Well, if Ernest says so…

Ernest Hemingway Quote

Why do we think good old Hemingway instructed us to write in such a way? I think it’s because we edit. We edit our own thoughts, we edit our own ideas, we edit our words to conform with what we think society, or our readership, or a publisher would want. Which, in my opinion, is the perfect way to write a piece that may be good, but has very little potential to have a genuine impact.

Write drunk because when drunk, you don’t censor yourself. Your inhibitions fall away (as most of us can prove with one or two humiliating anecdotes) and your words are usually in greater alignment with what you really mean.

Edit sober however, so that what you publish is actual English…

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10 thoughts on “Well, if Ernest says so…

  1. The only problem with using Ernest as a role model is the way he lived his life…and then took it. Yikes! Thankfully, Julia Cameron also told us it’s possible to write well when *not* drunk…

    Fun post. Thanks!

      • Of course.

        When I was in my 20s, I thought I wanted to devote my life to writing fiction. But Ernest’s life scared me off! I would love to product beautiful literature for the world, but…I love life, too…

  2. I love this post. While I’m not much of a drinker, I am guilty of writing when I am tired (or in more common cases, overtired), when the words are flowing, my fingers are flying, but if I re-read it so soon, in the same state and train of thought, nothing gets accomplished.

    After a good night’s sleep, I can re-read it with a fresh mind in the morning, and see more clearly and without passionate bias.

    Excellent post; thank you :)

    • I’m very similar; I rarely drink. But my version of Writer’s Drunk (I think it should be a new, official thing and therefore worthy of capitalization) is usually when I’m hyper emotional. Most of what I write when manically upset or euphoric is nonsense but when I wade through it, its essence is usually better than anything I’d written while stone, cold stable.
      Thanks for sharing and reading and commenting. :)

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