Would Hemingway Blog?

Photo by Yousef Karsh via Wikimedia Commons

Emphatically, YES!!! I know many writers are hesitant to the idea of blogging. It feels like just another social media chore, but nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, blogging is probably the ONLY form of social media that 1) draws from a writer’s strengths and 2) doesn’t try to fundamentally change our personality.

Yes, as a social media expert Jedi, I will tell you that it’s a good idea to tweet and learn to use Facebook, but I’m also going to tell you something you already know. Most of that kind of social media is NOT natural for a lot of writers. Is it good for you? Yes. It shoves you out of your comfort zone and makes you work an area that will be vital to career success. But, of all the various on-line tools we can wield, the blog is by far one of the best.

Oh, but Kristen. There are already way too many blogs out there.

Yep, and guess what? There are way too many books out there, too, and that hasn’t stopped you guys from writing one, has it? Blogs are a lot like books. In fact, that is one of the reasons they are such an excellent choice for writers. Blogs connect using…words. Same as books. They connect through information or emotion…same as books. If people learn to love your blogging voice, it is no great leap to love your novels.

Ah, but just like books…

Most people who start a book never keep pressing until it is finished. Similarly, most people who start a blog will abandon it for some new shiny two months in. Most people who start writing a novel believe it is easy, and that they don’t need any professional instruction or guidance. Guess what? Same with blogs.

Too many people who start a blog just throw up content without learning what to blog, how to blog, and what makes a blog grow and become successful. This means the competition is not nearly as daunting as some might believe.

So why would Hemingway blog? Well, actually, he did. I am going to paraphrase a story relayed by mega-author and Hemingway expert, David Morrell.

Hemingway was a Blogger Journalist

As a young reporter for the Kansas City Star, Hemingway learned the value of lean, uncluttered sentences. In fact, the newspaper’s style sheet underscored the, “Use of vigorous English…Be positive…Avoid the use of adjectives.” Though Hemingway followed these principles as a reporter, he apparently forgot them when he decided to write fiction. When he moved to Paris and showed Getrude Stein his work, she slayed him for his purple prose. She told him to toss everything and try again.

A few months later, Hemingway met a reporter in Switzerland who expressed interest in his work. Hemingway was so excited he wrote to his wife and asked her bring all of his manuscripts to him straight away. Being a good wife, she packed everything he’d written in a suitcase and hopped on a train…and the suitcase was stolen, taking every shred of Hemingway’s writing.

Hemingway rushed home and turned his apartment upside down, but to no avail. It was all gone. Hemingway almost gave up, but then he thought back to Gertrude Stein’s advice to chuck everything and begin anew. Hemingway rolled up his sleeves and went back to work, yet this time he harnessed his reporting skills and went about his writing in a far more organized fashion, with the verbal discipline he’d learned from the Kansas City Star.

Hemingway learned that less is more, that economy of description can produce clearer effects than descriptions with detail piled upon detail. But, economy doesn’t only mean reducing a description to its essentials. It also means going for so clean a line that adjectives and adverbs become a sign of bad writing. ~David Morrell The Successful Novelist p.117

I have been running my writing contest for over two years now, and I see the same problems over and over with new writers. The prose is bogged down with all kinds of fluff. The sentences aren’t clear and the prose is weak.

Just like Hemingway used his experience as a reporter to strengthen his fiction (which made him one of the greatest writers in literary history), we, too, can use blogging to refine our prose and strengthen our writing skills. There are many great authors who used their journalistic muscles to write great works of fiction. Hemingway, Orwell, Dickens and Twain to name a few.

Blogging is a modern equivalent of journalism, and I believe Hemingway definitely would have blogged had he been a man of a different era. Can you imagine Hemingway tweeting images of giant swordfish he’d caught deep sea fishing? Or posting a video on You Tube of him running with the bulls? Maybe some images on Flikr from his latest safari?

Where was I? Oh, yes!

Blogging Takes Us from Neophyte to Expert MUCH Quicker

Malcolm Gladwell asserted that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Add blogging to your repertoire, and guess how quickly you can rack up that 10,000 hours? Blogging will teach you to write faster, leaner and with far more power in much less TIME.

Bloggers Learn to Ship

When you have a blog due, you learn to kill Little Darlings with ruthless efficiency. Bloggers (like journalists) learn not to grow overly fond with sections of prose. We are copy editing MACHINES. We are great at meeting deadlines because we don’t need 42 different opinions to convince us to part with some prose.

HACK! HACK! SLICE!

Bloggers Grow a Thick Skin

Writers who also blog are showing the world they take their profession seriously. We put our work out there, good, bad or WTH?. We open ourselves to criticism, and we learn to take it like a champ and come back swinging.

