Quote It! Ernest Hemingway

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

–Ernest Hemingway

From what I understand, Hemingway always chose his words carefully. He “learned” to never empty his well, means that he probably emptied his well a time or two before he learned that, hmmm, that’s not such a great idea.

How do you keep your writing well full? Or, when it gets low, what do you do to prime the pump and get the water flowing again? I could use your suggestions.

Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line


12 thoughts on “Quote It! Ernest Hemingway

  1. Sometimes the problem is not a dry well, but one that’s not clear. The heavy rains of daily routine or the sudden squalls of life run a lot of trash into the ground water, and our well gets cloudy. It’s hard to drop our bucket into the water and haul up a fresh, cool thought.

    That’s when I reach for a good book or, because of my theater background, a good performance, usually a movie. But these days it’s hard to find either. So I often return to ones that fed my well with spring water, ones that stimulated the mind, cleared out the trash, and allowed my bucket to haul up fresh, cool thoughts.


  2. On a completely different note: are you aware that there’s an Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Society? There’s an annual contest held in Key West. I attended one year because a close friend of my employer was a judge (previous winners are chosen to be judges). Some of the contestants were a stretch, but a couple were dead ringers. My employer’s friend, Carly, was a true Hemingway look-alike. He died a few weeks ago. We attended the funeral, and there were several Hemingways there.

  3. I usually feed other stories into my brain. Watching TV is the easiest, but unsatisfying. So every evening I spend a few hours reading. And to completely recharge, I catch a play. Or a philharmonic concert. Or a museum. What do you do, Michael?

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