23 Essential Quotes From Ernest Hemingway About Writing

by Joe Bunting | 45 comments

Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Most writers seem to either love him—and are influenced by his clear, direct prose—or hate him. Many seek the internet for Hemingway quotes, either to seek inspiration or wisdom.

23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway About Writing

Regardless of your personal feelings, Ernest Hemingway's insight into the craft of writing is unparalleled, as you'll see.

This article shares some interesting facts and and quotes that drip with emotional honesty from one of the great American authors.

Read on to see famous quotes you can use as guiding principles in your writing  and personal life.

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Hemingway's Writer Life

When my English Literature professor, Marilyn McEntyre, told us Hemingway would write all day in small Parisian cafes and, afterward, take his lunch to the Musée du Luxembourg where he would look at Cezannes, it transformed how I looked at authors — and writing, for that matter — forever.

In college, I read Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and all the other writers infamous among college students everywhere. The authors, if I had imagined them, were like statues in some museum, old cracked marble missing limbs, dust piled atop their heads. They were empty-eyed faces carved into cathedral stone, looking down on us to make sure we knew their names. If we misremembered, they would denounce us before God at those golden gates.

But Dr. McEntyre’s story tore the veil. I saw Hemingway drinking cups of French coffee at a cafe with black and white pictures on the wall, writing slowly, with lots of crossouts. I saw him with his sacked lunch, made by his loving first wife Hadley, drinking out of a thermos (did they have those in the 1920s?) and tracing those bold brushstrokes with his eyes. He had intense blue eyes.

Writers, I realized, were somehow not part of the evil plan hatched by professors to torture their students, but real people, with real ambitions and insecurities. I’ve heard the point of art is not communication, but I realized then they were trying to give something to me, some greater perspective of the world maybe. Or even just an enjoyable afternoon.

The Writer's Inheritance

When I began learning about Hemingway’s actual life and influences, it helped me to realize that to transform the way I approached writing, I needed to see myself as part of the tradition. There is a great continuum in this art form, an inheritance that every writer can and should apprentice themselves to.

But there is a divergence in Hemingway. He didn’t apprentice himself just to writers. He looked to a painter to transform his work.

When he visited the Musée de Luxembourg, he didn't just glance at the Cezannes. He studied them, and invited the artist to influence his writing.

What did Hemingway learn from Cezanne?

I wish I were more of an expert in art, but I do know Cezanne believed in using big bold brush strokes. His painting of Saint Victoire mountains could have been done with on an iPhone. Strong strokes construct the landscape like Lincoln logs.

Hemingway believed each word was a brushstroke on the page. Some people have called Hemingway’s prose childish and simplistic, but his genius was his use of a few strong words to do so much work. He used few adjectives. His prose is full of action, not decor, and so when an occasional bit of color is revealed, it fills in the whole image.

Learn From Hemingway Learning From Cezanne

It's your turn to enter into the literary tradition, to write your way into your inheritance. Just as Hemingway studied the Cezannes at the Musée de Luxembourg, take time to study Hemingway's writing.

The good news is, Hemingway had lots of advice for other writers. Which of his tips will you try in your writing next?

23 Ernest Hemingway Quotes for Writers

All of Ernest Hemingway's quotes in this article are from A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway‘s memoir about his life as a writer in Paris:

1. “Do not worry. You have always written before…”

Ernest Hemingway quotes

2. All You Need to Write Is…

The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. For luck, you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit's foot in your right pocket.

3. Write One True Sentence

Ernest Hemingway quotes

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say.

4. Cut Out the Ornamentation

Ernest Hemingway quotes

If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

5. Don't Think About Your Writing When You're Not Writing

It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything.

6. Write as Straight as You Can

Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald:

7. Write What You Know

Ernest Hemingway quotes

8. Allow Painters to Influence You

I was learning something from the painting of Cézanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them. I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret.

9. Don't Repeat Yourself

10. Exercise

It was necessary to get exercise, to be tired in the body, and it was very good to make love with whom you loved. That was better than anything. But afterwards, when you were empty, it was necessary to read in order not to think or worry about your work until you could do it again.

11. Never Empty the Well of Your Writing

Ernest Hemingway quotes

12. After You Write, Read

13. Let the Pressure Build

When I had to write it, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.

14. What Do You Know Best?

Ernest Hemingway quotes

What did I know best that I had not written about and lost? What did I know about truly and care for the most? There was no choice at all.

15. Omit Anything You Want (As Long As You Know You're Doing It)

It was a very simple story called “Out of Season” and I had omitted the real end of it which was that the old man hanged himself. This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood.

16. Stay Sound in Your Head

All I must do now was stay sound and good in my head until morning when I would start to work again.

17. If You Can't Write, Don't Write

Ernest Hemingway quotes

To an aspiring writer:

You shouldn't write if you can't write.

18. It's Okay to Be Shy

… [F. Scott Fitzgerald] had the shyness about it that all non-conceited writers have when they have done something very fine.

19. But Don't Pimp Your Writing

Ernest Hemingway quotes

[F. Scott Fitzgerald] had told me at the Closerie des Lilas how he wrote what he thought were good stories, and which really were good stories for the Post, and then changed them for submission, knowing exactly how he must make the twists that made them into salable magazine stories. I had been shocked at this and I said I thought it was whoring…. I said that I did not believe anyone could write any way except the very best he could write without destroying his talent.

