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Write Drunk, Edit Sober

When I was 16 I laughed at that saying. I thought it was a joke, but it turns out, a lot of writers work that way. Apparently. Steven King, Hemingway, etc. It’s like, their brain works better and more efficient when they’re under the influence of alcohol. Five years later, I’m not sure how I feel about that saying.

I turned 21 about a month and a half ago, but I don’t drink much. It’s never really been my thing. I definitely don’t drink alone, and I’ve never tried to write when I’m under the influence. I prefer to write sober. Last night, however, I did drink. A few friends and I were having a good time, celebrating summer and everything that has to do with summer, and I got drunk for the first time in my life.

I can tell you now, I don’t get it. A lot of people have told me they let loose and relax when they’re drunk, but I just get super paranoid and I overthink everything. I was able to carry on a full blown conversation with someone on twitter and could think clearly about what I was saying. I’m sure everyone says that, but it was weird. I know everyone reacts to alcohol differently, so maybe I’m just not the kind of girl who can write drunk. I mean, I could, but even reading over someone else’s book, my mind was whirring so fast and giving me so much information at once that I couldn’t write a single beta note (probably for the best) and I definitely couldn’t edit. When I tried to write a little bit while my friends started to sleep (wanted to make sure they were okay), I rewrote the same sentence seven times.

Now, I don’t know about you, but in a first draft, I don’t write the same sentence seven times. I write the sentence once and move on. I’m a fast writer. But I couldn’t move on from that one sentence. Even when I told myself I’ll fix it later, I kept obsessing over every word. I wanted it to be perfect and it drove me to almost throwing my laptop across the room.

Write drunk, edit sober, they say. Alcohol is a writer’s best friend, they say. It’ll let you write free of worry.

It doesn’t for me. For the longest time I was paranoid that I was going to end up a drunk because I’m a writer. I mean, I was younger, and I didn’t understand that everyone works differently, but it still plagued me. It almost ruined drinking for me in general.

Maybe being drunk does help some writers, but it definitely didn’t help me.

What about you? What does alcohol do to you when you write? Does it let you relax? Or force you to worry about every tiny detail until you want to break something?

~Lin


Update on me! It’s been a long few months, but I’m back to writing! Looking for CPs, beta readers, and getting ready to work on all my stories. I’m currently betaing a friend’s story, but after that I’m open to write! Well, until I leave for China in a month and a half!

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