Drinking Adventurously – Writer’s Edition

Week 47 in the Year of Drinking Adventurously. Sweet potato beer. (FAIL)

I didn’t find this locally –although truth be told, I didn’t look too hard. I saw sweet potato beer and thought: pumpkin beer, which falls under the category of ‘enough with the pumpkin already’ in my world. The chapter of our guide started with ‘Japan’ and meandered to ‘gluten free’ and my eyes crossed and I gave up. (No offense Jeff, this is still an awesome book. Buy it y’all.)51fffcpqPZL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

And besides, I’ve been stressed enough this month trying to pen a novel in 30 days. So instead, because I’m consumed with writing, I thought we’d explore that age old bit of wisdom wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway: Write drunk, edit sober. (That’s right, Fictional Kevin, Ernie never said that.) I’ve also tried this approach: write sober, get drunk, edit with a hangover. Or write with a hangover, edit whilst drunk again. Of course, I’m kidding… Sort of. It actually works brilliantly with poetry. My poetry anyway.

Apparently (according to Google -that infallible source of all things everything) the quote is more likely from novelist, Peter De Vries. In his book, “Reuben, Reuben” published in 1964, the main character is based on a famous drunkard -the poet, Dylan Thomas. On page 242 the character says this: “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.”

Well, whoever said it, its the second bit that’s brilliant -the part about having both elements of creation in your writing – emotion and discipline…  The trick is finding the balance. Lowering the inhibitions or finding that altered state, may prompt you to put down on paper (or screen) words that you may have have thought twice about in a more restrained condition. Some of my most inspired writing comes to me at 3:00 am when my eyes slam open with an idea fully formed during the fog of sleep. I have to creep from bed, find my notebook and scribble it all down before it’s lost to the next round of sleep, or daylight whichever comes first. 

There is a fine line between intoxication and inspiration. What I mean is, a little liquid prime to the creative pump is a good idea, but flooding the engine just stalls it out. So don’t write drunk and  edit sober. Write inspired and edit minimally.

Sorry for the fail Lula

 

 

41 thoughts on “Drinking Adventurously – Writer’s Edition

  1. Hi Meg, good call, taking a pass on the sweet potato beer. That’s a little disappointing, the quote suits Hemingway so well. Finding the balance can definitely be a struggle at times. 😉 Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday! ~ Mia

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  2. You must keep pen and notebook by the bed. At least post-its. (Though one night I woke and started scribbling an idea and it kind of went on… I think I used half the post-it pad. So, a notebook is the way to go…) If I had to get up to find a pen and paper, I’d probably lose my thought by the time I could write anything. Also… clearly I need to take up drinking. 🙂

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    1. Once, I wrote on a paper towel because I was in such a hurry to get it down before I forgot. Sometimes if I jot down key words or phrases that’s enough to jog my memory in the morning. I have started keeping the notebook by my bed!

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  3. Finding the balance is like the sweet spot.
    I find I wrote my best when I’m tired! Sounds silly maybe, but my emotions are lost raw when I’m tired, and I get in the zone so much more quickly. Sometimes I stay there for many tired days at s time, lol. This isn’t always true, cuz sometimes I also want to cry or bite people’s heads off, but definitely true a lot. Or maybe it’s just that I’m tired a lot. Lol

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    1. Yes to the raw emotions! I agree with that, however they bubble to the surface. My darker moods definitely produce better writing. And the half waking state for me seems to bring on the inspiration, too. And maybe one drink! But not too many!

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  4. Wise advice, Meg! I once made up my mind to write while drinking two NYE’s ago. I still have that half story in my files. It’s going nowhere. Lol. I used to write better when tired but not anymore. Perhaps I got too tired…

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    1. Thanks! Yes, there’s definitely a point past which the inspiration gets garbled by the inebriation! I think Kay said it earlier -there is a sweet spot- where you’re relaxed and inhibitions lower slightly that is perfect for channeling creativity, but past that point? Forget it!

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      1. But character study is at least interesting and delving into someone’s mind is worthwhile. I’m afraid mine just has no premise- it’s just a way to get to some sex. And in 7K words there’s not even any sex yet!! Lol.

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      2. Oh, to draw? I actually drew on Sunday night, next to my son who was painting. So I obviously couldn’t draw what I wanted (*cough*naked man*cough*). I asked him what I should draw and he said a leaf. So I did and it sucks because a fall leaf should be drawn in color. Ha. Oh well, felt good to be drawing.

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  5. I’m late today, but as you’ve already found, I failed as well. I was just telling someone my best solutions to problems and new ideas happens at either 2am or in the shower when I’m still half asleep. Not quite quite an altered state, but close.

    I also am constantly making notes on my phone. Many times Ive written something while drunk that is brilliant, pure gold, only to look at it the next day or a week later and wonder what the hell does that mean?!

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