20. Break Down Your Writing

Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.

21. Forget Living the “Literary Life”

I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was the literary life that I was leading, and already I missed not working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life.

22. Don't Drink While You Write

My training was never to drink after dinner nor before I wrote nor while I was writing.

23. Don't Judge Your Writing Until the Next Day

After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.

Bonus Quotes from Hemingway's Mentors

The following are not Ernest Hemingway's quotes. Instead, they are tips to Ernest Hemingway from his friends and mentors which he captured in A Moveable Feast:

24. Be Careful About Writing About Sex

“It's good,” [Gertrude Stein] said. “That's not the question at all. But it is inaccrochable. That means it is like a picture that a painter paints and then he cannot hang it when he has a show and nobody will buy it because they cannot hang it either.”

innacroachable, def (via Wiktionary)

  1. (of a painting) unable to be hung (or sold), especially because of its sexual content
  2. (of a book) unable to be published, for the same reason

25. What We Lack Most

“We need more true mystery in our lives, Hem,” [Evan Shipman] once said to me. “The completely unambitious writer and the really good unpublished poem are the things we lack most at this time. There is, of course, the problem of sustenance.”

26. Only Read What Is Good

Gertrude Stein told Ernest Hemingway:

You should only read what is truly good or what is frankly bad.

Look to the Masters for Inspiration and Insight

Quotes are a great way for writers to find insight, inspiration, and maybe even “grace under pressure.”

No matter what kind of writing day you're having, it might be worth a little time to read some quotes to learn from the writing masters.

Doing this can fuel or rejuvenate your love for writing—and maybe even pull you out of a writing rut.

Which of these Ernest Hemingway quotes is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

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PRACTICE

I love Hemingway's questions for himself, “What did I know best that I had not written about and lost? What did I know about truly and care for the most?”

Ask those questions of yourself, then write whatever story comes to mind.

For this practice, write for fifteen minutes. When your time is up, post your practice in the practice box below to get feedback. Afterward, feel free to continue working on your story. And if you post, please make sure to give feedback to other writers in the comments.

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

45 Comments

  1. ruth

    These quotes are amazing! Nothing like reading a great author for inspiration. Thanks, Joe!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Aren’t they? Thanks Ruth.

    • ConcernedEditor91

      Joe,
      Please fix the third sentence in your opening paragraph from “hate they him” to “they hate him”.

  2. Chloee

    What did I know about truly and care for the most?” Family and friends.

    I walked down the weed riddled sidewalk to the old country store down the block in my old little town the hot sun beatin down on my freckled face. My red pig tails bouncing up and down as I skipped mama and pop said I could have some penny candy. My older brother Tom and Will were over at the creek going fishin I wanted to go but momma said it wasn’t ladylike to fish. I love fishin though and Tom and will would try to take me as long as momma never found out. Well Momma found out the last time I went fishin and was competly horrified.

    I opened the door and the little twinkling sound of the bell rang alerting Mr. Olly’s old beagle Trigger that there was a coustmer. Settle down trigger! Mr. Olly said. Trigger gave one more throaty bark then layed down to fall asleep snugglin into his once brown fur now grey with age. He smiled down at me. What can I do for you little Roxanne. Mr. Olly my name’s rocky you know how I hate Roxanne that’s a girly name! I said grinning. Okay then Rocky. I thought you would be fishin with Tom and Will down at the creek? I tried but momma found out and now I’m banned. I cross my arms as I spin on the little stool at the counter.

    Mr. Olly rubbed his head full of grey hair with his old wrinkled hand. I see your Momma said you couldn’t go? I nodded grumpily. How about I tell her you went to go play with the Jones girls down the road and you can go sneak down to the creek? Mr. Olly said. I clapped my hands in glee. Thank you sir! Now if only I could talk momma into lettin me wear jeans instead of dresses. Me. Olly chuckled. One thing at a time Rocky. His blue eyes twinkled as i raced out the door to the creek.

    Reply
    • Kym Bolton

      The makings of a fairly decent piece of story telling. Speech marks would have made it much easier to read.

      I would be interested to see how it will progress after a slight re-edit.

    • John Fisher

      I think it’s a really good story and I think quote marks can be optional as a matter of style. Faulkner and Joyce didn’t always use ’em! Gives me a real summery feeling and brings up fond memories of the little town close to a river where my uncle lived a long time ago. The little girl’s frustration with the mother’s expectations of “femininity” are classic, but truly told here.

  3. Gruff

    This is wonderful and inspiring. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      My pleasure, Gruff. Glad you found them inspiring.

  4. Jim Woods

    Such great concepts here. Absolutely love it!

