What Hemingway Has Taught Us About Writing

I don’t like the works of Ernest Hemingway. There are many reasons but that’s a whole other post (on a whole other blog).

What I’m focusing on here is how the man wrote: apparently he wrote about 500 words a day, every day.

Let’s think about that for a minute.

500 words a day.

He keeps track of his daily progress—“so as not to kid myself”—on a large chart made out of the side of a cardboard packing case and set up against the wall under the nose of a mounted gazelle head. The numbers on the chart showing the daily output of words differ from 450, 575, 462, 1250, back to 512, the higher figures on days Hemingway puts in extra work so he won’t feel guilty spending the following day fishing on the Gulf Stream. – Paris Review Interview

That sounds doable, right? And man what a yearly load it amounts to! 182500 words!

After thinking about it for the entire Christmas break, I’ve started out on my 500 words regimen.

I wasn’t going to do it today, the second day in, but realised that I’d actually feel a bit like a failure if I didn’t do the little piddling amount that is 500 words.

So I put on the headphones and slid away into my character, an old man called Old Nick, with tattoos on his hands.

Idea generation for 2016

Where did I get the character idea? Another new things for 2016, for me: Rory’s Storycubes. Highly recommended.

Music to write to

I felt I just had to share this incredible music I’ve been listening to on YouTube, both bands I’ve never listened to before: The Redneck Manifesto (who I’d heard of but never heard) and Pillow (who I just found out about tonight).

They’re both instrumental so you don’t have to worry about any voices or words catching on your thoughts.

Anyway check them out, and happy 2016, dear reader.


3 thoughts on “What Hemingway Has Taught Us About Writing

  1. This is what NaNo tries to provide, a way of training yourself into writing daily. Cara Michaels also used to run a logging system on her site for 500 words a day, under the hashtag of #WIP500 (it stopped in 2014). I found it really useful. But no music when I write, not possible for me. I either listen to music or I write, can’t do both.

    I am struggling with a final scene at the moment in my novel. Find myself doing anything but write it! LOL

    Glad to hear you are still writing after you gave it up at the end of last year! 😉


    1. I find the NaNo wordcount too high for me, but actually today I’ve written nearly 1000 words and am not yet done, so maybe I just need to work up to it!

      I give up ALL THE TIME. I’m sure you noticed 😀

      Have you started writing your final scene?


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