Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Writing and Drinking

There's an entire school of thought that certain substance abuse doesn't hinder your mind, it frees it. If you get drunk enough, you'll be open to all sorts of new ideas and imaginings. You may even finally get over that writer's block and figure out the ending of your book. 

This a school of thought that was clearly developed by someone who was actually drunk at the time. Writing and drinking do not mix, and I don't care how many famous authors have said that they do. 


It's pretty much common knowledge that Mark Twain liked to drink. Hemingway famously drank all the time. Edgar Allen Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald both liked to his the sauce, and let's not even talk about Hunter S. Thompson. There are so many authors who were known for drinking just in America, NPR did a whole show about it. And now they're all dead. 

Most of the authors who drink copiously, just like any other human beings with the same habit, die before their time. And by the way, lots of them are known for quotes about extensive editing. Of course they had to edit extensively. They were writing while drinking, which is an all-around bad idea.

Alcohol impairs your senses and clouds your brain. It makes it difficult for you to focus. Your attention is diverted easily by alcohol. It also damages your liver, particularly if you drink regularly and drink a lot.

Writing is already hard enough. There is absolutely no reason to mix alcohol with your plot lines, unless you're keeping all the liquid on the page and not in your mouth.

That said, there's nothing wrong with taking a night off from writing if you do need to blow off a little steam. So pop some champagne tonight, put the laptop away, and ring in the New Year. You can get back to serious story-building tomorrow.

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