    Reply
  5. George McNeese

    Such great quotes from a truly unforgettable man. Thank you for posting

    Reply
  6. Luther

    I expected- no let me say that I didn’t know what to expect from the 10 AM appointment at the home of my 14 year old probationer, who had been suspended from school the day before and was in violation of the courts rules. The offense that got him the probation sentence was minor, although 40 years have passed and my memory of that offense has faded.
    I parked on the tree lined street in front of the home with a beautifully manicured lawn and walked the sidewalk to the front door. About half way up the sidewalk, I became suspicious that this would not be an ordinary home visit as I could hear very loud rock and roll music coming from inside. I had to ring the door bell several times, but my probationer finally answered with a wide grin on his face.
    Suddenly, windows on the sides of the home opened and people could be heard scrambling outside into the shrubbery. As John stood there, holding a clear glass with a purple liquid inside and obvious from the smell, marijuana smoke wafted around him, out the door and to my nose. John said, “I forgot you were coming!”
    Meanwhile, I could see and hear other teenagers continuing to escape the home and what they thought would be some type of consequences. I said to John, ” Is it OK if I come in?” He just continued grinning and said,”Sure!”
    I stepped into the foyer and rounded the corner to the living room, still seeing bodies flying out the windows and more to my surprise there was another probationer, Greg, who quickly and discreetly dropped a marijuana roach behind a piece of furniture. What a bunch of clowns, I thought to myself. I looked back at John and then at Greg and said with some pity,” You guys knew I was coming. Are you both idiots?” They of course had no answer and both shrugged their shoulders.
    I advised them that they both were under arrest for probation violation and should get their personal items and lock up the home. We were headed to the courthouse!
    I really cared for these kids and the others that I had on probation over the 10 years of my career in that field. I often wish that I had paid more attention and recorded some of the details of my many incidents and people that I encountered. A lot has been lost!

    Reply
    • John Fisher

      Well told, with good detail and clarity.

      I find that memory is an amazing thing, that memories I’d thought were lost come back with some time and reflection. I think Hemingway was right when he said, “What is it that I have not written about and lost? What was it I knew about truly and cared about the most?” That can be a great motivator. I believe you when you say you really cared about these kids. Their stories could add to the dialog about young people who get in trouble in a positive way.

  7. Kym Bolton

    This is my first time taking part. I am trying to exercise my writing muscles:

    Ernest
    Hemmingway said “What did I know best that I had not written about
    and Lost? What did I know about truly and care for the most?”

    In
    my case one of those things would be my mother, and it’s a story that
    is tragically simple, or simply tragic, depending on which side of
    the coin you view it.

    From
    my side it is tragic, and funny I guess because of the things I will
    do to not talk, or indeed, write about my feelings, and I admit it,
    some of the things I have done.

    For
    instance, I would rather wash up a whole load of dirty dishes; mop
    the floor; clean a bathroom after a slobbering 20 year old male –
    who, by the way has the worst aim in the history of man. I could
    walk the dog, clean up dog poop in the garden, rod the bloody drains
    … anything, but have to talk about her.

    Explain
    just why I feel so angry, disappointed, furious, and {taking a
    deep breath and heaving a big sigh} JEALOUS. There, I’ve said
    it; it’s out in the open for all to know now. Of course, I would
    never actually admit that to the old cow.

    Actually,
    I would never admit anything to her, just because Mr Ernest
    Hemmingway has prompted me to write about it, and admit in some small
    way that word “jealous”, still doesn’t make it easy to explain to
    you the reason.

    I
    suppose the time is now ripe to explain a short portion of why my
    mother and I don’t speak, let alone communicate. Did I mention that
    we live next door to one another?

    Bloody
    hell, there are still 6 minutes remaining on this bloody timer that
    was set for The Write Practice. How the hell, can I prevaricate a
    bit more to stall explaining the whole sorry story. Especially, when
    I know for certain – like the kind of certainty that England is
    crap at football, and will never win the World Cup again certain,
    that it will, and does, make me look bad. Never mind that if viewed
    from my side, it also makes her look pretty bloody shitty too.

    Can
    I just put it out there, in case you were wondering, I really am not
    a horrible person. She, my grey haired 76 year old mother, and her
    60 year old creepy toy boy lover make me behave like a truly
    horrible, disgusting and vengeful person.

    So,
    let me explain why our 50 year old loving (in the most part)
    mother/daughter relationship has gone from happy, or happy’ish, to I
    could kill you, and be happy to spend the next 17 years in jail
    celebrating the fact.

    Why,
    oh why Mother dear, did we choose to move to this village of the
    damned?

    On
    the outside it seems a perfectly normal, middle class, exceedingly
    polite, friendly even … in the case of my neighbour, too bloody
    friendly ….

    THANK
    THE LORD, THE TIMER HAS GONE OFF … MY 15 MINUTES HAS ENDED!

    Reply
    • John Fisher

      It’s a start. I hope you keep trying to get it out. It could well be a story the world needs to hear, not for any lurid quality or salacious curiosity’s sake but for a lesson perhaps in why we ought to treat each other better. I identify with the reluctance to out with my own less-than-stellar behavior.

    • Gail Jones

      John Fisher, keep trying to write a book. Your command of vocabulary sets you on a much higher level than most, and after you are dead and gone you will still be alive, and can possibly live forever, at least in part, because of the will you currently have (almost an elixir) to put a truthful something into words.

    • John Fisher

      Thank You Gail, for the much-needed encouragement!

