Friday, May 15, 2009

Quote for the Day

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

Okay, I'm not a drinker myself but I still embrace the spirit of Papa H.'s quote. There's a point in this process where it's good to be "drunk," at least in the figurative sense. You have to be able to let go, to brainstorm, to write more than you need, to fall recklessly in love with your characters and follow their tangents and to lose yourself completely in the story without judging what you are creating. And then there is the literary morning after, when it's time to swallow the hair of the dog that bit you and get down to work. That's when you hold the thing at arms length and try to become as objective as possible. You try to read your own work as if it were someone else's. You bring in the tough love.
I think that, as writers, many of us are better at one side of the process than the other. Right now, I find myself rushing to the judgement part of the process on my wip when in fact there are places where I still need to be drunkenly creating. That means my "inner editor" is inhibiting me by critiquing me prematurely. So today I went back to the drawing board on some world building issues that I had never really settled. I got out a big roll of white paper and some markers and I brainstormed and made lists without any lines. I know that I'll sober up and go back to more rational writing soon, but today it was helpful to create without second-guessing.

What about you? Which part of the process comes easiest? Where are you at in your work? Stone cold sober? Three sheets to the wind?
I hope you are writing well.


HRJ said...

I have a love affair with Hemingway.

I do agree with the fact that you must be in love with your characters.
When I write I have a very torrid affair with each of my characters. I find that I do not take my time with them and enjoy every fiber of their being...I am caught up in my intoxicated desire to tell the story. I loathe looking at my stories sober...This is why I need a great copy editor to clean up after my love affairs and help me put my story back together....

Anonymous said...

"Write drunk. Edit sober."

Why say more? The complexities--and purposes--of this self establish.

Laura Bradley Rede said...

Too true. I just like to talk :)