Hemingway’s Advice to Writers: Part 1
Quote of the Day: There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. Ernest Hemingway
Lifelong learning around my home means studying the art and craft of writing. This means I do a lot of reading and writing.
We all have our favorites and my reference to Ernest Hemingway probably doesn’t surprise you. I am fortunate to have read many of Hemingway’s novels and came across a book about him written by his friend, Arnold Samuelson, an aspiring writer at the time.
For the next few posts, I’ll share some of his advice to writers from the book by Arnold Samuelson, With Hemingway, A Year in Key West and Cuba.
Note: The book was published after the author’s death in 1981. You may have seen the movie, if not watch it. The book is available in hard copy from Amazon and at most libraries.
Ernest Hemingway’s advice on ambition, self-comparison, and originality:
“Never compete with living writers. You don’t know whether they’re good or not. Compete with the dead ones you know are good. Then when you can pass them up you know you’re going good. You should have read all the good stuff so that you know what has been done because if you have a story like one somebody else has written, yours isn’t any good unless you can write a better one. In any art, you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better, but the tendency should always be upward instead of down. And don’t ever imitate anybody. All style is, is the awkwardness of a writer in stating a fact. If you have a way of your own, you are fortunate, but if you try to write like somebody else, you’ll have the awkwardness of the other writer as well as your own.”
In the next post, we’ll look at what Ernest Hemingway thought was the “good stuff” writers should read.
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