There are three guidelines Ernest Hemingway laid out many years ago that still make good sense. The first one pertains to getting the literary juices flowing when they seem to be all dammed up in your subconscious--when you want to start that next masterpiece and don’t know how to begin. Old Hem said something to the effect of, ‘When you can’t get going, simply sit down and write the one truest sentence you can.’ Now, when we want to write a novel or a story, we obviously have a reasonable idea what the subject matter is about. Mull it over a bit and then type or scrawl that one truest sentence. I have done this. And when those first few words are down, and I’ve ended that sentence with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark, it helped me every time.
The old master also firmly believed you should end your writing session at a place where you know what will happen next. The benefit of this advice is quite obvious—if you stop writing when you know what’s coming next, you won’t need a jumpstart for the following session, other than maybe a cup of coffee or tea.
EH’s third rule is invaluable as well. He staunchly believed that when you finish writing for the day you need to get your conscious mind out of the book—totally! He felt it’s necessary to let your subconscious mind replenish your creative well. Sometimes I have a problem with this. When I’m writing a book it’s very difficult for me to get outside its pages after a writing session ends. But if I try real hard, there are times that I can clear my mind of all literary musings. The funny thing is, when I manage to do that, some of the damnedest ideas come out of nowhere.
For the story of Tom's first novel’s twelve year journey to four Amazon best-seller lists, check out the April 2nd, 2011 post on http://tomwintonauthor.com/