How To Write Drunk And Edit Sober

This post, by Mark Dykeman, originally appeared on Thoughtwrestling on 5/12/10.

Writers are supposed to write drunk, then edit sober, according to the late Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway knew a lot about writing and drinking, so he must be right.

But what does the phrase mean? Should it be taken literally?

Let’s talk about Hemingway’s quote. I’m going to suggest some healthier alternatives to cirrhosis and death for the sake of trying to write. After all, if our readers take his advice literally, we’ll run out of readers.

Write drunk

If you want to follow Hemingway’s advice literally, I’m assuming that you know how to procure and imbibe alcoholic beverages. That clearly sets the stage for writing drunk.

There’s two main reasons why you shouldn’t follow Hemingway’s advice:

  1. It’s bad for your health because many people fail at exercising moderation and too much alcohol damages your health.
  2. It costs money that you could be using to support [Thoughtwrestling] by purchasing future products and services.

Instead of literally writing drunk let’s reflect. What is it about alcohol that is good for the creator?

  • Blurred vision?
  • Slurred speech?
  • Loss of balance?
  • Passing out?

Or, is it…

The removal of inhibitions?


Read the rest of the post on Thoughtwrestling.

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