Click the image for 19 more Ernest Hemingway's quotes on writing

1. “In order to write about life first you must live it.”

2. “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”

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

4. “I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

5. “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

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

7. “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

8. “If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”

9. “i believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try and make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful. then you write for who you love whether they can read or write or not and whether they are alive or dead.”

10. “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

Click the image for 19 more Ernest Hemingway's quotes on writing4

11. “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”

12. “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

13. “A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.”

14. “Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it.”

15. “The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

16. “it is all very well for you to write simply and the simpler the better. But do not start to think so damned simply. Know how complicated it is and then state it simply.”

17. “The first draft of anything is shit.”

18. “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

19. “I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows.”

20. “Remember to get the weather in your damn book–weather is very important.”

Next: Kurt Vonnegut’s 20 Quotes on Writing

see also:

Bukowski on Writing

George Orwell on Writing

Stephen King on Writing

11 thoughts on “Ernest Hemingway’s 20 Quotes on Writing

    1. Oh, cool! I’m glad you liked him. I really love Bukowski. I’ve read most of his stuff, so I didn’t have to dig up all that much to find them 🙂

  1. Hey, what about “Write drunk; edit sober” quote? Or “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life”? Must have been listed up here.


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