Bookie's picture
Bookie from Birmingham, England is reading The Contortionists Handbook August 25, 2012 - 11:08am

Which do you prefer to write? In my opinion it all depends on the time of drunk you are. I've found I'm more emotionally vulnerable when I drink, and this makes it easier to dig deep and feed out my soul. The process becomes more intimate and I fall for page a lot easier. (The more you drink, the more attractive they get)

As for sober, there are times when I feel I can write just as well, but it takes being in a state of trance to achieve that. Which is rare.

I'm just wondering if there's anybody else who feels they write better when they drink? Or am I just making up excuses for myself to do so?

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 25, 2012 - 11:17am

Sober. I rarely have even one drink when writing. I like to be focused and sharp. The flip side is, I started writing well before I started drinking, and I don't see any reason to mix the two and tempt fate with triggers that are important parts of my life.

.'s picture
. August 25, 2012 - 11:30am

Writing under the influence of anything but caffeine makes feel like I'm writing something good but it usually ends up being crap when I look at it again with sober eyes. 

Drinking opens up part of the brain to help you do certain things. That is why a lot of people are good at pool when they drink but not so much sober. But I don't think it applies to writing. 

Coffee and classical music gets me where I need to be. I hardly get to that trance state unless I'm writing for 3 hours straight but have only busted out 2 pages or something. 

 

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 25, 2012 - 11:49am

I wrote when I was drunk a few times in late middle/early high school, but it was all ridiculous, overwrought shit. That may have been my age, though.

There's some sort of happy medium that I found when I drank some sake with my boyfriend. After a small bottle, I was overwhelmingly urged to write (no idea came to mind, no inspiration, just the primal urge to do it) because of a combination of the slight buzz and being in that slight buzz with my boyfriend. I guess I consider him my muse, as absurdly cliche that is.

Writing while high -- any kind of high -- is great, though.

Bookie's picture
Bookie from Birmingham, England is reading The Contortionists Handbook August 25, 2012 - 11:56am

Oh, Courtney -- you romantic! I understand what you mean, though. 

underpurplemoon's picture
underpurplemoon from PDX August 25, 2012 - 1:51pm

I don't think I can ever get drunk. Alcohol is gross to me. I've written at times when I'm not happy, which isn't the best idea. Write when mostly happy? In a way, I've always been sober...always been alert...almost always.

JonnyGibbings's picture
JonnyGibbings August 25, 2012 - 1:57pm

Fuck me, we all know what happens when I write drunk. I write twisted relationship advice on how to use heroin to salvage a relationship. Perform fucked up edits and ruin work. Espresso yes. I think writing when exhausted is brilliant, but no I can't write drunk. Ever...

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter August 25, 2012 - 11:51pm

I like to mix it up. Usually I write sober because my ideas are more refined, but if I'm particularly stuck on a scene it's nice to just get intensely wasted and just crank my way through the scene. It's nice to wake up the next morning to some new work I don't really remember writing. Usually it's shitty, but I prefer editing through slop and improving it over looking at a blank page. 

The real problem with writing drunk is that I get into this vibe and I spend most of my time on Twitter talking about how awesome I am.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 26, 2012 - 6:49am

I tend to talk shite when I'm drunk.  I have no reason to believe that alcohol will have any different effect on the written word.

Stacy Kear's picture
Stacy Kear from Bucyrus, Ohio lives in New Jersey is reading The Art of War August 26, 2012 - 8:01am

You're probably an alcoholic.  Get ta twelve steppin.  Just kidding, if it works for you, have at it.  I read somewhere that Thom Yorke, Radiohead, writes after he deprives himself of sleep.  The effect is similar to being drugged or drunk. So if you want to save your liver, don't sleep.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 26, 2012 - 10:22am

I've definitely written while sleep deprived. Not my best.

Beka is right. Whatever lowers your inhibitions and makes you willing to write is probably a good thing. It's easier to edit than it is to write. Getting the writing out of the way means you can make what you wrote something good the second time around.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 26, 2012 - 11:27am

No drunk for me. Not because I can't write drunk, but because it tends to make me really tired and I end up crapping out too quick. I see no real difference in my work either way, so I write sober as a rule. Coffee and a nearly 800-song playlist of dark ambient/trip-hop/experimental music and away I go.

Bookie's picture
Bookie from Birmingham, England is reading The Contortionists Handbook August 26, 2012 - 11:41am

No drunk for me. Not because I can't write drunk, but because it tends to make me really tired and I end up crapping out too quick. I see no real difference in my work either way, so I write sober as a rule. Coffee and a nearly 800-song playlist of dark ambient/trip-hop/experimental music and away I go.

I've never heard of trip-hop, but I'm curious now.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life August 26, 2012 - 12:03pm

I for one don't trust any writer who doesn't drink. It's tradition, people. If you want to buck tradition, throw away your godamn Christmas tree or something.

Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway August 26, 2012 - 12:17pm

You get your writing out of the way so you have more time to drink. That's the goal. And insofar as composition while wasted, it's out of the question. You can have amazing ideas while shitfaced, but these are huge chunks of information or simple pictures that you'd be best off trying to explain while sober or coffee'd up.

