Posts tagged ‘Ernest Hemingway’

November 20, 2013

Hemingway on How to Be a Writer

My beloved Brain Pickings has done it again. This time, Maria Popova has found a wonderful excerpt from Hemingway on Writing, in which Hemingway poses as “Your Correspondent,” answering the questions of “MICE” (aspiring writers.) Granted, mice is not the most flattering name Hemingway could have chosen for young writers, but perhaps with his knowledge we will one day graduate to correspondents. Hemingway writes:

MICE: How can a writer train himself?

Y.C.: Watch what happens today. If we get into a fish see exactly what it is that everyone does. If you get a kick out of it while he is jumping remember back until you see exactly what the action was that gave you the emotion. Whether it was the rising of the line from the water and the way it tightened like a fiddle string until drops started from it, or the way he smashed and threw water when he jumped. Remember what the noises were and what was said. Find what gave you the emotion; what the action was that gave you the excitement. Then write it down making it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling that you had. That’s a five finger exercise.

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November 20, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

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. 

September 17, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

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

September 9, 2013

Writing Routines of Successful Writers

On Friday I shared the 3 Commandments of Writing after reading an excellent compilation of 12 famous writers’ routines. I find those lists extremely valuable, so I wanted to spend a little more time on them today. Below are some of the excerpts I find most poignant as a screenwriter:

E.B. White

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.

Haruki Murakami

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m.

I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

Ernest Hemingway

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again… When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

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August 14, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

May 14, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

March 20, 2013

The Writing Routines of Famous Authors

This post on Brain Pickings shares the writing habits of a number of famous authors. Trends that carry through include personal rules for times of day and locations for writing as well as a strict adherence (with occasional opportunities to bend the rules) to regular routines. Here is a quote from Ernest Hemingway on his method (from A Moveable Feast), which I have found quite helpful in my own writing (italics are my own):

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

Read the habits of other famous authors here.

January 28, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.

January 9, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.

November 14, 2012

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

My aim is to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it.