What does it take to attract the attention of millions, as Hemingway did and still does? I don't have all the answers but I do believe I know what may be most important to start with.
I took this photo above in Ernest Hemingway's writing room when we were in Key West this past March. My favorite part of the trip was touring his house.
I could have stayed for hours longer. I tried to take in each nook and cranny of every room with my eyes during the brief time we were there. When we go back to Key West, I will go again. And probably every time I may happen to be in Key West, I will go.
Courage stirs in me when I am there.
I imagined what it would be like to live in the house.
What it would be like to write there in the upstairs study he had overlooking the pool.
I imagined him sitting there writing The Old Man and the Sea, which is on my Kindle right now.
I imagined writing something life changing that would go around the world, not just to hundreds or thousands but to millions.
To know how one might write something to stir that many people's souls, perhaps it would help to listen to one of Hemingway's pearls of wisdom to writers:
"You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."
I believe that's really the crux of it.
Write the truest sentence that you know.
Here's something I've come to realize. Writing the "truest sentence that you know" is not always writing the most beautiful sentence you know.
Sometimes it's going to plain torque people off.
And even when it does, you have to keep writing the truest sentence that you know.
Because many other people are still reading after the torqued off person leaves, saying, "can I just thank you for having the courage to say that?"