I’ve met a lot of writers who get defensive, angry or abusive when told their work isn’t a glittery kitten hug. This business is tough, and blogging will whip a writer into fighting form in no time.

Blogging Trains Us for Other Paid Work

Since blogging is so close to journalism, it is easier for us to get paid work writing articles, blogs or even copy work. Bloggers have a BLOG that shows the world that they are serious. Potential employers see a writer who can make deadlines, who can work even when they don’t feel like it. Bloggers, like journalists, don’t sit around and wait for the inspiration fairy. They roll up their sleeves and do what real writers do.

They write.

Additionally, many writers supplement their book income with other work (like articles), and blogging is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Getting Started

So for those who don’t want to blog, that is fine. But for those who do?

Blogging is one of the best ways to build an author platform (mainly because it has us operating in our strength—writing). A blog is far less volatile than other forms of social media. Who knows if we will have Twitter in five years? Twitter may go, but a blog will remain and can continue to grow for YEARS. We don’t have to be a Chatty Cathy social butterfly to be a kick@$$ blogger, and this is really great for those shy introverts out there. In fact, in my experience, you guys make some of the BEST bloggers.

Starting a Successful Blog

A lot of blogs fail simply because writers take off with no instruction, and, because of this, they are left to learn by painful trial and error. If you believe you would like to blog, but you’re uncertain, I’m doing something new. To accommodate those who are still on the fence, I’m now running a Basic level for my upcoming blogging class.

In the Basic class, you get to be part of the WANA1012 team and receive all the forum lessons (none of the live webinars are included). This is a really great place to learn if blogging is right for you (Blogging Training Wheels).

If you’re ready to skip the training wheels and get started blogging, then get your spot NOW. My classes have a history of selling out. I offer a Blogging Bronze, Silver, Gold, and even Diamond, for those who are ready to go all the way.

This is a TWO MONTH class—one month for lessons and one for launch—that you can do in your own time, at your own speed and from home. And since you will be part of a WANA team, you won’t have to do this blogging thing alone, so your odds of success are MUCH higher. For those who want to do NaNoWriMo, we can extend the two months if we have to. That’s one of the benefits of being the owner of the interface :D.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Those of you who blog, have you seen an improvement in your writing? What questions do you guys have? Thoughts? What other famous writers from history would be cool to see tweeting or posting blogs? Poe? Steinbeck? Shakespeare? What do you think would be their favorite social site and how would they use it? Picasso and Pinterest? :D

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

Oh, and if you love this blog, I would love your support. I am in the running to become a community blogger for my hometown, so I’d appreciate your votes. Just click the link and scroll down until you see my name and vote. THANK YOU! When the zombie apocalypse arrives, I promise to share ammo and Twinkies with those of you who vote for me :D.

Back to the regular contest….

To prove it and show my love, for the month of September, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of September I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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  1. #1 by Patrick Thunstrom on September 26, 2012 - 10:22 am

    Your list of blogging advantages is precisely why I finally told myself I need to blog every day, love it or hate it. (Hopefully love it.) I’ve been unhappy with some of the quality I’m putting out, but then I’m also putting out what I’d say are some of my best posts yet. Sometimes starting is the hardest part!

  2. #2 by Kristina on September 26, 2012 - 10:22 am

    I love the imagery of Hemmingway tweeting pics of fish and bulls!

  3. #3 by kasey mathews on September 26, 2012 - 10:24 am

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! You are so good!!

  4. #4 by Caitlin Kelly on September 26, 2012 - 10:29 am

    Yes to most of this.

    No the the notion that blogging often = journalism. Journalism (yes, I sound stuffy but only because I’ve worked as a journalist since 1978) has a clear, agreed set of principles that we all know we have to abide by, or lose our reputations, jobs and freelance incomes. Like — it actually needs to be accurate and factual (or clearly stated when it is not.) You must attribute others’ work (links, quotes, etc.) and not “borrow” it for yourself. You accept no freebies/discounts/swag. Etc.

    Bloggers can write anything they want and call it “news” or “journalism” but just because I can whip up an omelette doesn’t make me a professional chef. That distinction remains very clear to me. Not to many bloggers who get really angry and defensive when any such lines are drawn by professional, trained writers who have had to meet other professional standards for years, if not decades.

    So, yes, write often. It will help.

    But blogging always lacks the single most crucial element of journalism — editors! Tough, smart, demanding, questioning editors. The worst aspect of blogging is that the “publish” button is just as easy to hit as delete, with no intermediary sets of eyes to clean up your work.

