Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Ernest Hemingway on WritingErnest Hemingway on Writing by Larry W. Phillips

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some of my favorite quotes taken from Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new.
To Harvey Breit, 1952
(page 5)

All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time…
To Mary Welsh, 1945
(page 7)

…writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done–so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.
To Ivan Kashkin, 1935
(page 15)

I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can’t expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do.
To L.H. Brague, Jr., 1959
(page 18)

Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged.
Green Hills of Africa, pg. 71
(page 20)

Look how it is at the start–all juice and kick to the writer and cant convey anything to the reader–you use up the juice and the kick goes but you learn how to do it and the stuff when you are no longer young is better than the young stuff–
To F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1929
(page 27)

Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.
A Moveable Feast, pg. 156
(page 33)

“…Your first seeing of a country is a very valuable one. Probably more valuable to yourself than to any one else, is the hell of it. But you ought to always write it to try to get it stated. No matter what you do with it.”
Green Hills of Africa, pg. 193
(page 35)

After a book I am emotionally exhausted. If you are not you have not transferred the emotion completely to the reader. Anyway that is the way it works with me.
To Charles Scribner, Jr., 1952
(page 39)

I even read aloud the part of the novel that I had rewritten, which is about as low as a writer can get and much more dangerous for him as a writer than glacier skiing unroped before the full winter snowfall has set over the crevices.
A Moveable Feast, p. 209
(page 49)

Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it.
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 216
(page 51)

The more I’m let alone and not worried the better I can function.
To Grace Hall Hemingway, 1929
(page 56)

Do not let them deceive you about what a book should be because of what is in the fashion now.
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 216
(page 111)

He [the wolf] is hunted by everyone. Everyone is against him and he is on his own as an artist is.
To Harvey Breit, 1952
(page 113)

Only two things you can do for an artist. Give him money and show his stuff. These are the only two impersonal needs.
To Ernest Walsh, 1926
(page 119)

The minute I stop writing for a month or two months and am on a trip I feel absolutely animally happy. But when you are writing and get something the way you want it to be you get a great happiness too–but it is very different; although one is as important as the other to you yourself when you have a feeling of how short your life is.
To Ivan Kashkin, 1936
(page 121)

You must be prepared to work always without applause.
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 185
(page 139)


Vanity of Vanities by CG Fewston



CG FEWSTON is an American novelist who is a member of AWP, a member of Americans for the Arts, and a professional member and advocate of the PEN American Center, advocating for the freedom of expression around the world.

CG FEWSTON has travelled across continents and visited such places as Mexico, the island of Guam, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Taipei and Beitou in Taiwan, Bali in Indonesia, and Guilin and Shenzhen and Beijing in China. He also enjoys studying and learning French, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin.

CG FEWSTON earned an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Administration (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors) from Stony Brook University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University, where he had the chance to work with wonderful and talented novelists, such as Richard Adams Carey (author of In the Evil Day, October 2015; and, The Philosopher Fish, 2006) and Jessica Anthony (author of Chopsticks, 2012; and, The Convalescent, 2010) as well as New York Times Best-Selling novelists Matt Bondurant (author of The Night Swimmer, 2012; and, The Wettest County in the World, 2009, made famous in the movie Lawless, 2012) and Wiley Cash (author of A Land More Kind Than Home, 2013; and, This Dark Road to Mercy, 2014).

Among many others, CG FEWSTON’S stories, photographs and essays have appeared in Sediments LiteraryArts Journal, Bohemia, Ginosko Literary Journal, GNU Journal (“Hills Like Giant Elephants”), Tendril Literary MagazinePrachya Review (“The One Who Had It All”), Driftwood Press, The Missing Slate Literary Magazine (“Darwin Mother”), Gravel Literary Journal, Foliate Oak Magazine, The Writer’s DrawerMoonlit Road, Nature Writing, and Travelmag: The Independent Spirit; and for several years he was a contributor to Vietnam’s national premier English newspaper, Tuoi Tre, “The Youth Newspaper.”

You can read more about CG FEWSTON and his writing at &

[ File # csp13641219, License # 2590673 ]Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( Can Stock Photo Inc. / andreykuzmin

A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN won GOLD for Literary Classics’ 2015 best book in the category under ”Special Interest” for “Gender Specific – Female Audience”…

Finalist in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Romantic Fiction…

Finalist in the 2015 Mystery & Mayhem Novel Writing Contest…

A_Time_to_Love_in_Tehran gold medal


“Fewston delivers an atmospheric and evocative thriller in which an American government secret agent must navigate fluid allegiances and murky principles in 1970s Tehran… A cerebral, fast-paced thriller.”

Kirkus Reviews 

“A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN is a thrilling adventure which takes place in pre-revolutionary Tehran. Author CG FEWSTON provides a unique glimpse into this important historical city and its rich culture during a pivotal time in its storied past. This book is so much more than a love story. Skillfully paired with a suspenseful tale of espionage, A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN is a riveting study of humanity. Replete with turns & twists and a powerful finish, FEWSTON has intimately woven a tale which creates vivid pictures of the people and places in this extraordinary novel.”



CG FEWSTON‘s new novel,

A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN, was published on April 2, 2015 —

10 years to the day of the publication

of his first novella, A FATHER’S SON (April 2, 2005)


“Thus one skilled at giving rise to the extraordinary

is as boundless as Heaven and Earth,

as inexhaustible as the Yellow River and the ocean.

Ending and beginning again,

like the sun and moon. Dying and then being born,

like the four seasons.”

found in Sources of Chinese Tradition, p 5


cg and axton 2015


hem 1

hem 2



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