Write hard and clear about what hurts

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write hard and clear about what hurts

Quote by Ernest Hemingway: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

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Published 21.12.2018

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Writing About What Hurts

I recently came upon this quote by Ernest Hemingway, the master of pithy advice for writers, and I found it very thought-provoking. By digging deep into your own pain, you can not only write authentically, but also touch your readers emotionally. Because you can guarantee that whatever pain you are writing about, whether it be the death of a loved one, a relationship break-up or suffering a mental illness, there will be readers who have had the same experiences. Our natural reaction to pain is to fear it and avoid it wherever possible. Parrish recounts the time she was at a conference and heard Morrell give this advice. Consequently, the manuscript felt too artificial and detached. So the next day she started writing from scratch, forcing herself to face the pain.

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My process is broken and like a muscle out of practice it is withered and weak, like a voice after a time of silence it is shaky and hoarse. In the time since, the world has become increasingly dark for so many people, countless lives have been lost, the voices of fear and hatred are shouting louder than ever and I, like so many, feel at a loss to know what to say. Again, I am not going to flatter myself into thinking that anything I have to say would make the world a better place or serve to fix anything, but the light I hold, the voice I have, has been all but suffocated by the darkness and noise of the world at the moment; to the point that I can barely look on in desperate silence. Too scared to comment, too frustrated to try and explain, too exhausted to retweet, too out of practice to process it all. And why is that important? I read an article and listened to a podcast recently that both talked about the fact that women sharing their stories is a feminist act.

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