    • #5 by Chris Plumb on September 26, 2012 - 2:17 pm

      Thank you. As a former journalist, I feel the same way. Not that I don’t enjoy the freedom of blogging, but the craftwork is not the same. When a piece is finalized in a newspaper or magazine it often looks ten times better than what my initial concept was. Maybe it’s not having the paycheck associated with my blog that leaves it somewhat unpolished, unlike my published work.

  5. #6 by Pauline B Jones on September 26, 2012 - 10:36 am

    I had not previously made the connection with reporting and blogging, but its a great one. I have loved your blogging class and am looking forward to the next round. I’ve learned so much. Have so many lightbulbs going off, I need to wear sunglasses. (grin)

    • #7 by Linda M Au on September 26, 2012 - 10:38 am

      I dunno about this. I think Hemingway’s writing is a little tighter than that of most bloggers. He’d probably be better suited to Twitter or texting. ;)

  6. #8 by Linda M Au on September 26, 2012 - 10:40 am

    Meant that to be a general reply, not specifically to Pauline. Apologies. (sigh)

  7. #9 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 26, 2012 - 10:42 am

    For those trying to decide whether to spend the money and take this class – let me say this was the best online course I’ve taken (and I’ve taken a few). Very practical, applicable, and easily understood. I was in the Blogging 1011 class, and there’s over 100 other bloggers who have formed a community that’s still thriving and supporting each other a year later. Money well spent!

  8. #10 by changeforbetterme on September 26, 2012 - 10:55 am

    This post has helped me a lot. I do write on one or the other of my two blogs (I have a food blog and also a blog just for my short stories, or writings) I have found that I am becoming better at writing because I do it everyday. I am more confident and I have noticed I edit more decisively. So for me at least blogging every day is the answer! Thanks for this post. I love your advice.

    As for the writer I would love to see blogging, Charlotte Bronte! It would be a gentle and sage blog with her insights on people!

  9. #11 by MarthaJRamirez on September 26, 2012 - 10:57 am

    Awesome post! I am currently reading Ernest’s A Farewell to Arms for research on my WIP. It was great to see you talking about him. I remember when I first learned how all his work was stolen. This is a great reminder. Thank you.

  10. #12 by francisguenette on September 26, 2012 - 10:57 am

    I totally agree that Hemingway would have blogged! Love your blog and your book – I’m going to look more closely at what you have to offer re: blogging lessons – thanks

  11. #13 by rmk on September 26, 2012 - 11:02 am

    I love the picture of Hemingway and I agree that one of the main reasons I have a blog is to practice and become a better writer. It forces me to write all the time, and I think I am a better writer because of it.

  12. #14 by MonaKarel on September 26, 2012 - 11:03 am

    I would equate blogging to keeping a journal. Wasn’t the original phrase Web Log? Not quite an on line diary, though some I’ve read would make me think otherwise, it’s a sharing of experiences and observations. Has it made my writing better? Writing makes my writing better, whether it’s a committee report for the dog clubs or framing high fantasy. Reading blogs by writers who aren’t taking themselves seriously enough to edit their work is a painful lesson in how we might all look to the outside world.
    As always, a wonderful timely piece. I’ll share this on today’s blog and let you give others that patented Kristen whap upside the head.

  13. #15 by Marcy Kennedy on September 26, 2012 - 11:10 am

    For anyone who’s on the fence, I can’t speak highly enough about this class. I was part of the WANA1011 blogging class, and it finally gave me the courage to launch my own blog. Not only that, but the people I met in the class have become my friends and we continue to support and encourage each other almost a year later. Of all the online classes I’ve taken, this one was by far the best.

  14. #16 by authorleannedyck on September 26, 2012 - 11:13 am

    I created my first blog in 2005. I jumped in not knowing what I was doing but hoping that this new committment to write regularly would improve my craft–and it worked. Thanks for making this strong case for blogging, Kristen. Tweeting this…

  15. #17 by Jane Bailey Bain ('LifeWorks') on September 26, 2012 - 11:14 am

    Addendum… if you like Hemmingway, have you read ‘The Paris Wife’ by Paula McLain? It’s a great novel, and very insightful into what it’s like to actually live with a great writer… (Hint: try being nicer to our families….)!

  16. #18 by Diana Beebe on September 26, 2012 - 11:17 am

    I was just talking to a good friend about this. She compared blogging to the weekly newspaper column that her mother wrote when she was young. She wrote about family trips, children’s antics, and whatever else she thought might be helpful or interesting to her readers.

