5 Thoughts About Writing From Novelist Ernest Hemingway

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Brock Swinson
2 min readMar 11, 2024


Photo Courtesy of Upaninews

Ernest Hemingway was a prolific American novelist, known for his concise and powerful writing style.

His spare prose, influenced by his experiences as a journalist and World War I ambulance driver, revolutionized modern literature.

Here are a few things writers can learn from Ernest Hemingway…


Don’t repeat yourself. “This book began magnificently, went on very well for a long way with great stretches of great brilliance, and then went on endlessly in repetitions that a more conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the waste basket.”


Read. “When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing that you were writing before you could go on with it the next day.”


Let the pressure build. “When I had to write it, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime, I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.”


Cut out the embellishment. “If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”


Wait until the next day to judge your writing. “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.”




Want more? All of these quotes help make up my first book about the craft of writing, Ink by the Barrel — Secrets From Prolific Writers. Get your copy for free, right here.