Article |Hemingway on Worry and Writing


As is my wont, each morning I read something to encourage my writing.  Oftentimes, it is a simple quote that does the trick to get me centered and feeling able to battle my twin demons of writing: procrastination and writer’s block.  This morning was no different, except the type of quote I read.

It was not an inspirational, “Go get ’em, Tiger” kind of quote, but a reality check about living as a writer, especially one without means. Here is the quote:

Financial security then is a great help as it keeps you from worrying. Worry destroys the ability to write. Ill health is bad in the ratio that it produces worry which attacks your subconscious and destroys your reserves. (Ernest Hemingway, 1958)

The quote comes from an interview with Ernest Hemingway, published by The Paris Review in 1958, which can be read, in its entirety, by clicking the link below.

Hemingway hit the nail on the head when stated that worrying interferes with our ability to write, specifically worry caused by financial or health concerns.  In fact, this quote reminded me of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, which states that in order for human beings to self-actualize, several needs must be met:

Image found on Click to read the article “Our Hierarchy of Need”

In the Hemingway quote, he targeted the two aspects from the second level of need that writers, being humans, must face: having financial security and maintaining good health.

Regardless of where you are on your writer’s journey, if you are currently having a challenging time writing, take a moment to consider if you are meeting your real life needs.  Real life worries are nothing to scoff at, and may be at the root of a block you have encountered.


The Paris Review is a literary magazine featuring original writing, art, and in-depth interviews with famous writers.

Source: Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 21, Ernest Hemingway


3 thoughts on “Article |Hemingway on Worry and Writing

  1. Pingback: Article |Hemingway on Worry and Writing | Toward the within...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s