What I have learned about writing from Ernest Hemingway


We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Ernest Hemingway

I have to say I have not read any of Hemingway's work in quite some time but not many will disagree with the influence he had on modern literature. I have been reading more about writing than anything else here lately. His words both give me comfort and apprehension at the same time.


Thought by many to be a true master of writing, this quote suggests he thought otherwise. I am fairly certain I could spend the rest of the day buying up books on how to write...better. It is a field with a lot of experts and people willing to help. I understand Hemingway as a precise writer who got to his point in a very direct way. I am sure others could describe it more eloquently. This is how I communicate verbally and it is more often than not misunderstood. Please trust me here. I also find it interesting how he appeared to live hard and eventually ended his own life. All too often it seems there is an unfortunate correlation between extremely creative people and tremendous unhappiness.

I am a fan of old school everything. Cars, music, books, clothes, I don't care. When I am looking at authors I look to the past at the classics who have stood the test of time, I always go back there. No doubt Hemingway fits in this category.

What I have learned from the advice Hemingway laid out all these years ago. Being brief. Getting to the point. I am not a big fan of being vague to start with, yet this is an ongoing battle. Remove that which the piece can live without.

Reading what you have written to help continuity. I have to do this. Not necessarily the whole thing, but I need to go back and feel what I was feeling when I left off in order to be able to carry on.

What is something else I can learn from him? Description. I read a quote about describing what triggers an emotion rather than what you are supposed to feel. Looking into this deeper may actually reveal more about the resonance he has had with so many for so long.

I obviously am no classic, never will be, but I am along for the ride and would like to discover ways to enjoy it more as I go. Looking back at people now considered masters can be helpful. To understand someone as highly regarded as Hemingway considered himself not a master is a little humbling. I find some bit of mystery and puzzlement in what must have been going on in his mind during his journey. Especially with regard to how he ended it. A fascinating person indeed.

I read a compilation of tips taken from Hemingway's work and laid out his writing advice. One of the better points was to make love with whom you love, that is just good stuff. In an effort to remain brief, I will not comment further. I read a lot of articles for that to be the part that stuck in my brain. The other main point which stuck with me was not to write past what you know is coming next. 

I will think about this for awhile. It mentioned something about not emptying the well, I will ponder this even further as I try to remember where the well is.

Maybe even let it inspire me to dip a little out of the well myself once I find it.



Bottom note. This is a railroad bridge from the turn of the century. I believe it is the single most beautiful piece of architecture in my town and trains cross it still, daily.

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