  8. Jackrich

    My comment? I’m up way too early in the morning not to be having something true to say…. Lets see where this goes…
    How do you hate somebody to their face? I hate it when Oostred shows up at my house. All of the booze that I’ve been saving for – whatever, gets gone and I’m left, somehow, with a house full of drunk, skinny, white chicks and one whiny, punk rocker talking about how his super world gets heavy every once in a while.
    He sits there with a bag full Grilled Sammy Taco’s (he knows I love tacos) and he tells me about his latest spill from his most recent tour.
    With a lit cigarette in one hand, and a Cajun-Stuffed Taco in the other (like he can’t decide which he’d rather have at that second) Oosie spills it: Jake Marzzallo is dead.
    “And I will not grieve for him,” he says after he takes a pull, “Ok, that sounds a little heavy, Georgie, I don’t want to say that I’m not gonna be sad now that he’s gone. I just, don’t want to be sad anymore.”
    I don’t catch what he says next, cause I’m kinda caught at that first little bit. Steve…shit.
    “You ok, Gg?” he asks me.
    “Naw… naw, Oosie, I’m fine. I just, nobody told me.”
    He puts the still lit cig on my ashtray, and leans back in my couch while unwrapping his taco, “I’m surprised you didn’t read it in the newspaper. You’re a newspaper guy, aren’t you?”
    “I’m a guy with a cellphone, Oosie. You could’ve called when you were on tour.” I’m on my feet, and I feel like I gotta start moving. I suddenly realize that I’m still wearing my tie and apron from The Greco, and I just feel- so…fucking…lame…
    ….

    And that’s more than 15 minutes… I might keep this, even if it feels like those two might start fighting. I just hate that people like Oostred might be able to walk out of something like that without even a “sorry” or give Georgie a chance to cry it out; Gg knew Steve as much as he did, and didn’t deserve to be out of his life…even if Gg’s life may have been too boring for Oosie or Jake…

    I’m definitely feeling the rocker life after I read up on Steve Conte’s blog: http://thecontes.com/bioSteve.asp?OldNews=Yes
    That Steve Marriot story really caught me by the throat.

    Any way, time to try to get more sleep before i have to fly away to more work. Good Morning, people.

    Reply
    • John Fisher

      I like the danger implied by Oostred’s callousness and Gg’s rising anger in response to it. Also Gg’s feeling so lame and boring in his tie and apron. I got lost trying to identify all of the characters amid names and nicknames.

      However the scene is plain enough to understand. I like phrases like “I’m a guy with a cell-phone, Oosie.” which identify the anger.

      This could be a good scene imo in a larger story…….Thank you for sharing it, and I wish you luck. I read up on Steve Comte, his brother(?), and the Steve Marriott story. That’s rocknroll!

  9. Jeff Goins

    Glad you liked the book, Joe.

    Reply
  10. John Fisher

    He stood at the pulpit, looking out over the familiar faces, many of which in earlier versions he remembered from earliest childhood. His parents beamed encouragement up to him, already knowing the import of what he had to say. They knew, and not only did they accept him just as he was, they supported him fully.

    He would speak only true words of three or less syllables. He took a deep, deep breath and plunged in:

    ” I am gay. I have been gay since I can remember.”

    Gasps and grumbles from the congregation. From the edge of his vision the pastor rose from his bench and quickly stepped up beside him. He realized that his time to speak was already at an end.

    “I’m sorry, Edward,” said the pastor, laying a hand gently on the boy’s shoulder, “you know we all love you, we have loved you all your life, but son, you are confused and you need the instruction of the Holy Spirit to correct and admonish you in the ways of the Lord, for His ways are right.” The hand on Edward’s shoulder firmed. “I’m sorry, but you simply may not stand up in this church and say such things. It just isn’t right.” The pastor’s large, intense eyes searched his. “I think it would be advisable for you to leave now.”

    Walking to his car, he became aware that a group of boys from the church was following him, one of them dangling a quart beer bottle from his hand.

    They used it on him in just such a way as one might imagine, all the while shouting at him with evangelistic fervor that it was the instrument of the Kingdom of God, and just how much God loved him and wanted his repentance.

    Reply
    • Jay Warner

      to me, what is more frightening is not the boys with the bottle, acculturated in a hateful viewpoint, but the pastor whose rejection of Edward is swift and final and hinges entirely on a three-letter word. Chilling, deflating, scary.

    • Jay Warner

      and exceptionally well written, John.

    • John Fisher

      Thank you, Jay! A friend of mine actually had this experience many years ago and this is my attempt at re-telling it.

    • Claudia

      Very well-written, John.

    • John Fisher

      Thanks, Claudia! Good to hear, even (maybe especially) a year later!

    • John Fisher

      Thanks! Good to hear, even (maybe especially) a year later!

    • Thomas Dohling

      In my post, “Creator – Creatures” on WordPress, I have suggested that our creations can only be what we program them to be. Since humans are created beings, isn’t the ability to be gay something inbuilt/programmed? It is a matter of ability, I say; whether we use that ability or not is a different matter.

  11. Jacob Mathews

    There were
    moments, in between all the… nothingness… things remembered… moments. Touching
    her hand, sunlight through her hair, the wind whipping at us, the sun, winter
    in a park, lovely day, brisk and cold…

    That was a
    moment.

    And he sat
    there and focused on flowers… flowers there before him. The same flowers that
    he looked at yesterday, but not the day before. He had looked at those flowers
    before he knew that much, but he also was quite aware that while the flowers,
    red and burnished purples, dark, full, tall in the sunlight, straining stood
    there before him and his eyes were very much focused on them, and he was not
    blind… he did not see them.

    Moments.

    A soft
    series of moments, wheelchair bound, it must be said. Sometimes he was in bed,
    sometimes asleep but more often not. Sometimes he just stared and sometimes he
    saw and sometimes he did not.

    There was a
    shower of which he was very aware. The warm water struck his body and it was
    awkward bliss. That feeling, that sensation, that was perhaps joy, maybe made
    everything else bearable… that moment felt real, there and then, and then it
    was over.

