Try to Write One Good Sentence

I’m amazed by how much garbage I write.

When I look through old notebooks they are filled with nonsense, but then I come across one sentence that is great. The sentence might get to the essence of a deep truth, or maybe it just looks beautiful, as though the words were meant to fit together in that way. Then I continue reading sentences and see more garbage.

It takes a lot of practice to make one good sentence, but I think that’s the ultimate goal. All those garbage sentences are worth it when you finally get one that’s perfect. It’s like hitting the perfect drive in golf or winning a large bet — while the event is not the norm, it’s what keeps you coming back for more.

I thought I first learned about this idea reading something Ernest Hemingway said, but his advice was about how to beat writers block — by writing one true sentence. I still think this idea is his, but I couldn’t find where he said it, so I’ll take the credit.

Write one good sentence and it’ll keep you writing for a lifetime.


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