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How Ernest Hemingway Cured My Writer’s Block

Even when he was drunk on his ass, he was a fucking genius”. – Stephen King on Ernest Hemingway

I tried, but I could never get into Hemingway.

Instead I found myself more like Pat Solatano from the movie, “Silver Linings Playbook”, who when he finished reading “Farewell to Arms”, screamed…

“What the… FUCK?? Stupid fucking book!”

as he hurled the book through a window.

But I can thank Hemingway for one thing: he cured my writer’s block.

7 Words That Set Me Free

Ever had writer’s block?

You sit there, staring at a blank screen, trying to write a great opening sentence. Maybe you type a few words… they don’t feel right, so you delete them… then stare some more…

I used to know this feeling well. It wasn’t fun.

Then I came across this quote by Hemingway:

‘The first draft of anything is shit.’

And I was set free!

Now, when I sit down to start my first draft, I don’t feel tyrannised by the need for perfection… or even competence.

Instead, I give myself permission to write a shitty first sentence – and I always succeed!

And, before too long, I have paragraphs and pages of shitty copy.

But, more importantly, I now have something to edit.

And editing is always easier than writing.

So, do what I did and set yourself free. After all, no-one is ever going to see your first draft.

Steve Gibson

PS When I email a client and ask him to look at my “first draft” – it’s a bare-faced lie. It’s at least the second. Probably the third. But he doesn’t need to know that.

 

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