Authorship, Publishing, Books and More

The Words of Ernest Hemingway


The other day I was searching a site that had quotes by famous authors. This one by Ernest Hemingway jumped out at me…

Write Drunk

Edit Sober

Maybe he intended us to take that literally, maybe not. Either way, he summed up the writing process perfectly.

I always tell my students if there’s only one thing you ever remember me telling you, it’s don’t be afraid to get that first draft written ASAP.

Lose your inhibitions…guess that’s what Hemingway was getting at when he suggested we write drunk.

Even if you don’t drink, when you pull out that sheet of paper or stare at the blank screen on your computer, let down your guard. Write down whatever comes into your head. It might not read well. It might even make you cringe because it’s so bad. The sentence could be full of spelling errors and typos but at this point, who cares?

I’ve always felt that when you’re on a writing roll, words spill out a certain way only once. Think about them too long, sit there and daydream, and you’ve missed the beauty of free writing. Free writing is when the magic happens. Hemingway knew that.

Get that story out, get it written and then like he suggests, sober up and edit.

It’s the second draft where you go back and take a look with a new mindset and a new approach. What’s working, what’s not? Could words be cut? Yes, you might be one of those authors who talks too much when you drink. Maybe whole scenes could be cut.

Four simple words by Hemingway but like his stories, so powerful in their message.

Write your story as one person and edit in your other more sober persona and you’ll always create a masterpiece.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, on a few occasions, I have enjoyed a glass of wine while writing!)


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