Want some advice from one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, a man who almost got blown to bits during WWI, hunted lions for sport, survived two consecutive plane crashes, had four wives, and blew out his brains?
“Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it.”
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.
Anything you can omit that you know you still have in the writing and its quality will show. When a writer omits things he does not know, they show like holes in his writing.
A writer can be compared to a well. There are as many kinds of wells as there are writers. The important thing is to have good water in the well, and it is better to take a regular amount out than to pump the well dry and wait for it to refill.
The best writing is certainly when you are in love.
The first draft of anything is shit.
A writer, if he is any good, does not describe. He invents or makes out of knowledge personal and impersonal and sometimes he seems to have unexplained knowledge which could come from forgotten racial or family experience… If you describe someone, it is flat, as a photograph is, and from my standpoint a failure. If you make him up from what you know, there should be all the dimensions.
The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it.
(Tips taken from famous quotes & Paris Review Interview.)
Which tip is your favorite?
34 thoughts on “10 Writing Tips From Ernest Hemingway, God Bless Him”
I like the one on the wells. Some people feel they are really deep and yet they are shallow. Some wells are poisoned by the water and seepage. Some smell bad. Some well have good water but getting it is a bitch.
Excellent thoughts! I shall muse over them.
P. S. I recently had a pain in the rear. Was that the gift? If so thank you, it reminded me of my mortality.
My oh my!
Sure you haven’t fallen asleep in the wrong place? 😛
Sleep is for woozies, I nap.
So many great tips!
Mighty wise. Which point do you find most instructive?
#11 Do not wear leopard prints!
Faraway Julie, do you water your roses with that teapot of yours?
#2 is the most modern advice. Most have their noses in their cell phones..
I have none!
Oh, I must admit I do have one, but I keep it in a drawer for emergencies.
Good for you!
Thank you for this. Number 9.
Number 8. So true!
Number 7 is my favorite.
Number 2 – when people talk listen, completely. Most people never listen. Very true. From listening, comes inspiration to write. Even in real life, half the problems will be solved if people listen without butting in. Half the arguments can be avoided.
Reblogged this on Just Me and My Thoughts and commented:
There are so many excellent tips here I spent about ten minutes trying to pick my favorite(s) before giving up!
They’re all really great tips but if I had to choose just one it would be: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Reblogged this on starserendipity and commented:
Thank you for this. God bless the man who blew his brains out.
Reblogged this on William Grit and commented:
I like your style (boy with a hat)
#5 couldn’t have hit any closer to home! If only knowledge weren’t such a bitch sometimes…..
↑ Knowledge is gonna come back to bite me now; just watch.
Reblogged this on Loan Lấp Lánh and commented:
its so damn true!!
How am I supposed to pick just one? The one true sentence thing is good advice. A lot of writing seems like a building up to that one crystallizing truth. The trick is not stumbling over it when you get there. Thanks for this, and thank you, Mr. Hemingway.
Reblogged this on capaciousthoughts.