Brett Jenkins’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Writing and Life


Earlier today I was clicking around, procrastinating, and I found Jack Kerouac’s “List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Writing and Life” on some lose-your-life-down-a-hole-of-links website. I hadn’t seen it before, and it was quirky and interesting and something I found myself thinking about most of the day. I decided I needed to have my own, as a sort of guiding star. And because it was fun.


Brett Jenkins’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Writing and Life

  1. write a lot just write everything down write it all write as much as you can.
  2. fuck capitalization we are only alive for so many years.
  3. If you want to capitalize things, do it. What do I know.
  4. listen to me or don’t.
  5. write down all of your dreams.
  6. don’t be afraid to fail we are all failing every single moment we are humans (we are also succeeding by living through this failure) (we are suns we are stars).
  7. keep everything you write – don’t throw anything away.
  8. doodle sometimes.
  9. “find those with whom you have rapport and proceed.”
  10. break rules. make new ones. break those too.
  11. stumble onto things topple onto things fall headfirst onto things.
  12. let yourself miss an appointment because you got caught up reading weird articles about horses or exorcisms or unexplained disappearances
  13. don’t apologize so much. stop giving so many fucks. start taking fucks back.
  14. write fast and write often.
  15. find something small and hold it with your hands.
  16. keep a box full of weird stuff you wrote down in your sleep (it’s good for parties).
  17. latch onto a fireball every now and then.
  18. honestly? sometimes quantity over quality is the best philosophy.
  19. if you’re stuck on something, sing as loudly as you can.
  20. don’t write like your parents are dead but DO write like YOU are dead (pretend you’re a ghost).
  21. what works for somebody else might not work for you. if you don’t want to get up early DON’T. you can write anytime, any day. just write, you ding dong.
  22. if you mis-read or mis-hear something, just go with it. nine times out of ten your brain will make whatever that person said or wrote much better/funnier/more insightful.
  23. everyone/thing has inherent value – if you want to write about a goat or a toaster, go for it.
  24. read everything.
  25. have at least one notebook or journal or diary or pile of index cards that will always be SECRET and let yourself write whatever you want there. everything is permissible.
  26. let your obsessions lead you like a river
  27. [make up your own rule and put it here.]
  28. if your shit is far apart, get it together.
  29. keep writing. especially when people tell you you’re doing it wrong. at least somebody’s reading it.
  30. make time (there is enough time) (there is always enough time).

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