INTERVIEWER:How much rewriting do you do?
HEMINGWAY:It depends. I rewrote the ending to Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
INTERVIEWER:Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
HEMINGWAY:Getting the words right.
On writing: 5 Literary voices we lost this year
The Guardian has a great article collecting quotes about life from writers we lost this year, but here’s what each had to say about writing:
Doris Lessing: “You should write, first of all, to please yourself. You shouldn’t care a damn about anybody else at all. But writing can’t be a way of life - the important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it.”
Chinua Achebe: "Imaginative literature does not enslave; it liberates the mind of man. Its truth is not like the canons of orthodoxy or the irrationality of prejudice and superstition. It begins as an adventure in self-discovery and ends in wisdom and humane conscience.“
Seamus Heaney: “The gift of writing is to be self-forgetful … to get a surge of inner life or inner supply or unexpected sense of empowerment, to be afloat, to be out of yourself.”
Elmore Leonard: "So many people say, ‘I’m dying to write.’ Well, if you’re dying to write, why aren’t you writing? If you’re not writing, you’re not dying to do it enough.“
Iain Banks: “Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get. Don’t try to perfect as you go along, just get to the end of the damn thing. Accept imperfections. Get it finished and then you can go back.