Hemingway, the Blogger

 

Hemingway fishing, 1928

Hemingway fishing, 1928

Hemingway and I have much in common: we catch big fish. And we…well, we don’t have THAT much in common. But if Hemingway were alive, he’d be a great blogger (when sober). Here’s why.

Pick Your Turf.     Hemingway enjoyed bullfighting, women, and wine. The latter two weren’t unique topics, but bullfighting was. As  were deep-sea fishing and boxing. Hemingway’s manly tales positioned him as a spokesman for the all-American male. Contrast his work with Fitzgerald (the elitist) or Joyce (the pervert), and Hemingway represented the rough-and-tumble world of sportsmen. To bond with readers, establish your turf.

In Two Words: Short Sentences.    Blogs should be short. Apply the “scroll rule.” You’ve written too much if scrolling is necessary. Posts are fortune cookies. Thoughts should be to the point. With good takeaway. Readers finish short posts.

Set the Hook.     As a fisherman, Hemingway knew how to set the hook. Look at these first lines. Then emulate their strong sparseness to begin your blog posts.

  • “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff…” The Old Man and the Sea
  • “In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village…” A Farewell to Arms
  • “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton.” The Sun Also Rises

 

Truth.    Research truth, then write it. To quote Hemingway, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Then keep writing them. Better yet, live your topics. In either case, ensure your posts exude truth.

Write Every Day.     Hemingway wrote every morning, standing. Then he ignored his work until the next day. A habitual writer, he knew practice led to better work — and made his editor, Maxwell Perkins, happy. Be disciplined so your readers depend on your posts and thoughts.

Perhaps the greatest lesson from Hemingway was his comment about writing. “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”