Jack Kerouac: Belief & Technique for Modern Prose [a How-To-Write Top 30]

Via on Apr 6, 2009

jack kerouac how to write beat

A followup to my post on “How to Write” via Jack Kerouac. This also hangs on my wall, five feet from where I write at home, it too has Allen Ginsberg‘s scribbling above and below it from a class I took with the great Beat grandpa back in Vermont, back in the day.

My favorite, that I often pass along as advice to writers and businessfolk stuck on how to say something, or name something, is number 22: when you’re stuck on how to say something, stop thinking about words and think about what you want to say, what it looks like, and say it.



1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy

2. Submissive to everything, open, listening

3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house

4. Be in love with yr life

5. Something that you feel will find its own form

6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind

7. Blow as deep as you want to blow

8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind

9. The unspeakable visions of the individual

10. No time for poetry but exactly what is

11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest

12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you

13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition

14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time

15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog

16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye

17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself

18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea

19. Accept loss forever

20. Believe in the holy contour of life

21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind

22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better

23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning

24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge

25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it

26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form

27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness

28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better

29. You’re a Genius all the time

30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

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11 Responses to “Jack Kerouac: Belief & Technique for Modern Prose [a How-To-Write Top 30]”

  1. Amelia Patterson at 2:50pm April 2
    Hey if you like that in Dec. 2007 of the Denver VOICE we published letters from Kerouac to Ed White (my grandpa) you can find the issue on our website http://www.denvervoice.org in the archives.

    Waylon Hart Lewis at 2:54pm April 2
    wowowwowowoowowow will check out!

  2. AlizaEss says:

    Jack Kerouac was one of my first loves, this list is an amazing expression of his fluid use of language and constant reaching for purity. "Scribbled secret notebooks… for yr own joy." Thanks for the article!

  3. […] way of communication that makes “The Only One” such a great song and Charlie a great songwriter. He’s not posturing about someone who needs hope, he’s speaking directly to it. Mars […]

  4. Dylan Barmmer Dylan says:

    Kerouac is one of my Greatest Influences…a True Genius. Feel free to hear/feel/connect here, with some Yoga Poetry. I think Jack would have dug…

  5. […] to help save the animals. Someday, she’ll learn how to tap dance. In the meantime, she keeps “scribbled secret notebooks,” and knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it. Follow her […]

  6. […] to help save the animals. Someday, she’ll learn how to tap dance. In the meantime, she keeps “scribbled secret notebooks,” and knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it. Follow her […]

  7. […] to help save the animals. Someday, she’ll learn how to tap dance. In the meantime, she keeps “scribbled secret notebooks,” and knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it. Follow her […]

  8. Aurora pastor says:

    Wonderful tips for writing today. #new ways

    #inspiration#feasable#living from heart#expression#feeling#life

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