    As a technical writer, I’m a minimalist, but that hasn’t always found it’s way into my creative writer. I see a huge difference since I started blogging. My writing is getting tighter. I know I have a lot to learn, so being part of Blogging classes 612 and 1012 is just what I need. The WANA1011 group inspires me on a daily basis!

  17. #19 by Julie Farrar on September 26, 2012 - 11:19 am

    I agree that Hemingway would have had an online presence. But since he became the master of terse syntax, maybe he would have eventually shifted over to one of the micro-blogging sites. I wonder what he would have pinned on Pinterest?

  18. #20 by Jon Rieley-Goddard (@baldyblogger) on September 26, 2012 - 11:21 am

    I enjoyed this post very much –. Hemingway as a blogger (or Tweeter, as some are saying above).

    I value blogs as a way of developing not only ideas and abilities but book-length mss. as well. I got 2.5 book mss. after 2.5 years of daily blogging. The time cost was an hour a day or less. After the first year, I had more than 700 pp. of ms. Had to cut it in half. Love that kind of problem.

    The Kansas City Star style guide also told Hemingway to “follow the sequence of verb tenses”. I find that to be a huge job in editing my stuff. I seem to choose past historical tense without thought when I tell my stories, but that puts a great deal of distance between my story and the *now* of the reader.

  19. #21 by joannahinsey on September 26, 2012 - 11:45 am

    Just starting blogging actually, and this is good reassurance. Thank you!!

  20. #22 by billgncs on September 26, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    he was a reporter — of course he would blog, in tight concise prose.

  21. #23 by Klara on September 26, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    I worked as a screenwriter, and when I turned my hand back to novels, I noticed my writing had changed. I write novels like a I write scripts- so much so that I worry that I might as well be writing a script. I barely describe scenery, or physical characteristics of characters. I can sulk for write a while if I feel a longer description is required for a plot point. I haven’t read much Hemmingway at all, but this gives me hope that my style has merits after all!
    Secondly, on blogging- I don’t blog because I don’t have anything to say, and the idea of writing for a reader than may never turn up makes my heart sink. Why shouldn’t I spend that writing time more productively? What subjects could writers blog about, for the sake of blogging? I’ve never enjoyed keeping a diary for the same reason- it seems pointless.

    • #24 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 1:03 pm

      But were you trained in how to blog? Writers have been using black letters on a white page to distill the essence of the universe for generations. Why is a blog any different? Writers get stuck on the idea of what to blog because they haven’t had any training. My classes with change your world and you won’t be able to keep up with all the ideas your brain is generating.

      • #25 by Laura Dennis on September 27, 2012 - 5:12 am

        Klara, I just finished reading Kristen Lamb’s “Are You There Blog? It’s Me Writer.” I. am. a. convert.

        Please, before you think about joining her classes (a lot of commitment, with more expense), I highly recommend you drop the few bucks it costs for her book. Once I finished, I understood WHY so many people are singing her praises. They’re not crazy. Sorry, WE’RE not crazy, I’m part of the cult, I mean tribe now.

        You’ll have to forgive me. I’m a little fired up.

        Laura

        • #26 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2012 - 7:27 am

          Thanks, Laura. Hey, I made all the mistakes so you guys don’t have to :D. I appreciate the praise and GO CULT OF WANA!

  22. #27 by Playamart - Zeebra Designs on September 26, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    You are such a great coach and cheerleader! Great post! Z

  23. #28 by Lance on September 26, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    I have writing friends and colleagues who complain about blogging. Either they say they are bored with it or it doesn;t help them.

    Bullshit

    As Hemingway would’ve said.

    Writing is writing. If you just post brainstorming ideas or bad poetry or pieces of flash fiction on your blog, you’re helping yourself and others.

    Not only would PaPa have blogged, but he’d have cursed those who didn’t.

    good post

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 1:02 pm

      AMEN!

  24. #30 by colonialist on September 26, 2012 - 12:44 pm

    David Morrell’s advice, unless taken out of context, is more suited to teenage tweeting. The choice of exactly the right combinations of adverbs and adjectives is what separates professionals from amateurs. The lack of them reveals lazy writers serving up substandard fare to lazy readers. Journalism and novel writing serve very different purposes, and the styles should differ accordingly.
    That is not to say that I am not in complete agreement that clutter needs to be taken out of all writing. If it serves no good purpose, dump it!

    • #31 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 1:01 pm

      I know they are different, but you’d be shocked how similar they are. Voice is the common thread. If you read Chuck Wendig’s blogs, then you know what to expect with his fiction. The voice is the same and it’s clear it is Chuck. Blogging hones and sharpens voice, and regular blogging will affect our novels. It will sharpen prose and help us cut loose of text that isn’t working.

