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I stumbled upon this Ernest Hemingway quote the other day, and it really got me thinking about the time period when writers *gasp!* didn’t have snazzy MacBook Airs (and other less stylish computers) to compose their stories on. As many times as I write out a sentence, make a face, delete it, and write it over, I can’t imagine how different my writing process would be if I had to do it on a typewriter. I would think it would take quite a bit longer to write even a single sentence, because you can’t exactly delete it if you’re not satisfied. So, every sentence, every paragraph, and every page would need to be thought out before your fingers even tap the keys. Sure, you could go back and correct a single letter typo pretty easily, but a whole sentence, let alone a word? What a pain.

When I was little, when we’d visit my grandparents’ house, at some point I’d always find my way into their office so that I could type something on their typewriter. It wasn’t always plugged in when I played on it, or sometimes it would be plugged in, but I wouldn’t actually slip a piece of paper into it. But there were times I typed on it for real. And I remember typing so slowly, trying so hard not to even misspell something.

Of course, I think the quote goes beyond whether or not you’re using a typewriter or a computer to write. Hemingway was answering the question, isn’t it easy to be a writer? I’ve heard this myself before, especially when it comes to writing children’s books. And I think his quote sums it up perfectly.

As I’m writing a first draft right now, I admit I’m guilty of editing in my head (and sometimes on the Word document) as I go along. I can’t help it; I’m addicted to revising. But it’s more than that.

I’m addicted to molding what I write into the absolute best version it can be. I’ve had to chill out a little, of course, so that I can get several chapters written and actually have something to revise. But if I can take away anything from this Hemingway quote, it’s this: write the story. Get it all out of you. Give it everything you have inside of you.

Not everyone can do this for a living. If they could, every single person would be a writer. Only those that are prepared to lose it* for their characters will succeed. And I strive to lose it*. I strive to “bleed.” To any fellow writers reading this, ask yourself: do you?

“it” more likely being a bit of your mind, not your blood, unless you’re partial to paper cuts.

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