150 Ernest Hemingway Quotes on the Beauty of Writing

These Ernest Hemingway quotes will give you a new perspective on life, writing, and war.

Ernest Hemingway was an American writer, journalist, and sportsman. He was a Nobel Prize winner and the author of several books and short stories.

If you’re passionate about writing, stories, and everything in between, this collection is ideal for you. Prepare to dive deep into this writer’s perceptions and worldview.

Begin reading here.

And don’t forget to check out these William Shakespeare quotes and Albert Camus quotes.

Best Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Five Quotes That Could Change Every...
Five Quotes That Could Change Everything

1. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

2. “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

3. “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

4. “But man is not made for defeat, a man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

5. “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”

6. “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

7. “Courage is grace under pressure.”

8. “Never confuse movement with action.”

9. “We are all broken—that’s how the light gets in.”

10. “I’m not brave anymore darling. I’m all broken. They’ve broken me.”

11. “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

12. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

13. “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.”

14. “In order to write about life first you must live it.”

15. “We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.”

Inspirational Ernest Hemingway Quotes

16. “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

17. “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”

18. “The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it.”

19. “Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: worry never fixes anything.”

20. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

21. “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

22. “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

23. “When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.”

24. “When people talk, listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen.”

25. “Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then, when luck comes you are ready.”

Also read: Writing Quotes

Heartfelt Ernest Hemingway Quotes That You Can Relate To

26. “The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”

27. “By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.”

28. “There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her.”

29. “There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.”

30. “I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”

31. “The thing is to become a master and in your old age to acquire the courage to do what children did when they knew nothing.”

32. “You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light.”

33. “If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.”

34. “I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye—that was the trouble—I wanted to kiss you good night, and there’s a lot of difference.”

35. “You are so brave and quiet, I forget you are suffering.”

36. “Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.”

37. “The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, and the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”

38. “The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”

39. “The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”

Sweet Ernest Hemingway Quotes on Love

40. “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

41. “I am always in love.”

42. “No one you love is ever truly lost.”

43. “Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you.”

44. “We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.”

45. “I loved you when I saw you today and I loved you always but I never saw you before.”

46. “You know I don’t love anyone but you. You shouldn’t mind because someone else loved me.”

47. “I’m not unfaithful, darling. I’ve plenty of faults but I’m very faithful. You’ll be sick of me, I’ll be so faithful.”

48. “I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?”

Profound Ernest Hemingway Quotes About Life

49. “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

50. “But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”

51. “Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.”

52. “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”

53. “All things truly wicked start from innocence.”

54. “The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over.”

55. “Oh, darling, you will be good to me, won’t you? Because we’re going to have a strange life.”

56. “They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”

57. “I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.”

58. “All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes on His Perceptions and Learnings as a Writer

59. “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

60. “Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can.”

61. “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

62. “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”

63. “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

64. “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

65. “A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it.”

66. “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterward it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can, get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

67. “After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.”

68. “Do you suffer when you write? I don’t at all. Suffer like a bastard when don’t write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterward. But never feel as good as while writing.”

69. “Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it—don’t cheat with it.”

70. “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes That Delve Into Writing

71. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

72. “If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”

73. “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

74. “I was learning something from the painting of Cézanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them.”

75. “The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils, and the pencil sharpener—a pocket knife was too wasteful—the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed.”

76. “When I had to write it, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime, I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.”

77. “This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood.”

78. “If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”

79. “I had learned already 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.”

80. “It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day.”

81. “All I must do now was stay sound and good in my head until morning when I would start to work again.”

82. “What did I know best that I had not written about and lost? What did I know about truly and care for the most? There was no choice at all.”

83. “Up in that room, I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.”

84. “When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing that you were writing before you could go on with it the next day.”

85. “This book began magnificently, went on very well for a long way with great stretches of great brilliance, and then went on endlessly in repetitions that a more conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the wastebasket.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes and Pieces of Advice for Other Writers

86. “My training was never to drink after dinner nor before I wrote nor while I was writing.”

87. “Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do.”

88. “F. Scott Fitzgerald had the shyness about it that all non-conceited writers have when they have done something very fine.”

89. “I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was the literary life that I was leading, and already I missed not working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life.”

90. “I said that I did not believe anyone could write any way except the very best he could write without destroying his talent.”

91. “You shouldn’t write if you can’t write.”

Insightful Ernest Hemingway Quotes on War

92. “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

93. “I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.”

94. “They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

95. “Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.”

96. “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes to Ponder On

97. “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

98. “Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too.”

99. “The shortest answer is doing the thing.”

100. “It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.”

101. “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

102. “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”

103. “Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”

104. “So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

105. “Time is the least thing we have of.”

106. “He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.”

107. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

108. “When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous.”

109. “It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.”

Witty Ernest Hemingway Quotes That’ll Make You Giggle

110. “The first draft of anything is shit.”

111. “If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy. But since I am not, I do not care.”

112. “Everyone behaves badly—given the chance.”

113. “All thinking men are atheists.”

114. “Listen, don’t be so tough so early in the morning. I’m sure you’ve cut plenty of people’s throats. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.”

115. “You know it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch.”

116. “This was a big storm and he might as well enjoy it. It was ruining everything, but you might as well enjoy it.”

Interesting Ernest Hemingway Quotes Filled With Lessons

117. “I drink to make other people more interesting.”

118. “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

119. “No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.”

120. “Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true storyteller who would keep that from you.”

121. “‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

122. “Cowardice is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend functioning of the imagination.”

123. “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”

124. “You’ve such a lovely temperature.”

125. “Wine is a grand thing. It makes you forget all the bad.”

126. “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.”

127. “‘This is a good place,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of liquor,’ I agreed.”

128. “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

129. “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”

130. “As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”

Ernest Hemingway Quotes to Keep You Entertained

131. “There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”

132. “It’s silly not to hope. It’s a sin, he thought.”

133. “Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts.”

134. “To be a successful father—there’s one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don’t look at it for the first two years.”

135. “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.”

136. “Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo clock style of architecture.”

137. “I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution.”

138. “All our words from loose using have lost their edge.”

139. “If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows.”

140. “His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings.”

141. “For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes, I have good luck and write better than I can.”

More Ernest Hemingway Quotes

142. “I love to go to the zoo. But not on Sunday. I don’t like to see the people making fun of the animals when it should be the other way around.”

143. “I rewrote the ending to ‘Farewell to Arms,’ the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.”

144. “Why should anybody be interested in some old man who was a failure?”

145. “From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.”

146. “When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.”

147. “Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age.”

148. “When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”

149. “I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down.”

150. “And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.”

Have You Ever Considered Pursuing Writing as a Career?

Ernest Hemingway was one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. He began writing in high school. After graduating, he chose not to attend college and moved to Kansas City to work as a reporter.

Aside from being a reporter, Hemingway worked as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross during World War I. He was injured in Italy in 1918, and he was hospitalized and awarded for his bravery.

After recovering, he returned to writing and had his first real success with The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926. He published Farewell to Arms three years later, a war novel in which he successfully combined a love story and a war story.

To this day, the lessons he learned during his life teach us to start small, appreciate the little things in life, and listen to others. We hope you fell in love with his firm and wise words.

Have you ever read any of his books? Which of his quotes are your favorites? Join the discussion below.