You Can Keep It Short – And It Still Matters

I can’t get this out of my mind.

Ever since I read about the challenge allegedly put forth by Ernest Hemingway in the early 1900s—“I bet I can write a short story using only 6 words”—I’ve been impressed with his response.

Here it is:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Hemingway won the $10 bet.

Image: You Can Keep It Short

It is a complete story.

We might each fill in the missing blanks with different details. But we all have either known of (or personally lived) this story.

A story, a life, a single act of kindness, need not be long to be memorable, powerful, or important. 

Each still matters.

What story are you living today?

Share in the comments.

14 thoughts on “You Can Keep It Short – And It Still Matters

  1. Lois Flowers

    Thanks, Lisa … I needed to read this today. I tend to want to include ALL the details and context, especially in my writing, and this often bogs me down and keeps me from finishing things. Hugs, friend.

  2. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, this makes me realize that it is not the length of the story but the content of the story which makes all the difference. I tend to get down on myself because I tend to write shorter, or tell a story quickly. Thank you for sharing this today. Every story, short or long, can matter!

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    This is so powerful. There was a real craze several years back to write your six-word bio or story. It’s a LOT harder than you think. I tried, and just looked through my files and can’t locate what I wrote. And it’s not just what Hemingway (supposedly) wrote, but all the images it conjures, and, obviously, imaginative story lines. Google painting of Van Goph’s peasant shoes, or just shoes. I saw these in a book I’m reading, and I had a gut-punch (much like w/ the H. “story”), imagining the life of that peasant who would have worn and possibly abandoned his shoes, or perhaps who had even died. Powerful to combine words and images. Brevity? I’m not so good at it, huh?! 🙂

  4. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, I love this post. I’m a practical person and long-winded blog posts lose me before I even start. Its not the blogger’s fault, I just want to get to the point 🙂 So for me, short and sweet and to the point is perfect. Not that my posts are always short either lol. Great encouragement
    God bless

  5. Jean Wise

    I agree with Lynn above – the tiniest things make a big impact. I don’t think we give small acts of kindness enough credit. Or less words – listening instead of talking. Another good post to ponder, Thanks Lisa!!

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