Should you be more ‘War and Peace’ or more Ernest Hemingway?

‘War and Peace was first published as a book in 1869.

It has around 1,225 pages.

It’s philosophical, emotional, realistic and very involving.

If you can read it that is. That’s a hell of a lot of pages.

Most people can’t and won’t find the time to read all that.

Particularly with modern day leisure distractions such as computer games and on demand streaming

On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway is known for writing one of the shortest stories of all time.

It goes:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn”.

It has impact doesn’t it? It makes you think and leaves you with many questions.

So, when it comes to your own writing, it’s a worthy reminder that you don’t need to write the next ‘War and Peace’ to connect with an audience and drive a point.

Not to say that longform content doesn’t always work…its just a case of understanding your reader.

What would work for those who read The Guardian wouldn’t work for those who read The Sun.

Following on from yesterday’s post…

“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it” – Ernest Hemingway.

Sure, I know you don’t have to go too far to find a Hemingway quote on the internet, and I know that ‘lazy-bloggers’ start things with quotes – but, this one really stuck with me.

It offers an alternative perspective to what I was telling you about yesterday.

Sometimes you’re born with an ability, or your youthful imagination takes you on such a journey every day that you just can’t help but create.

That’s what happened to me as a kid. The fields that surrounded my childhood home swirled with stories and the people I met inspired characters. Wherever I went after that – from London to Scotland and all the way through to Detroit, inspiration only seemed to follow.

Writers and artists, I wonder if we’re sometimes the children who never fully grew up?

Those who clung onto their dreams of making money and/or getting something out of talents that they were born with.

It’s easier to make it as an accountant, easier to make it as a salesperson and craftspeople are generally two-a-penny. But those of us who fight normality, those of us who fight the reality that we can’t follow the dreams of youth….we’re the ones who have a chance.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an idealist, I’m aware that a very small amounts of creatives make it. I’m a big fan of business in fact, and a lot of my reading time is spent around the topic.

But an eye for opportunity tells me that there’s plenty of space for creativity in business. So, the two can meet.

Once writing does become your adult vice, it’s damned hard to stop it. I wish I had a word processor connected into my brain – one that would spit my streams of consciousness out on an empty page, wherever I was. Because, if given half the chance, I could write from dawn till dusk.

Follow your dreams, kids. Don’t let the grey and dulcet tones of the world around slow you down. Just make sure you look for other things that inspire you, just in case.

In the words of Outkast; “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather”.