck with this rigorous routine.
I doubt that I could.

Could you?

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Filed under Famous Authors, Writing Process