Today marks the 115th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's birth. In his lifetime, Papa had quite a lot to say about writing. Here are 18 of our favorite quotes, in no particular order.
1. I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
2. 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.
3. For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.
4.That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best - make it all up - but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.
5. Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
6. My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
7. When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
8. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.
9. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
10. 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.
11. To F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can."
12. Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.
13. All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
14. A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
15. It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.
16. To an aspiring writer: “You shouldn’t write if you can’t write.”
17. 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.
18. My training was never to drink after dinner nor before I wrote nor while I was writing.
What's your favorite writerly quote from Ernest Hemingway? Share it in the comments!