  25. #32 by KM Huber on September 26, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    What an eclectic group of comments, although not surprising as this post touches many nerves.

    I see the parallels between journalism and blogging probably most in terms of editorial content. I know I often refer to my weekly blog post as “my column,” which clearly dates me as working in journalism in the early 70s– Nixon, Watergate from a statewide newspaper perspective. I left journalism for a liberal arts education and have never regretted it.

    I really enjoy reading a good blog. As I’ve told you many times, Kristen, yours is among the finest, thought-provoking and consistent. Readers trust you, knowing they don’t have to agree with you for you write with integrity. I find these qualities in all the blogs to which I subscribe.

    For anyone, your blogging class provides a blueprint for blogging that assures success because you tailor it to the individual blogger. It’s as if you help bloggers find their voice, which I suspect you may do.

    Karen

    • #33 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 2:59 pm

      Actually that is part of what I do. I run participants through a number of exercises that allow me to “thin-slice” a writer. I can often see you guys more clearly than you can see yourselves. I’m objective and so many times my observations cut right to the heart. I’ve found (and many WANAlums will tel you) that I saw them better than they saw themselves, and when we honed in on the nugget of truth, authenticity and excitement suddenly came gushing out.

      I always love your comments. So excited to have you in the WANA1012s!

  26. #34 by Jennette Marie Powell on September 26, 2012 - 1:08 pm

    I was in the WANA1011 class, and while I haven’t seen the level of success some have, it was definitely worthwhile. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m passionate about, that others actually might want to read, and to that end, am trying something new today: WANA Wednesday.

    I’d love to see John Steinbeck or Upton Sinclair blog – sure to be some fascinating social commentary!

    • #35 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 1:10 pm

      Well, Jennette, I have learned A LOT since teaching the 1011s. The lessons are barely even the same, so you might consider at least the Basic course for a refresher and new tools.

  27. #36 by Widdershins on September 26, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    I started blogging about a year before i landed my contract for my first book. (just checked my archives – my first post was 27th September 2010!) Note to self: must do an anniversary post tomorrow!

    Of all the extemely important benefits you make above, Kristen, the one that resonated the most was about gaining a thick skin. Waiting for feedback from our submission processes can take weeks, months. With each post we get instant feedback – that we respond to, in whatever way we see fit, just as swiftly – then the moment’s gone, and we move on.

  28. #37 by MaLinda Johnson on September 26, 2012 - 1:34 pm

    Your thoughts on tossing adjectives and adverbs to the wind are spot on. It is much better to show details rather than talk about them. I agree that blogging is a great way to learn to do that. :)

    I can totally see Hemingway tweeting images of a giant swordfish.

  29. #38 by Pauline on September 26, 2012 - 1:35 pm

    Absolutely agree with you on every point, Kristen. Well said all around. Blogging is a must do for both fiction and non-fiction writers. I also recommend it to students working on their thesis when I edit/coach. You cannot overstate the benefits of writing on a schedule and then getting regular feedback – both good and bad. I’ve been blogging for three and a half years now and it has been worth every minute personally and professionally.

  30. #39 by Kim on September 26, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    Love the connection between Hemingway, journalism, blogs, and tweets! I’m in the very beginning stages of a blog. It feels to me more like a weekly column than any other kind of journalism. It feels good to stretch the writing muscles regularly and in a different context than a novel.

  31. #40 by Miriam Joy on September 26, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    Thanks for this! Great blogging motivator ;)
    My problem is that I’ve kind of lost sight of who my readers are. Used to be just a couple of internet friends. Then it was loads of teen writers. Now there are people of all ages, interests etc, who read my blog, and I’m never sure what they’re going to want to read, so I just write stuff and hope it’ll appeal to somebody or other. Is this the right way to go about it?

  32. #41 by deborahbrasket on September 26, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    I’ve never been fond of Hemingway’s writing. I’m more a Faulkner, Morrison, Marquez fan. So I’d disagree about leaness being the key to good writing or good blogging. But I do agree that blogging helps you to discover and hone your voice and your style of writing, gives you a place and the space to explore ideas, and lets you discover what’s really important to communicate and what’s not worth your or your readers’ time.

    • #42 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 2:56 pm

      Leanness and minimalism aren’t the same thing. I agree that Hemingway was a bit too sparse for my tastes, too. Leanness only means we employ what is necessary and lose the fluff. We don’t all have to be minimalists, but we should strive to dump anything redundant or that bogs down the story/prose.

