Quotes By Ernest Hemingway on Writing

“Mice: What is the best early training for a writer?

Y.C.: An unhappy childhood.”


“…Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.”


“Good writing is true writing. If a man is making a story up it will be true in proportion to the amount of knowledge of life that he has and how conscientious he is; so that when he makes something up it is as it would truly be.”


“I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can't expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do.”


“The hardest thing in the world to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn…”


“It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg adress was so short. The laws of prose writing are immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics. Fr letter to Maxwell Perkins 1945”


“Mice: But reading all the good writers might discourage you.
Y.C.: Then you ought to be discouraged.”


“P.P.S. Don’t you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle. I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky?”


“After the New Yorker piece I decided that I would never give another interview to anyone on any subject and that I would keep away from all places where I would be likely to be interviewed. If you say nothing it is difficult for someone to get it wrong.”


“Remember to get the weather in your god damned book—weather is very important.”


“Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged.”


“When you first start writing stories in the first person if the stories are made so real that people believe them the people reading them nearly always think the stories really happened to you. That is natural because while you were making them up you had to make them happen to the person who was telling them. If you do this successfully enough you make the person who is reading them believe that the things happened to him too. If you can do this you are beginning to get what you are trying for which is to make the story so real beyond any reality that it will become a part of the reader’s experience and a part of his memory. There must be things that he did not notice when he read the story or the novel which without his knowing it, enter into his memory and experience so that they are a part of his life. This is not easy to do. unpublished”


“Good writing is true writing. If a man is making a story up it will be true in proportion to the amount of knowledge of life that he has and how conscientious he is; so that when he makes something up it is as it would truly be. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 215”


“Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”


“I have to ease off on makeing love when writing hard as the two things are run by the same motor.”


“The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and it is the hardest of all things to do…”