    Awkward.
    Moments.

    He saw and
    he stared and sometimes he saw and sometimes he did not. He could not comprehend
    a lot of it and sometimes he asked himself.

    How and
    why? Why do you all do what you do? What are you doing? Any of you? And they
    smiled and they spoke, their eyes filled with compassion and warmth, sometimes
    not. Sometimes they were tired or just not there. Absent. Those times, they
    were the best.

    He could
    then just stare and they did whatever it was they were doing and neither of you
    were there.

    Moments.

    He was
    thinking about nothing. His mind worked and he thought things, he knew he did
    but sometimes these thoughts were very painful so he mostly thought about
    nothing at all. Sometimes, a lot of them time, his mind would just soar and
    explore, the universe it seemed. The world and life and everything. Sometimes
    he remembered making a quiche. Out of nowhere. So he would think of that and
    look into the world around him unseeing and he would not be able to remember
    all the ingredients so he would try to remember and suddenly wonder about
    carrots.

    He would
    look at the sometimes still world (when he was being pushed it was all a
    movable feast for the eyes, he did not have to strain or even move, he could
    sit, watching) and he would think about vegetables and their strange shapes and
    colors and smells and he would wonder why, why they came to be how they came to
    be.

    And he
    would sit and stare and sometimes drool and he would think about natural evolution
    and the millions of years that had passed and just like the stars that soar so
    too do his thoughts and people come and look at him sympathetically and
    sometimes reminisce in front of him, like he is not entirely present, about how
    he once was in the past.

    But he is
    gone now. His mind is gone, somewhere. Somewhere he can just stare and not
    think about all that stuff he really doesn’t want to think about. He can watch.

    Stuck in
    these eyes.

    Reply
  12. Hosein

    “- So you wanna be a writer, eh?
    – What just happened? How did you…? Oh my god, did you just become alive?
    – Yes, you asked me and I came, now, do you want to be writer or not?
    – I think you’re just in my mind. My mind is making all this up.
    – Whatever, kid, just answer the question!
    – Do I want to be a writer? Um…I don’t know, maybe.
    – Then you don’t wanna be a writer. If you do, you’d know for sure!
    – That’s probably true…I’m sorry, I’m just still a bit…a bit confused.
    – You’ve come here to waste my time then? Is that right, son? You wanna waste my time?
    – No, sir, I just don’t…
    – You telling me I just came from the dead to be mocked, is that it? Is that what you are telling me, son? Because I’ll kick you in your crutch before going back if that’s true!
    – No, sir, not at all! I’m just a little bit confused, that’s all. I w-wanna write, but I’m not a writer.
    – Now I’m a little fucking confused. Are you trying to confuse me?
    – No sir, I just wanna say that- that I feel a little confused about life and how I should manage my problems and-and sometimes when I write those stuff down, I feel better. That’s why I thought I was a writer, but I’m sorry if I’m not one.
    – You idiot! You are a writer.
    – I am?
    -Yes! It’s in your blood. Listen, you just got to sit behind the typewriter and bleed.
    -Wow, that was…
    -Now, shut up and listen, all you got to do right now is to tell me the truest sentence you know.
    – What?
    – What do you know about truly and care the for most?
    – Umm, Ok, this might take a while.
    – Do not worry, you have written before and you will write now! Come on, son, tell me a sentence as straight as you can!
    – “I’m not a tree!”
    – Well, you shouldn’t write if you can’t write, but you’re sentence is okay, because it’s a true sentence, you’re not a tree and I’m not going to judge you, because as a writer you should judge, you should understand. In addition to that, I have always believed you shouldn’t judge your writing till the next day, so you’re going to read this again tomorrow night, alright?
    – Sure, sir. I will.
    – I have to go, son, I should go very soon or one of us will go mad!
    – Doesn’t matter which of us will go mad, if you go mad, I’ll go mad, ’cause you’re only in my mind.
    – Yeah, whatever.

    And, poof, Mr. Hemingway is gone!”

    Hey Joe, I love your blog! Very useful for young people like me!
    So that’s my short story, hope you liked it! (btw most of the things Hemingway said in my story, are his actual quotes, I’m sure you have already noticed that!)
    Sorry for my English, I’m not a native!

    Reply
  13. Josh Jimenez

    As a christian man i often asked myself ‘Why God, have you allowed such things to happen to me?’ I didn’t understand nor do i today fully grasp why i loved a woman who i could never be with. You see i tricked myself early on in the relationship. I told myself a lie and that lie never abandoned me. The lie was simple what we shared was magical, beyond discription or comprehension. What we had was spiritual and it cut me down to my core. What we had was love and I would lose the world and all it had to offer before I would lose her.

    This was simply not the case. In the end I did lose her but more than that i pushed her away. I made a choice one day it was either going to be God or her. The love of my life or the creator of love and life. You see she was an athiest, and I tried so damn hard to ignore that because of my affections for her. I told all my christian friends to go to hell with all their advice only to in the end wind up listening to them. It wasnt that they convinced me rather that i started to wonder what reasons they could possibly have for saying such things.

    In the end i realized I couldn’t be with her. Afterall how does one watch the woman that they love descend to hell. I did what I thought best and begged her to change. Imagine the confusion, ‘I love you so much but i just wish you could change fundamentally!’ What did I know honestly I was only a boy no more than 17. Of course she wouldn’t understand everything between us was fine and this was something she was willing to overlook. She could never see through my eyes, never realize that I knew we were going to get married, have children.

