Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Blogging

Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, made famous for becoming the definition of simple and clear writing.

Here’s Ernest Hemingway’s guide to blogging.

1. Keep it short.

Hemingway was famous for his minimalist style of writing that got straight to the point.

Short sentences, short paragraphs.

Hemingway did it with great effect in Big Two-Hearted River:

Nick looked at the burned-over stretch of hillside, where he had expected to find the scattered houses of the town and then walked down the railroad track to the bridge over the river. The river was there.

He went to the river. The river was there.

2. PUNCH THOSE DAMN KEYS

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

Good writing is all about passion, intent, and focus. It’s the different between trying to and being.

3. Edit. Ruthlessly.

“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” – Ernest Hemingway

No one writes a brilliant first draft. No one. That’s just how it is. Writing is rewriting. You need to be aware of that.

The more time you spend refining your blog posts, the less impeded your readers will be by mistakes and clumsy writing.

Take your time. Don’t try to rush the process, don’t try to bribe the muse. Take your time to edit, edit, edit.

4. Write like yourself.

Do not try to write about what’s trending, or about what you think will be popular one year from now. Do not try to please people. Do not even try to write about the stuff that you are somewhat interested in.

And, please, do not try to write like someone else, some famous author you admire, or how your teacher, parent, friend told you to write.

Write like yourself. Write by using the words that are at your disposal, the words that you use on a day to day basis, which also means that, yes, I am against using a Thesaurus.


Keep it short. Punch those damn keys. Edit, edit, edit. And write like yourself.

What do you think would be the fifth rule in Hemingway’s guide to blogging?

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14 thoughts on “Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Blogging

  1. Hi I loved reading this as I went through a phase of reading a lot of Hemingway’s work a couple of years ago. My fifth Hemingway rule would be the ‘iceberg’ principle- hold back as much as you can bear to, and give the reader a chance to fill in the spaces. I’m not sure where he is quoted on that but I’ve read it a few times and it rings true. Give your audience food for thought and something to chew on. I’d also like to recommend the biography ‘Hemingway’s Boat’ by Paul Hendricksen. Thanks for all the tips by the way, so helpful 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Back when I was a political speech writer I used to write brilliant first drafts. Of course once the politician had then inserted his/her ideas and personality, thing would go downhill. By the tenth draft the speech that would have saved the world was good only as a sleep inducer. Mind you, we all need help sleeping sometimes.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I love this….”Do not try to write about what’s trending, or about what you think will be popular one year from now. Do not try to please people.” I am becoming weary of the plethora of SEO driven posts “10 reasons not to do your own brain surgery”…etc
    Must go find me some Hemingway

    Liked by 1 person

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