  33. #43 by Chris Plumb on September 26, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    The article is good. But I don’t think Hemingway would blog. He would chase away his entire audience. Have your read “A Moveable Feast” ? He rats out, diminishes, and tries to destroy the careers of everyone around him. He grew tired of people, topics, editors, nations, movements, wine and food and was only in it for himself. A good blogger realizes that they need everybody else to succeed…maybe in his early days before “Bell Tolls”, but his later life, he was just a cranky old man would probably complain about technology and rather go fishing. Plus I don’t think Hemingway would’ve appreciated the salary of blogging.

    • #44 by katiclops on October 5, 2012 - 12:02 pm

      Bah! I couldn’t agree more…Great post, I (hope) that my writing has improved after spending a few years writing briefing notes and editing policy…but I *still* haven’t gotten around to loving Hemingway…And I’m trying! Maybe if I could follow him on twitter…

  34. #45 by August McLaughlin on September 26, 2012 - 2:21 pm

    Blogging has definitely improved my writing, much to my surprise. Switching gears between writing styles and formats, storytelling and sticking to routine, frequent posting days/times can help all writers.

    I love picturing Hemingway at the bar with his iPhone or laptop. ;) He totally would’ve blogged!

  35. #46 by Caroline Clemmons on September 26, 2012 - 2:34 pm

    A journalism background was helpful when I started writing fiction and in writing my thrice-weekly blog. As jack London is reported to have said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

  36. #47 by Jeffry Martini on September 26, 2012 - 3:18 pm

    To actually read Hemingway Tweeting….go to @HemsTrueGen to see what he does and does not tweet. And even though he enjoyed Kristen’s blog piece here and re-tweeted it….He would Not Blog….there’s No Money in it….No Dough = No Go for Hemingway. He tweets to keep up on what’s New and for….Fun!

  37. #48 by Wo3lf on September 26, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    There is no way Hemingway would’ve blogged. Most of his writing advice filters through from interviews. He was selfish that way and not at all interested in sharing with the world his inner processes. He reserved that for the books he wrote. Still, I admire the man and his writing.

    • #49 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 4:06 pm

      Yeah but he also liked adoration and attention. He would have enjoyed the fan worship. My POV, LOL *shrugs*

    • #50 by markneu on September 27, 2012 - 3:20 am

      You’re assuming Hemingway blogging about writing. He could just as easily have started a blog about fishing or bull-fighting. That was one of the key things I got from the first WANA book – writers don’t have to blog about writing. That misconception stopped me from blogging for a long time. I felt I didn’t have much to offer for writing advice. Kristen’s book broke down that wall for me.
      I write fantasy based on Norse mythology so I’ve started blogging on the subject, sharing bits from my research. I’ll repeat it because I found it to be valuable advice – Writers don’t HAVE to blog about writing.

      • #51 by Wo3lf on September 27, 2012 - 6:22 am

        Kristen, this is in answer to you too.

        You may be right. I was thinking about the craft of writing only. Though I still doubt it for a variety of reasons, Hemingway might have blogged on fishing or hunting or his travels. I suppose we’ll never know, but it’s fun guessing. I started my blog this year, but focussed my time more on writing than blogging so there’s not much action going on there right now.

        It is a brilliant idea to share your research like that, Mark, and I love that your write about Norse mythology. That is something I would be interested in to read. At the end of the day, I think, it’s about who you’re blogging for that determines the content.

        It’s been a while since I read A Moveable Feast, but I think Hemingway refers to the suitcase with all his work that got lost or stolen. I should read it again. Anyway, thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

      • #52 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2012 - 7:26 am

        Mark, spoken like a true WANA. Hugs!

  38. #53 by My Book of Stories on September 26, 2012 - 4:02 pm

    Great post!

  39. #54 by Yvette Carol on September 26, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    Fascinating, Kristen. I didn’t know that story about the stolen suitcase of Hemingway’s manuscripts. Wow, I can only imagine what a blow that must have been to him at the time. And yet, to rally like that, and start again, my gosh, that’s legendary!

  40. #55 by Amelia Loken on September 26, 2012 - 5:58 pm

    Thank you Kristen! You inspired me to get another post up. This month has really whipped my heiny (in and out of the hospital with one of my kiddos) and there was little to show on my blog. But I got something out there and it actually made sense. It was a good exercise to distill the good things that happened in the midst of the difficulties my family faced this month. Thanks, again!

