Henry Miller kept a list of powerful writing "commandments." I love them. With a little tweak* here and there, this list is just as relevant for today's writer.
Note: *My "tweaks" are in bold italics.
Henry Miller’s Writing Commandments
1. Work on one thing at a time until finished. 'Nuff said.
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. Work with joy--that's key. That means you're not too attached to the outcome, but you lose yourself in the process, the writing itself, the flow.
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time! Yep, the AIC method is tried and true. Ass-in-chair. Show up even on those days when you just aren't feeling it.
5. When you can’t create you can work. This! Yes. On the days when the words aren't flowing, when the well seems dry, you can edit, or take notes, or research, or even read, especially books that bring you joy.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers. This is especially apt for revision when you are distilling and cutting back and revealing.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. Oh, yeah. I think it was Saul Bellow who said he had to take the subway sometimes after writing to "take a humanity bath." It's all about filling the creative well. Eavesdropping. And drinking. If you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only. Joy again. See Number 3. Discipline and show up at your desk, but with joy. With curiosity.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude. This is brilliant. When you feel the need to recharge your batteries, do it. But. Go back the next day. And there's also a little of Number 6 in there, too, "cementing" and narrowing.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing. 'Nuff said.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards. Also coming afterwards: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogging...