Regarding the Writer’s Life
By-Line: E. Hemingway, p. 185
“You must be prepared to work always without applause. When you are excited about something is when your first draft is done. But no one can see it until you have gone over it again and again until you have communicated the emotion, the sights and the sounds to the reader, and by the time you have completed this the words, sometimes, will not make sense to you as you read them, so many times you re-read them. By the time the book comes out you will have started something and it is all behind you and you do not want to hear about it. But you do, you read it in covers and you see all the places that now you can do nothing about. All the critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure and general dying of natural juices. Not a one will wish you luck or hope that you will keep on writing unless you have political affiliations in which case these will rally around and speak of you to Homer, Balzac, Zola and Link Steffens. You are just as well off without these reviews. Finally, in some other place, some other time, when you can’t work an feel like hell you will pick up the book and look in it and start to read and go on and in a little while say to your wife, “Why this stuff is bloody marvelous.”
And she will say, “Darling, I always told you it was.” Or maybe she doesn’t hear you and says, ‘What did you say?” and you do not repreat the remark.
But if the book is good, is about something that you know, and is truly written and reading it over you see that this is so you can let the boys yip and the noise will have that pleasant sound coyotes make on a very cold night when they are out in the snow and you are in your own cabin that you have built or paid for with your work.”