.'s picture
. August 26, 2012 - 12:53pm

An alcoholic? Nah, maybe not but what do I know. 
 

Hemingway did it, and every writer follows his moves so writers drink. 

I guess same could be said about cocaine though so I believe I'm not totally correct. 

Stacy Kear's picture
Stacy Kear from Bucyrus, Ohio lives in New Jersey is reading The Art of War August 26, 2012 - 12:59pm

This is one of my brilliant under the influence ideas, a pharmacy that I would call "Free Drugs." I think my point is made, haha

I think that would be a better thread, what are the most ridiculous ideas you have had under the influence, of anything, alcohol, drugs, pimps, religious zealots (are there any other kind), sleep deprivation, the throws of a mental breakdown, and on and on?

Stephen_Inf's picture
Stephen_Inf from Illinois is reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot August 26, 2012 - 1:05pm

I think I'm more productive, quantity and quality, after a drink or two.  It helps eliminate that filter I have that keeps me from saying stupid shit throughout the rest of my normal, non-writing day.  It also eliminates any desire I have to edit on the fly.  I don't know that beyond two or three drinks I'm much good for writing (or anything else for that matter).  I'm not saying I'm a lightweight, I just don't know how to finish this sentence.  There's a fine line for me between productive writer and babbling idiot.

JonnyGibbings's picture
JonnyGibbings August 26, 2012 - 1:07pm

I have some of my finniest ideas when hammered. But then I just dick around. Then shit like this happens:

http://jonnygibbings.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/the-golf-pimp-disaster/

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 26, 2012 - 1:29pm

Jonny -- I rambled about you and your drunk edit style and your book to my boyfriend while I was high. Turns out he listened and wants to read your book. I jokingly said I'd try to get it signed but that it'd probably be signed in bodily fluids and he considers that the greatest book pitch ever. You should use that in your marketing.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 26, 2012 - 11:37pm

I for one don't trust any writer who doesn't drink. It's tradition, people. If you want to buck tradition, throw away your godamn Christmas tree or something.

I drink, I just don't write drunk. Fine line.

I think that would be a better thread, what are the most ridiculous ideas you have had under the influence, of anything, alcohol, drugs, pimps, religious zealots (are there any other kind), sleep deprivation, the throws of a mental breakdown, and on and on?

I had a party around the time I was deciding to dive head first in a make it or break it mission as a writer. I got pretty toasted, and (I assume) started rambling on. They (wisely) began to ignore me. I interrupted by shouting, "I am a motherfucking VISIONARY" and decided that if I got five thousand followers on facebook, we could make anything we wanted happen. ANYTHING. Because I AM A MOTHER FUCKING VISIONARY.

I'm not sure if I've ever live it down. It comes up at every party I've had since.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life August 26, 2012 - 11:51pm

Sparrow: Allow me to clarify: I am always writing. At work, I am writing in my head. On the drive home? Writing, ditto cranium. At home, I am writing as soon as I walk in the door. When I wake up, the story I just dreamed is playing.in my mind. It may make it onto the page, it may not, but either way it's a story.

  So when I say I don't trust people who don't drink: since I am always writing, perforce, I am always drinking when I write. Ergo, I don't trust any writer who doesn't drink. 

So drink up, motherfuckers. Get fuck-drunk and write a story that stays with me even after I wake up. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 27, 2012 - 7:48am

I think it's realtively obvious what the original post meant, and so I'm sticking by what I said. I think the majority of people here think about their stories, characters, ideas when they aren't actively typing or putting a pen to paper.

.'s picture
. August 27, 2012 - 8:18am

 I have a hard time doing readings while I'm drunk. 

 I'd read just enough to get people interested and would throw the pages in a fire. 

 I actually got threatened for that one so it felt like a complement in retrospect. 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 27, 2012 - 9:01am

I can write the hell out of poetry when I'm hammered. The hard part part is remembering what i saved it as. I often come across ideas and notes and poems that i don't remember writing. As for coherent fiction. It's hard to come by if I have more than 4-5 DRINKS. 1-2 loosens me up and gets the ideas flowing.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines August 27, 2012 - 12:22pm

what's the saying? Write drunk, edit sober?

YES.

Recently it took me 3/4 of a bottle of Glenrothes to get through 36 pages of Baudrillard and the remaining 1/4 of the bottle to bang out a response. Then I proceeded to go on facebook and write how losing my cat that night was a metaphor for love in my life, and I wasn't going to be upset about her giving me the slip while I drunkwrote - I wasn't even going to look for her, decreeing, I am not going to waste time on something that does not want to be found and lo' - she was back fifteen minutes later and I was overjoyed. It all felt very profound.

 

feedback is usually given sober as a judge, but sometimes great ideas surface while under the influence and I just put them out there for other writer's consideration.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin August 27, 2012 - 12:54pm

Write sober, edit high.

Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway August 27, 2012 - 3:14pm

If I drink and write poetry it always sounds too much like Bukowski:

She had a big ass
and I don't care if she looks like her father
and she's five two and a buck ninety
she was a hell of a woman.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 27, 2012 - 6:27pm

@chris I love Bukowski.