Writing while drunk doesn’t work for me. At all. There is a big misconception that authors can slam down some bourbon and then bang out Crime and Punishment. Maybe there are some of those out there, but I’m definitely not one of them.
As best I can tell, the romanticism around writing while being shithouse drunk came from the quote write drunk, edit sober. I’ve always heard that Ernest Hemmingway said that.
Yeah… he didn’t.
In fact, I’ve seen an interview with his granddaughter where she said he only wrote in the morning. My best work is also done in the morning. The later in the day it gets, the worse my writing tends to be. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it is.
I used to try writing at night, but everything came out super dark. My structure was shit too. I’m done working on a book by 5 PM at the latest. Everything after that is shit for me.
Hunter S. Thompson also had an incredible reputation when it came to drinking and writing. If you look up his daily routine, you’ll see a lot of booze and cocaine, with work following late at night. How much productive writing he managed in that state is the real question. And you have to consider how far his career had devolved toward the end of his life. Even if it boosted him in the short term, it fucked him over the long haul.
Just like writing at night doesn’t work for me, the same holds true for drinking. If I have a beer, maybe two, I can still write effectively. Anything more than that and I have to throw everything out the next day. I’ve tried this several times. It always sucks.
Believe me, I wish I could kick back a few tall boys and then author Asher Benson 4.
While writing Aces High with Elle Casey, we alternated working on each chapter. She wrote the first, I did the second, and so on and so forth. Because she lived in France, our schedules didn’t overlap. When I woke up each morning, I had her chapter waiting for me.
That worked perfectly for me. I had all day to chip away at my chapter before shipping it over to her.
Except for the one time I watched football at a bar all day. The Tall One had to drive my sorry ass home. For whatever reason, I didn’t get my chapter done before going to watch the games. So I got back to the house and had to crank out my chapter.
I thought it was the best writing I’d ever done. Literally. I was so pleased with myself. When I sent my chapter over to Elle, I had a big ol’ smile on my face.
The next morning, I woke up to an email from Elle asking what in the hell I’d sent her. She couldn’t make any sense of it. Obviously, I re-read the chapter after that.
It was a giant piece of crap. Words are failing me as I’m trying to describe how bad it was. I had to redo the entire thing. Fun.
That was the last time I imbibed and hit the keyboard. I abstain from any and all booze when I sit down at the computer to work. Except for this blog post – I’m drinking a beer right now.
See ya tomorrow.