Menu
Menu

Writing Tips from Hemingway

Be in the Moment, Listen

“Listen now. When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling. Try that for practice. When you’re in town stand outside the theatre and see how the people differ in the way they get out of taxis or motor cars. There are a thousand ways to practice. And always think of other people. “

– Ernest Hemingway, By-Line Ernest Hemingway

Write About the Ugly, Too

“…when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can’t do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can’t believe in it. “

– Ernest Hemingway, Selected Letters

Write About People, Not Characters

“If you get a noble communist remember the bastard probably masturbates and is jallous as a cat. Keep them people, people, people, and don’t let them get to be symbols. Remember the race is older than the economic system.”

– Ernest Hemingway, Selected Letters

Be Brief

“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

– Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Write What You Know

“A good writer should know as near everything as possible. Naturally he will not. A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge.”

– Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Working Habits

“The best way is to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.

Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start. Once you are into the novel it is as cowardly to worry about whether you can go on the next day as to worry about having to go into inevitable action. You have to go on. So there is no sense to worry. You have to learn that to write a novel. The hard part about a novel is to finish it.”

– Ernest Hemingway, By-Line Ernest Hemingway

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *