Get Lit

26 Aug
Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson (Photo credit: billypalooza)

The best part of writing is the drinking. There is no writer’s block too heavy for a shot of whiskey to lift. It frees the fingers and they never seemed to hit the page faster. Ideas flow out of your mind and onto the screen without the slightest effort. Having a hard time finding the perfect word? Maybe it is at the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. If it’s not there look in another.

Obviously, I’m kidding. There has never been a famous writer who wrote drunk on a routine basis. Has there?

I mean…sure…there’s…

Ernest Hemingway. Edgar Allan Poe. Dylan Thomas. Hunter S. Thompson. Dorothy Parker. Kerouac.  William Faulkner. Jack London. Truman Capote. Raymond Chandler. Tennessee Williams. Charles Bukowski. James Joyce.

They were all drunks. Every single one.

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even Stephen King had his dance with the demon alcohol. He is in recovery.

Obviously, I am not suggesting you become an alcoholic. Overall, this is probably a bad move not only for your career as a writer but for your life in general. If you have a moment, read up on all of these “drunk writers” (as I have decided to call them here) because none of their lives were particularly charmed and most of them ended tragically.

Yet…there has to be some correlation.  Drinking makes us loose. It releases inhibition. We are creative thinkers and  we should think of another  creative way to do this without the lives of intense and constant insobriety. I mean, we should be able to do that,right?

Maybe…

Write Yourself Silly

I’m thinking King and Kerouac here (but this will probably work for them all), these “drunk writers” wrote. I mean they really produced. They wrote pages and pages. There is a chance that some of what they wrote was garbage. They allowed themselves to write freely. They did not stop to edit at the page.  So if we were to take a tip without taking a sip, I think we would allow ourselves to write freely.

“Write drunk; edit sober.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Use freewriting or just writing more freely. I would rather write ten pages of trash to edit down to one page of treasure than to spend an evening staring at a blank screen or backtracking all night to get every sentence just right.

Don’t edit yourself out of writing. Don’t blame writer’s block. Do you get blocked eating donuts, playing with your dog,or dancing naked in your living room? Of course not, because those are things of joy. If you fail, who cares? Let writing become a thing of joy. Be a “happy drunk” on writing. Fall over. Stumble. Wait until the morning to look at the crazy things you did and try to set them straight.

Loosen up. Play. Smile.

Don’t obsess over every element of your writing. Just write.

Maybe…

Develop a Sense of Humor

Writing is serious business. Sensitive souls releasing themselves on to the page. Getting sick at the slightest criticism.

Be “Fun Bobby” when he was fun and stop being “ridiculously dull Bobby” (this is a Friends reference because retro 90’s  humor is cool…is too!)

Lighten up. Make a joke. I take that back make ten. Learn to laugh at yourself.

When people ask me what I do for a living and I answer, “I am a freelance writer”, I am certain to get confused looks as if I had just made the most inscrutable suggestion known to man.  You know the faces with the wrinkled noses and scrunched up eyes?

So I say, “I’m a soldier in the war against the blank page” or “I’m a historian preserving the legacy of the long forgotten art of writing.  It might not clear things up but it makes people laugh.

Who would you rather work with,a guy who is always dour and serious or someone of equal ability and ethics who can make you laugh? Who would you rather hang out with, the guy with the gray cloud above his head or someone who knows how to cut up?

I know my answer.

So take the time in your writing to look at things sideways or to turn them upside down. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian but bringing a lighthearted look to an otherwise mundane subject is likely to keep a reader’s attention longer than a completely factual and dry take on the topic.

Leave the Hangover for tomorrow.

Writer’s block is an excuse. It is an excuse for the frightened and insecure to not try. Don’t wait for inspiration to find you. Inspiration is in the third page. You have to go to it. Write two and see if I am right.

Don’t be a “drunk writer”. I mean look again at Bukowski:

That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
― Charles Bukowski, Women

He was a genius writer but by most reports he was an a**hole.

Don’t be an a**hole.

Take the good and leave the bad. If you want to take a shot now and again before you write then do it but don’t let your writing or your life depend on drink. Live a looser life all the time and you won’t need the sauce. Be high on life. Be drunk on your own creativity.

Live life a little different. Write a lot freer. Allow yourself to be a writer. The drunk part will be unnecessary.

Be different.

As different as Zach Galifinakis and Will Oldham lip-syncing  a Kanye West song while backed-up by clog dancers and walking through the woods in silk pajamas.

Enjoy. Read Responsibly.  Friends don’t let friends blog drunk.

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6 Responses to “Get Lit”

  1. Sharmishtha Basu August 27, 2012 at 2:19 AM #

    write drunk, edit sober- loved the comment. 🙂

    • seanomurphy August 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM #

      Write like a hurricane and then send in “emergency services” for the edit. Thanks for the comment.

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