The most valuable piece of writing advice I’ve ever read (and I don’t remember where I read it) was simple: Give yourself the freedom to write a shitty rough draft.
That thought will often get me over the hump at the beginning of writing, when the blank screen feels like an intimidating ocean.
A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to the site Letters of Note.
The site had posted a letter from Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald, written in response to Fitzgerald’s request for feedback on Tender Is The Night.
The letter is wonderfully entertaining and full of good advice, especially for long-form writers. For anybody, starting almost any project, it contains this wonderful nugget:
“Write,” says Hemingway. “And don’t worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
Check out the rest of the letter here.