  41. #56 by Tamara LeBlanc on September 26, 2012 - 7:17 pm

    Like commentor #2 said, I, too, love the imagery you brought to mind when you mentioned Hemingway tweeting pics of a hard won swordfish catch or sprinting away from Spanish bulls! Awesome!!
    I’d love to read Mark Twain’s blog, or Benjamin Franklin.
    What fun to dream about what my literary and historical favorites would say to the world via social media.
    This is a keeper post, Kristen!! I loved it!
    Have a great evening and thank you so much for your wisdom,
    Tamara

  42. #57 by Tamara LeBlanc on September 26, 2012 - 7:19 pm

    Oh, and I never heard about that stolen Hemingway suitcase before. I wonder if any of those papers were ever recovered.
    Could you imagine what they’d be worth? :)

    • #58 by markneu on September 27, 2012 - 3:26 am

      It does sound like a great idea for a story. Someone finds an old, dusty trunk in their attic and it turns out to be Hemingway’s Suitcase. What would they do with it? Why was it stolen in the first place?

  43. #59 by bohemian spirit on September 26, 2012 - 7:39 pm

    love your blog it is very informative in a way that non-journalist majors can understand and the key for me–funny! What do you think about sharing the blogs on facebook? Because so many personal people on facebook and the blogosphere is so freeing because no one knows me. I have had wonderful positive feedback from both bloggers and facebook friends, but facebook is fraught with unforseen “frenemies?” I get a zillion times more views on facebook, but then I wonder–huh, why did so and so not comment this time? I see the views and no comments and I start to wonder why I do it? It is so fun for me though

  44. #60 by Thad McIlroy (@ThadMcIlroy) on September 26, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    Would Yousef Karsh mind you approriating his photo of Hemingway?

    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1986.1098.12

    • #61 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 26, 2012 - 7:53 pm

      This photo is from Wikimedia Commons and is freely licensed for use. It is listed in the common domain since if there ever was a copyright, it was not renewed, if you are concerned that I am misusing someone’s content.

  45. #62 by Chihuahua Zero on September 26, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    I keep promising myself I would read Hemingway one day. One day. One day.

    Actually, during a birthday party, I saw one of his novels on a shelf and I took a peek at it. Definitely a tight style that I want to delve more into.

  46. #63 by JHM on September 26, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    I actually doubt that Hemingway would be a blogger, not because of any stodginess on my part—there are certainly authors earlier than him and just as prominent who I think would have taken advantage of the format—but because I honestly think that he was, in some respects, too private a person to want to engage in a dialogue with his readers the way that current bloggers do. People think of Hemingway as this boisterous outdoorsman, but really he was a far more introspective, self-conscious person than they give him credit for, and the kind of man that he was, while certainly the journalistic type, was not necessarily the blogging type.

  47. #64 by Reetta Raitanen on September 27, 2012 - 5:19 am

    Great reminder of why blogging is good for us. All words on paper/screen make us better writers. I was on WANA1011 class too and without it I wouldn’t be blogging. The best part was getting to know all the great writers in my class and cecoming part of the WANA community. You can’t put a price tag to that.

  48. #65 by TheOthers1 on September 27, 2012 - 6:32 am

    I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years and I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my writing for the reasons you’ve listed. I started putting stories up on my blog and getting involved in writing prompts to get feedback and have noticed the changes in my writing. But even when I just write a regular post, my writing flows better, has clear purpose, and expresses my particular voice. (That’s how I perceive it at least). Still a bit weak on grammatical things, but I’m better at recognizing them from constant posting.

  49. #66 by TheOthers1 on September 27, 2012 - 6:34 am

    Reblogged this on Honesty and commented:
    Blogging does a body good!

  50. #67 by creativityorcrazy on September 27, 2012 - 6:58 am

    Blogging is one more way to practice writing and practice may not make perfect as the old expression goes, but I’ve enjoyed it.

  51. #68 by Maryann Miller on September 27, 2012 - 10:04 am

    When I first started blogging I equated it to column writing for newspapers, which I did for years before the Internet came along. It took me quite a while to learn the difference between what I used to do, which was a general interest column, and what makes a successful blog. I’m still learning, thanks to your terrific advice and the advice of other successful bloggers. Thanks for sharing.

  52. #69 by The Hook on September 27, 2012 - 11:41 am

    Can you imagine reading a blog written by Hemingway? Talk about a riveting read…

  53. #70 by Rachel Thompson on September 27, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    Unlike Hemingway I went into freelance journalism to write better fiction. And, it worked. All fiction writers should do time in journalism; if anything to beat writer’s block and learn a multitude of good habits. I also wrote regular columns and op-eds- great for developing voice. I don’t agree that blogging is an optimal training ground for good writing. However good blogging is to develop the writing addiction it is also wildly loose resulting in bad writing. Professional newspaper and magazine editors cracking the re-write whip or chopping up your hard won copy is a training boon that bloggers can’t access. I’ve seen too many blogs poorly written and thus unreadable. If you are going to blog it better be well written or it will work against you. Why I don’t blog: I want potential editors and publishes to see my polished copy and not the dribble I write while ranting. I rather not put my writing weaknesses on public display. The temptation to go rouge while blogging is high.

