There is something both tragicomic and cathartic about trying to assume the dispositions of incredibly successful and prolific authors when you’re staring at a blank page.
But what better way to Thailand WhatsApp Number List procrastinate than to live vicariously. Through the habits and productivity secrets of renowned writers of yore.
A brief tour of the scribe Thailand WhatsApp Number List of Fame might recalibrate. The hemispheres of your brain. Just don’t get distracted by all that noise over there on social media.
I encourage you to print any of these to post over your desk. I’ve got a whole stack clipped together that I flip through when I’m bored. After all, great writers steal.
Ernest Hemingway, 1899 – 1961
Heavyweight journo, literary lion, bearded tough guy, proto standing desk advocate, and prolific legend.
I had the pleasure of interviewing journalist Sarah Stodola, author of Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors, on The Writer Files podcast.
Her fascinating collection of the habits and habitats of heralded scribes digs into Papa’s process:
“Every day, Ernest Hemingway rose with the sun and by 7:00 a.m. got straight to writing. Where didn’t particularly matter — at different times in his life, he wrote in a hotel room reserved for that purpose, at cafe tables, standing up at a cluttered desk in his bedroom, and on his anchored boat near Cuba.”
“Wherever he was, Hemingway started by rewriting the previous days’ work, then moving forward, always going until around noon, at which time he was done entirely, both mentally and physically.”
“Afternoons were often spent outdoors, in the company of his many male friends, or reading the work of others to clear his mind of his own efforts, a drink invariably in hand.”
Most notable: Ernie had learned to get it done no matter where he was, and he was an itinerant world traveler with a thirst for danger.
Hem knew that his process was best served by editing first, writing second.
Writing is rewriting
His daily routine was intrepid but not unreasonable. Oh … and he liked to have a drink or two at the end of the day.
His minimalist writing style (known as “the iceberg theory”) had a huge impact on the fiction of the 21st century.
He formulated his style from rules he learned early in his career — like many great authors — from his first job as a cub reporter at a local newspaper, straight out of high school.
He credited The Kansas City Star’s simple stylebook (below) as “… the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing.” If you want to write like Hemingway, here are the rules:
- Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.
- Never use old slang.
- Eliminate every superfluous word.
- Be careful of the word “also.” It usually modifies the word it follows closest. “He, also, went” means “He, too, went.” “He went also” means he went in addition to taking some other action.
- Be careful of the word “only.” “He only had $10” means he alone was the possessor of such wealth; “He had only $10” means the ten was all the cash he possessed.
- In writing of animals, use the neuter gender except when you are writing of a pet that has a name.
- Try to preserve the atmosphere of the speech in your quotation. For instance, in quoting a child, do not let him say: “Inadvertently, I picked up the stone and threw it.”
David Ogilvy, 1911 – 1999
Original “Mad Man,” advertising mogul, the gold standard of print copywriters, sharp dresser, and pipe smoker.
Ogilvy was the wizard behind the curtain of some of the world’s most recognizable and lucrative advertisements.
In The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners, he revealed his process to a colleague: