It’s been said that the Ernest Hemingway only wrote about the 450 words a day. I’m far too lazy to research whether he actually did do that or not (excellent journalism being done here), so I’m just going to take that at face value.
450 words a day isn’t all that much, isn’t it? My daily blog posts are about 400 words on average (shout-out to the built-in word counter in Microsoft Word), and they take about half an hour to write. Obviously I’m not penning a great American novel, only merely writing down what I’m currently musing on, so the amount of imagination and creativity required is significantly less than Mr. Hemingway.
Nevertheless, it’s still only about a page a day, and for the rest of the time Ernest gets to chill and hangout at his leisure. It’s no wonder he chose a tropical paradise like Cuba to live in. It’s hashtag goals, as the kids say these days: write for a few hours at most, then the rest of time drink coffee and smoke cigars to the heart’s content. What a super low-stress way to make a living; I bet he would’ve lived quite a bit longer, had Hemingway not committed suicide.
My ideal locale wouldn’t be a third-world country near the equator, but rather a cottage nestled in the hills and forests, somewhere in our northwest region. As I grow older I’ve really come to appreciate ultimate peace and silence. To attain that, being away from the cities is a must. As long as that cottage has a solid Internet connection, I can make a living doing creative freelance, or like Hemingway, write 450 words a day to someday form a novel.
The lesson here is that life is about consistency and solid habits over a long period. It’s rare and difficult to be a sudden viral sensation or hit something big overnight: good things take time to create, and it’s contingent on the creator to keep at it and coming back to it day after day, month after month. For sure on some days the progress will be excruciatingly slow, but even tiny bits of forward momentum, if done consistently, can compound into something great.
The other lesson is that this thing of ours is indeed marathon, not a sprint; don’t overwork yourself: be sure to take some time to enjoy being alive.