Hemingway's Tips on Writing

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.                            ~Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway possessed many talents as a writer. A distinctive voice. Spare, tight prose. A genre all his own. What would he think of all the books on craft today? The multitude of writing conferences and workshops? The writing software--and even NaNoWriMo?

I decided to pull together some resources connected to Hemingway. Check them out. Then you can decide for yourself.

In A Short Course In Writing, Donald L. Hughes examines four points that Hemingway used in writing. I'm impressed that he would edit his stories until he couldn't find one word that wasn't essential.

Find even more tips and solutions in How to Write Well, the Ernest Hemingway Style.

Read about Hemingway's Iceberg Principle on Timeless Hemingway.

There's actually a book called Ernest Hemingway On Writing, by Larry Phillips.

And finally, here are two videos with more tips from Hemingway:

What do you think about editing out every non-essential word? Is it a realistic goal?


  1. It would be fantastic if I could edit out every non-essential word. The rhythm of writing is something I'm studying, and the tighter the writing the easier it is to "hear" that rhythm.

    While I've never been called a flowery writer myself, "sparse" hasn't been thrown my way, either! :-)

    Hemingway made one point on writing in particular that changed my mindset for the better while writing: be positive, not negative. When I reduced the number of "nots" in my pieces, I found myself using stronger, more vivid words to get my point across.

    Thank you for the links. I've loved Hemingway since first being introduced to him during my freshman year of high school.

  2. When I read Mary DeMuth's book on writing, she mentioned that the human brain takes far longer to read a negation. So I'm trying to eliminate the 'nots' in my MS, as well.


  3. BTW, I purchased Mary DeMuth's e-book for Kindle based on your recommendation. Thank you for that. I'm loving it!

  4. I'm so glad, Janette! Mary is a wealth of information. :)




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