Hemingway supposedly once said, “Write drunk, revise sober.”
I say supposedly, because there is no real evidence that he said it, and certainly no evidence that he drank while writing. In fact, another famous quote attributed to him is:
“Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner…”
Hemingway drank. There’s no doubt about that, but I’m inclined to believe he did it after he’d finished writing for the day.
I mean, have you ever tried to write while drunk?
Let’s define drunk.
One glass of wine is not drunk. Two glasses? Not sober, but no, not really drunk either. Three glasses? Probably.
Let’s say you’ve shared a bottle of wine. (A standard glass of wine is 100ml. A standard bottle, 750ml.) You’re a little under the weather.
(We did this last night, which is what gave me the idea for this blog.)
“I’ll think I’ll finish that chapter I was writing earlier.”
You go in, open the document. Stare at it. Write a couple of words. Stare at it some more. Your head droops. Droops a bit more. Eyes cross.
“I can’t do this. I’m going to bed.”
Some people may be able to write drunk. Neither of us can, we’re in our respective beds, snoring loudly.
That’s pretty much common sense really. You need a clear head to revise properly.
Interestingly, though, when we do the read-aloud, the almost-last revision of the book, we’d sit down with a glass of wine (one glass, not three) and make it a fun social event. Especially back when Mum was alive and could read with us.