Hemingway's Writing Tips

Paris Wife

I love, love, love reading intuitively. I brought a stack of books to read on my writing retreat. I picked up Paula McClain's The Paris Wife and dove into the story of Hadley Richardson Hemingway and the Paris years. Soon I was planning my day around reading until I reached the bittersweet end.

This awakened an appetite to read Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, his memoir of the same period. I left a holiday party early to find it in a used bookstore. First, I stopped at Blake's Books, one of my favorite small bookstores in McKinleyville that offers new and used books. It was not in stock; however, I did find two memoirs by Madeleine L'Engle and Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions.  I may have the opportunity for her to sign a book in February and I have permanently loaned out all of her books from my library. I moved on to Arcata to the Tin Can used bookstore and found a tattered copy of Feast.

I have not read much of Hemingway's work--just those novels and short stories assigned in high school English classes. Often when I revisit these books without the torture of reading as an assignment with banal class discussions, I discover I like them. I never returned to Hemingway though, because his persona is a turn-off. Reading why Hadley loved him so rehabilitated him for me. I am enjoying Feast.

Added bonus: writing tips from Hemingway: "I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day." (p. 12) "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 you know." (p. 12) "...I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything."

Good advice from a disciplined writer.