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Similarly, “edit sober” means to copyedit with a critical eye. Would you speak more poetically? There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. Lots of people, struggling writers included, want to believe that alcohol and drugs will help them write better because it’s easier than the truth. After lunch, he would write letters, edit some past work, and then hit the sauce around 3:00. It means that you need to nudge your no-fun inner editor and put him or her to work. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL. Write drunk, edit sober. While the metaphor instructs us to write under the influence of creativity, it also suggests editing while in a logical state of mind, grounded in reason and reality. It doesn’t mean to eliminate and undo all the great work you did while “drunk;” it means clean up your work, remove errors, and fix typos. Digging deeper into the quote, I believe there’s a potent kernel of truth hidden behind the myth. The only way anyone improves at anything is a lot of hard work and practice. Instead, writing drunk means to imagine the kinds of things you would say if you’d knocked back a few to depress your inhibitions. Don’t undo the good work you’ve put down. You don’t have to be a tortured soul prone to fits of rampant alcoholism and multiple marriages to be a successful novelist. Quote Investigator: Researchers have been unable to find this saying in the output of Ernest Hemingway who died in 1961, and it is unlikely that he ever said it or wrote it. Hi, Jane, thanks for asking me about this. Regardless of who said it, I still hold with the advice, but with a couple of caveats. Peter De VriesIt may have been said by noted American novelist Peter De Vries, the author of The Blood Of The Lamb and Reuben, Reuben — which, as it turns out, is not about a fat guy at a deli. “So many writers glorify my grandfather’s way of living as much as they glorify his work. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. ( Log Out /  This is where the “edit sober” of “write drunk, edit sober” comes in — and it’s not to be skipped. Kinda like how writers say you should just write and not worry about things until the first draft’s done. (The phrase is often restated as ‘write drunk, edit sober.’) Instead, drink in moderation, and write to excess. As he told George Plimpton in the Paris Review: When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. De Vries isn’t a household name, but Hemingway is, and maybe this grants the saying a bit more weight in the eyes of the general population. She doesn’t have permission to tone down your work, just make sure everything is spelled right. Alcohol is a depressant. ( Log Out /  Download a free copy of my ebook, receive a short daily email, and learn how to sell without going against your values . Let your imagination run riot and don’t worry about what people will think of you when they read your words." © Copyright 2020 Professional Blog Service, LLC. You could take write drunk, edit sober literally or you could take it as meaning write without inhibition and edit with it. Write drunk, edit sober. ( Log Out /  I don’t actually believe the phrase “write drunk” encourages substance abuse any more than “eat fresh” will make me a vegetarian. What are your thoughts? A lot of this ties into the myth that writers get their creativity from substance abuse. When I mention this in my talks, I always point out that “write drunk” only refers to a state of mind, not an actual altered conscious. What ideas would you express? According to Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, it is not a quote from her grandfather.“That’s not how he wrote,” the 51-year-old Manhattan actress says of The Old Man and the Sea author. Brendan Brown from The Expert Editor writes that ‘the quotation was probably derived from a 1964 Peter De Vries novel, Reuben, Reuben where his main character said: “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline. This is something I’ve said in my talks on writing, and it’s one of my most popular tweets of the day. De Vries wrote a whole whack of novels over his fifty-year career and published two shorts in the New Yorker, but he’s not Hemingway. She doesn’t have permission to tone down your work, just make sure everything is spelled right. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Write Drunk, Edit Sober – Finding Meaning Behind the Myth. Do you write drunk? Creating an original work can be scary, which means that lowering inhibitions in able to do so it a pretty smart idea, especially if you’re facing some serious creative blockage. “Write drunk; edit sober.” A quote often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. Writing coach Jeff Goins recently wrote that he had some issues with the phrase, which I disagree with. So like I really like the concept of Hemingway's quote and I'm not really much of a writer but I kind of want to get a tattoo saying that. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). You have to sit down and do the work. In fact, he never started drinking until the afternoon. Blogging in house can be expensive and time consuming. Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. What words would you use? I’ve seen addiction ruin more than one person’s life. Just make sure it’s error-free, and send it out into the world. Professional Blog Service can cut costs by up to 80%. Write with your blood hot. What Hemingway meant, and is the way most of us novelists try to write, is to pour yourself—your feelings, actions, and emotions—onto the page without self-censorship. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. We all have (or know someone who has) made bad life choices while drunk. According to the site, there has never been a record of Hemingway saying either of these and the first appearance of the quote they could find was in a novel called Reuben, Reuben by an author and humorist called Peter De Vries. Change ).

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