Ernest Hemingway On What To Write About

I wish to write about things that are personal to me, things that matter to me, which cause me a certain sense of discomfort to write. The reason for this is that I view writing as a self-exploratory tool through which not only do I come to understand myself better and to formulate my thoughts but also to be able to express what goes unexpressed in daily life. There is always a sense of discomfort when one opens themselves up to others but this discomfort is needed if you wish to write about things that are of importance to you.

It is in this thought where Hemingway provides crucial insight. In his book, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway recollects his early days as a writer and the time he spent in Paris interacting with other great artists such as Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and many more. Hemingway also speaks on the art of writing, his struggles to write and his attempt to write his first novel. It is in this, where he shares his thoughts on what he wishes to write about, in particular, three ideas:

I would write one story about each thing I knew about.

What did I know best that I had not written about and lost?

What did I know about truly and care for the most?

It’s these three ideas that have stuck with me through my reading of the book. The reason is simple, they are personal and they require thought. In order to transplant those thoughts onto paper, I have to be truthful. This truth may make you vulnerable but it is in this vulnerability that I may be able to write something that has meaning.

 

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