Hemingway Can Help Bloggers.
The 5-year anniversary of the DeathbedFood blog is the perfect time to reflect on what it’s all about. Much of it’s about my love for writing. Though I often think my writing stinks, I relish reading tips from masters like Hemingway. Every blogger can learn from Hemingway’s writing tips in the new book Ernest Hemingway on Writing.
Tip No. 1: Write for You
I believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try to make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful. Then you write for who you love whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead.
I only write for myself and those I love. I hope others enjoy my stuff but with a website Alexa ranking of 16,000,000 that’s unlikely.
Tip No. 2: Forget The Money
I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven’t gotten any. That’s the only one I’ve got left.
I have never gotten paid for any post – outside of a handful of free meals. Like Hemingway, writing is an obsessive vice. I’ve quit for months at a time because it was the only way I could stop myself from blogging all day, every day. Sadly, unlike Hemingway, it’s not the only vice I’ve got.
Tip No. 3: Write About the Good, Bad and the Ugly
So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can’t do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can’t believe in it.
Many bloggers write about the good but not the bad. I write about the ugly but usually couched with humor, as in the “Dear Jon(athan)” post about our break up over his lame take on Le Comptoir restaurant or the “Sara Lee Demotes Digital Twin to Digital Spam” post, a based-on-a-true-story about my being turned down for a food blogging job.
Tip No. 4: Feel Good about the 300-word Post
I loved to write very much and was never happier than doing it…And days of 1200 or 2700 were something that made you happier than you could believe. Since I found that 400 to 600 well done was a pace I could hold much better was always happy with that number. But if I only had 320 I felt good.
Bloggers rejoice! 320 words. The typical blog post. Congratulations for hitting this one out of the park. 3-pointer. Hat trick. OK, I’ll stop with the sports cliches as I know Hemingway is cringing up wherever he is right now.
Tip No. 5: Don’t Read
Ordinarily I never read anything before I write in the morning to try and bite on the old nail with no help, no influence and no one giving you a wonderful example
100% agree. I rarely read other food blogs. When I started 5 years ago, I barely knew what a blog was. I plunged in, writing whatever and however I pleased. After a few months, I started reading other food bloggers’ posts. I still barely follow other bloggers because I think it’s important to find my own voice. I don’t want to be Buzzfeed or Eater. I want to be DeathbedFood, a storyteller who sees the world through food.
Tip No. 6: Do It For Yourself
I think we should never be too pessimistic about what we know we have done well because we should have some reward and the only reward is that which is within ourselves… Publicity, admiration, adulation, or simply being fashionable are all worthless…
Hemingway says it all here. If we bloggers find reward for our efforts inside ourselves, then we’ve done all we need to do.