    What was i supposed to do if my kids asked their mother if God existed? Did jesus really die for their sins? It may sound silly to you but how was I supposed to live with the fact that my wife could influence my children to hell? It was then that I realized it had to end, so I pushed her away. She never really left though, she’s gone that much is true she has even found herself another man, but she hasn’t left. She never will. She haunts me when I wake in the morning and keeps me from falling asleep at night. ‘Why God, have you let this happen to me?’

    Reply
    • Shauna Bolton

      I like this piece very much. I suppose there are some who would mock what they see as the narrow-mindedness of religion, faith, and belief, but since they don’t believe, they can’t really understand what such choices cost those of us who do. Not only does God ask the terrible questions, he also demands the terrible choices. I would like to see more about your thoughts as a mature person looking back on the choice. Is there anything good that has come into your life that balances that youthful loss? Having chosen God early in your life, is it now easier to keep choosing him?

    • 709writer

      I’ve asked God the same question. It takes faith and a lot of guts to let go of something – especially someone – when God asks us to. Thank you for sharing your struggle; may God bless you for your obedience to Him.

  14. Ken

    I was surprised how practical these quotes are. I also learned, “inaccrochable”. My favourite quote is write one sentence.

    I recall reading a book on writing years ago where the author suggested writers should continually ask, “Is this true?”

    After the true sentence we might start to lie and tell our fiction, but these lies have to be true, really true in the fictional world.

    Reply
  15. waled khan

    ha ha

    Reply
  16. Margaret Gates

    I wish I could write. I am writing but it’s just not very good and I’m afraid I will become so discouraged by the inferiority of it. Still, I want to keep trying. How do they do it? Those clever writers who can turn a phrase and make us see visions and dream dreams. I struggle to find delightful picture words to put down and even make myself smile. Please God help me continue to try. I need this now. My soul yearns to be expressing some things but I fear my heart won’t let me give them up. My head spins but it’s all just silly, every day stuff. I promise myself I won’t quit trying. How exciting to be able to write something that will make a reader long to be there, just to think about doing those daring things or pondering the mystery that has been put forth.
    I can see myself gliding along a silvery lake in the white yacht. I am reclining on the front part of it with the sun on my face and legs. I can feel the breeze as it wafts across the boat and makes my hair fall in my face. My cold drink sits next to me and I can reach out and have a sip when I am thirsty. The condensation truckles down the side of the glass and the straw in it bobbles around with the motion of our craft. I smile to myself at the pure luxuriousness of this floating paradise upon the clear blue of the shimmery lake. My eyes start to droop but I fear I will get a sunburn if I allow myself to drift off to sleep so I gather my towel and beach bag and clamber down from my glorious perch into the interior of the boat and join my friends to laugh and talk and maybe go for a swim.
    See, I’ve imagined myself there.

    Reply
  17. Fiki Firmansyah

    This is the most well written list on web. Straight to the point without adding unnecessary word or bunch of seo keyword thing.

