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Writing while intoxicated

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Nameback, May 28, 2013.

  1. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

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    So, I'm a little tipsy right now. Personally, I love writing when I'm anywhere between barely intoxicated and significantly intoxicated. I find that my writing tends to "flow" in the same manner as when I'm overtaken by a particularly excellent idea for a scene. Getting a bit drunk is a really consistent, reliable way to produce a good chunk of words in one sitting, for me.

    Now, the product tends to be a bit sloppier than if I had been sober (as on might expect), but as it is for most people, I find the hardest part being the first-draft. I'm happy to edit my drunk-drafts later, when I'm sober and have trouble banging out words with the same efficiency.

    So, for those of you of legal age, do you every drink-and-write? What do you think of the output you generate in such a state?
     
  2. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    I'm one of those giggly drunks who can't focus on things without drifting off and spilling half of the drink down my blouse, which would translate to the keyboard if I tried writing. So no, though I have come up with ideas while drunk. If I can read my drunken handwriting the morning after, the ideas are often okay. A little incoherent, but I think having the looser mindset gives me a little more room to think. I don't drink enough to give you a good chart of success for that one, though.
     
  3. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    With the possible exception of margaritas, alcohol tastes terrible to me. Give me caffeine any day!
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    All the time.

    Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which many of us learn to our dismay, in youth. That same lowering of inhibitions that can free the tongue can also serve to liberate your fingers on the keyboard...at least for me. Absolute honesty sometimes needs a little nudge.

    "Write drunk. Edit sober" - Ernest Hemingway
     
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  5. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

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    Wise words.
     
  6. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    I'm a sleepy drunk. Sometimes after a couple beers I'll be like "Oh man I really want to write that one scene," but then I see a kitten and two hours later when I remember I was going to write, I can't keep my eyelids open. :p
     
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  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm sure that it helps some people some time. I've never had luck with alcohol and writing, but half a beer helps me give a presentation or an interview, while more than that gets in the way.

    I forget the name, but there's a thing about "state memory" where, if you drink too much while you're still getting into the habit of writing, you'll start to need to be in that same tipsy state to write. I suspect that's part of why so many authors are known for it. But I would skip the alcohol if you're still getting into the habit of writing daily.
     
  8. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

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    I got

    too drunk

    whoooooooops
     
  9. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    It's possible to write sober now?

    Seriously, the vast majority of my pre-published work was written under the influence of sundry substances but my first commercially published book (and all my subsequent work) was written sober.

    I'm not saying that means anything though. I found my voice writing those previous works and no doubt the liberating substances helped. The first published book was simply the first time I deliberately set out to write something 'commercial' - it probably wouldn't have mattered whether I was pissed or not. It was just that I had developed the voice, and I finally had the right story.

    Strong voice + right story = mainstream publication.
     
  10. Jeff Xilon

    Jeff Xilon Minstrel

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    I wrote a scene once when I was well and truly drunk not long ago. Came home from a rare night out and remembered I hadn't written any words that day and I was on a streak. So I sat down and wrote until I found myself falling asleep at the keyboard. Read the scene the next day and it was all about my protagonist getting drunk and trying to avoid having a terrible hangover the next day. Eventually the writing trailed off into complete and utter nonsensical gibberish of random letters strung together at the end. I figured for me at least if I wanted anything useable out of the writing I'd best not try doing it actually drunk.
     
  11. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I tend to have a whisky or a cognac, sometimes baileys, when writing in the evenings. It's rarely enough to affect me enough that I notice, but it's still nice. If I'm writing in the day or in the morning I tend to have tea or coffee instead. I think, that for me it's more about having a sip of something while letting the mind wander than the actual alcohol as such - though I'm sure that plays part of it as well.
     
  12. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    How could I do anything but agree... except for the bit about margaritas [sorry Jabrosky but they taste awful too].
     
  13. Whiskey or cognac? So stereotypical for writers! Now all you need is a typewriter and a pipe and the 60ies image is complete.

    I'd say there's a difference between drunk and slightly intoxicated (elated?). If I'm drunk the last thing I want to do is write. Being slightly intoxicated (or just having a good stiff drink to keep you warm at night) might help you relax and actually get you writing.
     
  14. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    I tend to agree, except I hate caffeine as well. I don't mind tea if it's got a spoonful of sugar and a bit of strawberry in the mix, but the only way I will consume coffee is if it's soaked into some lady fingers and whipped in with some mascarpone. But yeah, alcohol is a rare indulgence. I'll have a drink at parties to be polite, or if an Italian restaurant gives me a shot of Sambuca, but the last time I had more than a single drink was at my wedding, and that was mostly because we splurged and got my favourite rum and a bottle of Absinthe, and I don't let Absinthe go to waste. (Incidentally, absinthe has a long and proud literary history - I propose we each buy a bottle and have a nice write-in like they did a hundred and change years ago...)
     
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  15. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I guess I shouldn't have said that about not having beer. Currently in the beer garden at the Franciscan Well in Cork enjoying a beer brewed less than thirty feet from where I'm sitting. And yes, I'm writing.

    Edit: I don't mind being stereotypical when it comes to things I like. :)
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
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  16. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    Oh, interesting! A musician friend of mine had a theory about that, though I don't think he knew it was a real thing. People kept telling him that smoking pot would free up his songwriting, but he said he didn't want to rely on it. Which of course made him the only non-stoner musician I know. ;)
     
  17. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Often I find that it's more about the ritual than the effect. Yes, inebriation can help loosen the inhibitions while writing, as mentioned before. However, turning your mind away from the cares of the day to focus on nothing but the writing, can be ushered along with ritual.

    That sense of ritual will be different for many artists but it does help. It separates the writing time from the other hours...makes it special & creates a certain reverence for that time slot if done habitually. It can reinforce the habit itself which, in my opinion, is absolutely necessary to have any real success in art. That ritual certainly doesn't have to be alcohol. I just enjoy the ritual in combination with intoxication. It can be anything that, performed in the same manner & consistently over time, triggers the mind.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
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  18. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I'm way too distracted while drinking to sit down and type a story. However, I have crafted scenes while drinking and its true that things flow much smoother. Too drunk to second guess yourself? Have fun figuring out that mess in the morning with a hangover. :p
     
  19. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

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    So I experienced the danger of writing while inebriated last night--what started out as a pleasant buzz to loosen the fingers ended up with me over the toilet nine beers later.

    Still, I managed to pound out 1400 words before I got too drunk and just started sleepily listening to music. Turned out pretty good, too!
     
  20. kayd_mon

    kayd_mon Sage

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    Well, a nice ale or porter is a nice way to wrap up the day, but I can't say that I've ever gotten myself a drink to try to help my writing out.
     
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