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Ernest Hemingway’s Advice To a Young Writer: ‘You have to catch hell’

hemingwayIn October 1925, a young writer named Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to a younger Canadian author named Morley Callaghan.

Callaghan was frustrated with his writing life and wrote to his friend: “Have a lot of time and could go a good deal of writing if I knew how I stood.”

Hemingway’s response is included in volume two of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, out this month. We’ve quoted his response below, great advice for writers of any age…

Hemingway replied to Callaghan in a letter:

Christ don’t be an ass and say you could go on and write if you know how you stand etc. God knows you’re in the most depressing and discouraging surroundings–but that’s what makes a writer. You have to catch hell. You’ve got to take punishment … Write a lot–but see a lot more. Keep your ears and eyes going and try all the time to get your conversations right.

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