    Reply
  18. James Gilliam

    All the Valiant Brothers, Chapter One
    By Jim Gilliam

    At first it was just the symptoms of heroin withdrawal: Tremors, shaking-chills, nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, and panic, all of which left Dagineau terrified that he would die a horrible death before they injected him again with the warm, brown, nauseating concoction that would bless him with what is known in the drug world as the Angel’s Kiss – once more sending him aloft on a tranquil gossamer cloud.
    Hardcore heroin addicts refer to this feeling as the Nod.
    Then the beatings began – pushing him to the limits of his endurance.
    Time lost all meaning as he descended into the depth of his soul.
    Turning inward for solace he teetered at the brink of the abyss.
    It seemed as though he could hear beautiful melodies: A symphony of lyre, flute, and sweet song – the Sirens of Circe’s warning, calling to him from deep within a black hole, offering a promise of mantic truths as well as the gilded – fool’s gold – false promise of survival.
    Surrender. Surrender.
    You’ll be warm and safe here – no more pain, no more worries.
    “Never.” he shouted, from somewhere deep within himself, clawing his way back from the precipice – surviving – buying another minute – an hour – a day.
    Losing part of himself – with each tick of the clock.
    Finally he was subjected to the infamous French telephone method of interrogation developed by the French Foreign Legion.
    As a soldier in the Legion’s 1st Parachute Regiment in Algeria, Dagineau had seen the technique used many times to extract information from rebel prisoners.
    It is an unimaginative – but brutally effective – means of obtaining information if you don’t care whether the object of the exercise lives or dies.
    It involves the use of a TP 3-12 field telephone with its wires attached to the prisoner’s ears, ankles, and testicles.
    By cranking the handle of the telephone’s dynamo, a high-voltage shock is supplied to all points of attachment.
    Since there is little amperage but high voltage, it was unlikely that Dagineau would die as a result.
    Each shock was exquisitely painful.
    His screams – there were many – sounding more animal than human, were ignored by his tormentors.
    One drawback to the technique is that the amount of voltage received cannot be controlled.
    If the voltage was too high, Dagineau would, more often than not, become unconscious – frustrating his inquisitors, forcing them to interrupt the “interrogation” until he could be revived and the torture could be continued, until blessed unconsciousness claimed him again.
    The pain and the relief from pain became blurred – his brain could no longer differentiate one from the other.
    In establishing the scientific basis for brainwashing, Pavlov coined the term Trans-marginal Inhibition.
    This is the body’s natural tendency to shut down thought and action completely when subjected to overwhelming stress.
    Simply put: Everyone has a breaking point.
    Pavlov also theorized that different individuals have innate neurological defense mechanisms that determine when or if this breaking point is reached.
    Strong emotions – such as fear and helplessness – tend to push some individuals to this point sooner, rather than later – eventually, everyone arrives there.
    There is always an exception to every theory, and a select few individuals possess the inherent ability to retreat so far into the depths of their own subconscious mind that they, in effect, journey back in time to a safer place.
    These rare individuals will die before they break.
    ***
    The 17-hour flight from New York’s JFK to Athens International is a study in physical endurance and sleep deprivation.
    Sleep, if you can call it that, consists of short periods of coma secondary to the exhaustion and cramping positions of coach-class airline seating.
    Captain Chris Holt – ordinarily – would have booked a first-class seat for an international flight.
    However, since he’d booked the flight at the last minute, the first-class section had been completely sold out, which left him crammed into an aisle seat on the port side of the aircraft near the tail section.
    At least he was close to the lavatory and the rear in-flight kitchen, where the booze was kept.
    Scotch is an excellent muscle relaxer.
    ***
    Exiting the Dulles International terminal, Gilmartin saw a tall, well-built man with a crew cut, leaning against a black sedan with tinted windows.
    The man opened the passenger door, walked around, and got in on the driver’s side.
    Gilmartin threw his carry-on bag onto the back seat and got in.
    Twenty minutes later, the car stopped in front of a massive wrought-iron gate that immediately opened.
    The sedan stopped under the portico of the sprawling three-story antebellum mansion.
    “He’s expecting you.”
    The door opened, and a servant took Gilmartin’s bag and led him into a richly paneled library.
    Seated behind an antique oak desk was a tall, well-muscled man.
    His lean, suntanned face and military haircut betrayed his profession.
    There was a twinkle in his eyes, and there was sadness, too – as if he’d seen too many good men make the ultimate sacrifice for duty, honor, and country.
    “Jake.”
    “General.”
    “Make yourself a drink, and have a seat.”
    There was a fresh drink on the desk, and the man took a sip.
    Gilmartin selected a crystal rocks glass and poured four fingers of Johnny Walker Blue Label from a crystal decanter before seating himself into a wing-backed overstuffed chair in front of the desk.
    He raised his glass.
    “Absent friends.”
    “Absent friends.”
    Both men drank.
    The man behind the desk pushed a file embossed with the seal of the President of the United States and the words “Eyes Only” – in bold red letters – toward Gilmartin.
    “Read this.”

    Reply
  19. A Night In The Woods

    It is night and there is a storm
    swirling overhead. It is powerful and ferocious and it is killing things as it
    moves about. The wind knocks birds out of the sky and squirrels out of trees,
    while the lightning starts fires in the fields that send the deer and antelope
    running far away. The thunder is loud, it beats the ground, I can feel its
    power as it hurts the world. The rain stings as it is ice cold and should be
    hell, but the fires and lightning heat it in the air.

    I run from this storm and pain,
    holding onto trees as I smash through their branches. I am cut and scraped and
    scared as I run. I need to find shelter or I will die out here in the cold rain
    and loud pounding. The thunder throws me to the ground, so I crawl in the dirt.
    My head is drummed by the beat of my heart as blood pours through my body, fear
    is pushing me to run. I get up, I run again and find my way to the top of a
    wooded hill. Below me is a valley with a large stone church. I run to it as the
    thunder and lightning and fires and cold rack against the earth. I make my way
    to the church; its lights are on. I see saints in the stain glass windows,
    beckoning me to run faster to move farther to dash into the church as quickly
    as I can. I do what they want, I move as fast as I can.

    To the main door I run, it is huge
    like a barricade to an old fortress blocking the entrance. I hit it with my
    hand, unleashing blood from my knuckles onto it. I push it, then I pull it, but
    it won’t open. I kick it and cry out until finally it swings inward and light
    pours onto me. I fall inward, into the church, scrambling away from the flood
    outside. The people who let me in slam the door shut and lock it with a large
    bolt. In the church there are candles lit on the alter I crawl towards them to
    take their warmth as someone throws a blanket on me. Looking up I see a priest
    wearing simple black clothes with a white collar. He looks at me and asks if I’m
    alright, nodding I say “Yes…but my car broke down a few hours ago…somewhere
    around here.” “Don’t worry,” the Priest said, “There isn’t anything you can do
    about that right now, but you can stay here until the storm passes.” I just
    look at him with a blank face and say “Okay.”

    Looking around I notice that there are other people in the
    sanctuary. To the right of the alter there is an old woman kneeling, praying.
    At the entrance of the church, by the barricaded door are two men. One of them
    is dressed in a soldier’s uniform, while the other is wearing normal clothes. “How
    many people are here?” I ask the Priest. Looking around he says, “five, if you
    include me and you.” I nod at him in acknowledgment as I say “how did they get
    here?” The Priest spoke while looking at the old woman saying “Mrs. McDougal
    came in here to pray before the storm and wasn’t able to leave. The two men by
    the door came in like you did.”

    I
    walked towards the candles and held my hands next to them to warm myself up,
    then I asked the Priest “How long until we can leave here? Do you know?” He
    shook his head and said “No, I don’t know, but we have plenty of food and water…so
    we’ll be able to outlast the storm. “I hope I don’t have to stay here that
    long,” I said as thunder crashed against the roof shaking dust into the air as
    it glittered down on top of us. “Yeah, I can’t stay here to long either,” the
    soldier shouted out. “I have to get back to my unit soon, or else I’ll get a
    court martial. I’ve already been here too long.” “Me too,” the man beside him
    said. “I’ve been stuck in this church for over twelve stinking hours. I can’t
    stay here any longer!” “Shush!” The old woman who up until then had been
    ignoring them said while she was still kneeling. The Priest looked at the men
    and said “Please, gentlemen…remember that this is still the house of the Lord.”
    The men just looked at the Priest without responding.

    It was
    late and everyone was tired. The storm and wind and thunder shook the church
    and the lightning would light it up with bright flashes before returning it
    back to a dark catacomb. Mrs. McDougal ignored this and continued to pray. She
    seemed more lifeless than the pictures of saints and angels on the stain glass
    windows. The Priest had brought out more blankets for everyone along with some
    cold cans of soup. The soldier quickly chugged his soup down in a matter of
    moments, while everyone else seemed to take their time. I sat there listening
    to the storm and then looked over at the soldier, asking “what was your job
    during the storm?” He replied, “I was delivering sandbags to people near the
    river, but as I drove back to the base to get more, I became lost. Then I
    accidently drove my Humvee into water.” “Why would you do that?” I asked him in
    a curious but matter of fact way. “I didn’t mean to destroy it…. Usually,
    Humvees can go through very deep puddles. They’re designed to be resilient to
    nature, but I guess it wasn’t this time. I nearly drowned trying to get out of
    it.” The Priest interjected, “We can thank the good Lord that you were saved.” “Amen!”
    Mrs. McDougal stated from the darkness. The men laughed.

    “What
    about you?” I asked the other man who had been near the door. “I was out
    hunting.” He said. “I didn’t know a storm was supposed to hit like this, so I just
    went out hunting like usual until I couldn’t move out in those woods anymore.”

    Reply
  20. Audrey Loveday

    15 MINUTES OF NARRRATION IN 1ST PERSON ON:

    SOMETHING I HAVE DONE TODAY .

    Timer on…

    Obsess, obsess obsess. That’s what my mind has done today. From the second I awoke my mind flew to the previous days happenings. Intentional, deliberate observations aka drive-bys, assessments vividly imagined scenarios, instincts and prior knowledge that led to assumptions that proved correct…well of course I was right. I feel sick. Why? Why must these emotions be processed? I don’t understand, but really I do. These are times I will look back on and will give me empathy for others who will go through this sad unrelenting passage in a similar life.

    Together for nearly 20 years and so quickly he finds someone new. And why oh fucking why does she have to be so hot? So fit, wrinkle free – and by if gossip is true- so bloody nice. He always loved brunettes, now he finally has one.

    My sensible brain councils me ‘its great such a lovely person will be in your childrens’ lives, how lucky its not a monster he hooked up’.

    I still love him and am quietly happy he has found a sexy gorgeous sweet woman.

    But then, my evil bitchy mind interjects and hisses in a snide mean voice; Betcha he is kinder to her than he ever was to me. Bet he holds an erection for longer then 2 minutes with her, arsehole. I just know though he is stressed trying to sneak in a quick pot pipe without her realising. Huh, and he’ll have to start religiously start using visine again- and hide it in the fridge so she doesn’t catch on. Oh stop! Please stop mind. Stop!!

    Today, all two hours of it so far I distracted myself with uni work – I even read so many posts my eyes went out of focus. I let my son have pizza for breakfast my will is so knocked down. Shame.

    Today we will all go for a bike ride, we will take the dogs to the park and I will NOT continue to obsess. I think its important to process it all, let the natural feelings course through my mind and soul but also fill my soul with smiles, drown my eyesight with the beautiful view of my babies. Hug the dogs- god damnit and wash the filthy little mutts. We will dismantle the marriage bed and put it in the garage and assemble the new bed together, style it. The new life I initiated will keep going on, this newly formed family of one adult, two kids and two dogs will continue to develop and nascent with new memories to shade the old.

    I’m not young, fit or pretty anymore but I can focus on the good; I am kind, thoughtful and moving forward as best I can. I am strong.

    I really need to brush my teeth.

    I hope her poo really stinks and he smells it, realising she is just a woman like the rest of us. I hope she gets yelled at, like I did, for leaving the gladwrap out.

    Reply
  21. TerriblyTerrific

    He had some good quotes! I don’t know which one I like best. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. seth_barnes

    nice quotes. shows you how it got to his spare style.

    Reply
  23. LilianGardner

    Hemmingway’s quotes are good, common sense for a writer, or an aspiring writer. Number 5 is the one I can’t follow. I think of many things during the day, but my story lingers constantly at the back of my mind. I can’t push it away fully. Number 17 is another straightforward way of telling someone not ot write if they can’t write.
    Hemmingway is amongst my favourite authors. I think I’ve read all his novels. He has such class, which I’d love to develop in my writing..

    Reply
  24. atul

    such nice collection of quotes and if find more quotes click here

    Reply

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