Questionable Practices: Writing Drunk, Editing Sober

Any writer who has talked to another writer – like ever – has heard the expression write drunk, edit sober. I wonder how many have actually attempted that questionable practice. 

I know, I know: the expression means write like a mad person without stopping. Then go back at another time to methodically go through and clean up your drunken mess. But anyone who has ever attempted to actually write while drunk also likely texted their ex the same night. 

The next morning those same great ideas (texting your ex, calling your grandmother, and that American novel) suck in the light of day. I argue THAT’S when you should start drinking. Not heavily, mind you. Results may vary if you throw down shots while deleting huge swaths of that fabulous tome. 

Anyone who has ever experienced Flow knows the rush that gets your fingers flying across the keyboard. Things practically write themselves. Stopping is not an option. You ride that fucker like a tidal wave as far as it will take you. No amount of alcohol or other substance can replace that high. It can only take away the edge and intensity… or make it so sharp you stab yourself in the process. No one wants to get stabbed by their words. 

But then it’s time to face the music and make sense of the jumbled words your Muse whispered in your ear. Perhaps a little something to take the edge off would help. That next read-through and possibly the next 17 can deflate a writer into never-ending self-loathing. I wonder how many potentially amazing stories never saw the light of day. All because their creator read them in the light of day with a massive hangover. Screw that. Read them with a screwdriver in hand, I say!

I’m more interested in letting the good times ride and the bad times slide. If nothing else this global pandemic has taught me that life is too short to worry. I’m learning not to care about others’ opinions of me. It’s harder not to care about my own opinions about myself. Anyone have any suggestions for that one? 

In the meantime, I’m going to write as sober as I can. And when it comes time to edit, well, assume I’ll have a tasty beverage nearby to dull that pain. 

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