Writing tip of the week

by Harriet, the Arts Department’s Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow

Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is rubbish.” Actually, he said something ruder than “rubbish”, but you get the idea. And, incidentally, Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 What does this tell us?

1. If we’re feeling that a first draft we’ve written is a bit dodgy, we’re in good company. Really great company, in fact.

2. First drafts are not for handing in. Whether it’s a novel or an essay we’re writing, the first draft is just a preliminary sketch.

3. So, what was Hemingway’s secret for turning a rubbish first draft into a piece of great writing? Answer: redrafting and redrafting (and redrafting). 

4. If you want to improve your writing, make redrafting a big part of your writing life. It’s what most writers spend most of their time doing.  

No one gets it right first time. Not even Ernest Hemingway.

For a confidential one-to-one session with me to work on your writing skills, email Harriet.Castor@uwe.ac.uk.

I’m at Frenchay on Wednesdays and St Matthias on Thursdays. Open to all students of English Language and Linguistics AND English and English Language at UWE Bristol.

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