  54. #71 by JoAnne Potter on September 27, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    My blog is about 18 months old and yes, I have learned from it. It is much more like journalism than literature–short sentences, lots of white space, get to the point already–and readers seems to like that. I needed to learn to accommodate the people who just scan it, too. Nothing wasted, but still room for choosing the perfect word. Not a Jedi yet, but sneaking up on ninja.

  55. #72 by nancyelizabethlauzon on September 27, 2012 - 6:03 pm

    When I’m not in writing phase, my blogging becomes my only connection to words, so it’s even more important to me. I also try to write blogs in the style I write my books, so anyone reading them will know my ‘voice’ =)

  56. #73 by Julie Glover on September 28, 2012 - 7:18 am

    I definitely see a streamlining in my writing since I began blogging. Writing a blog has also made me more ruthless in slicing and dicing my writing to get to the meat. When I draft a post and see 1800 words, I start hacking like a slasher-movie villain. And I think that makes me a better writer, even for my novels.

    As to dead writers I’d love to see blog, I’ll take Mark Twain and Jane Austen. Wouldn’t they have so much to say about our society and make us smile and laugh along the way?!

  57. #74 by Karen Limbrick on September 28, 2012 - 8:24 am

    Kristen, I recently discovered your blog and LOVE it. I signe up to follow your thoughts and this one on blogging really hit home for me. I am an aspiring author trying to figure out how to get the blog machine going. Of everything I’ve read I pulled a lot out of yours. Thank you, not only for your style, but your thoughts and cohesive presentation. Thank you.

    • #75 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 28, 2012 - 8:49 am

      You’re welcome, Karen. So happy to see you here :D.

  58. #76 by g2pretail on September 30, 2012 - 1:47 am

    Reblogged this on G2P Cowboy leather goods and commented:
    sure he would

  59. #77 by mary aalgaard on September 30, 2012 - 11:50 am

    I agree with what you say about blogging honing my writing skills. I’ve been blogging for three years now and find it satisfying and a great way to connect with artists, writers and community.

  60. #78 by inkingdreams on September 30, 2012 - 1:22 pm

    I just recently started blogging it is a great way to connect through words to others. It has helped me grow and structure my thoughts better.

  61. #79 by RadioSilencer on September 30, 2012 - 10:18 pm

    I agree with Caitlin Kelly’s comments about the difference between journalism and blogging. And I also agree that keeping a blog is an excellent exercise. The idea mentioned by one commenter of having it read as a personal diary, however, makes me wince, only because I’ve come across so many blogs that say things like, “I had Cheerios for breakfast,’” or “I went to the park this weekend.” If it’s just for you, I guess that’s okay, but the blogs that actually get read say so much more.

  62. #80 by Leah on October 3, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    Oh, man. I’d love to read a blog written by Poe or Shakespeare. I think Poe would’ve blogged mostly, maybe beginning every post with “Woe is me…” lol. Shakespeare would definitely blog a lot with all those thoughts in his head. OH, Kate Chopin would be interesting. OR Leo Tolstoy; he’d be cool to read if he’d lived in a different era. I just started Anna Karenina and read some of the introduction on him. An interesting man, that one.

  63. #81 by coachdaddyblogger on October 15, 2012 - 8:44 pm

    Blogging not only improves my writing, it has made me a little bit taller, improved my complexion, given me bigger biceps, a whiter smile, and an absolute sexual dynamo. You’re writer, managing editor, line editor, and publisher. You find a new world of give-and-take the moment your first comment drops.

    How can it not just add to everything you do?

    Blogging also made me intelligent enough to cut down on processed foods, listen more to NPR, and subscribe to this blog.

  64. #82 by V.E.G. on November 16, 2012 - 4:02 pm

    Ernest Hemingway is related to “Uncle” Alan Burton Hall. Hall’s ancestor was a Hemingway.

  65. #83 by Jennifer Rose on December 27, 2013 - 10:44 pm

    Doing my research on starting a blog, and came across what must be the best line I’ve ever read from Kristen:

    –”Oh, but Kristen. There are already way too many blogs out there.

    Yep, and guess what? There are way too many books out there, too, and that hasn’t stopped you guys from writing one, has it?”

    Well, I guess no it hasn’t!! :)

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