Showing posts with label write drunk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label write drunk. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Write Drunk, Edit Sober


I think I used that title before. However, I'm using it again. My site told me it only takes 2 minutes, 48 seconds to read this post. My kind of read. Read it and get on with it.


I wrote drunk, now I am editing sober. 


I was not drunk with alcohol or any other mood-altering

substances. I was drunk with inspiration. 


Write when you are drunk with the pleasure of living.

Write when you are drunk with words bursting to land on a page. Write when the

Muse visits—if you don't, you ought to be smacked.


When you come in for a landing, edit. That's being sober. 


(Even if a writing class teacher swore to you this

"Write drunk, edit sober" advice came straight from the mouth of

Ernest Hemingway it is actually a quote from a fictional

character. Mariel Hemingway, Ernest's granddaughter, said the author wrote and

edited sober.) 


Since Hemingway had a reputation for drinking a lot, he

had to write drunk, right? Actually, he didn't. He wrote first, then celebrated.


I was drunk with reaching my goal of 50,000 words in my

memoir. In editing, they went down to 48,000 and up to 53,000; I had some

repeats, and now I'm at 50,323. If you are a writer, you know about first

drafts—don't let anyone see them. 


I wondered and felt insulted that a writing process

called NaNoWriMo encouraged writers to write a novel in a month. 

Somewhere I read that Margaret Mitchel spent 30 years on Gone with the Wind, 

but online it says she spent only 3. It's hard to know what to believe anymore. They did practically have to rip that manuscript out of her hands to get it published, though, as she kept it hidden under a blanket when people visited. She wrote the last chapter first and rearranged the chapters, and it went on to sell 30 million copies. 


Now, though, after my exercise, I see the value of keeping the hand

moving. Don't look at the words; that way, you are more into feeling than

thinking. You will end up with a mess but words on a page.


Okay, now you are sober. Edit the damn thing.


As time passes in this writing endeavor, I remember

little past things like V-Mail. For years I had a letter from my father when he

was in the war. But after repeated searches, I believe it went with our wedding

pictures when we were packing to move to Hawaii. You know how it can be; you

put things away for safekeeping, and they are the ones that get lost. We sold

some things to a man who agreed to sell them on eBay, and some of my best

things disappeared. Unfortunately, I was not on top of the process. 


V-mail is short for Victory-mail, and few know of it now.

During the war, yes, WWII, since mail was stacking up with letters from

soldiers to home and from home to soldiers, someone came up with a brilliant



The sender would write their letter on a specified sheet

of paper—it would only hold so many words. A reader would check for secrets and

black them out if need be, and the letters would be on their way.


The plan was OO7 inspired.


It was microfilmed and sent by airmail.


Microfilmed—yep, in WWII. When the mail arrived in the

The US, it came as a photographed letter, about 4 or 5 inches. The writer

needed to print large enough, so the words would be readable on the other end.


With this method, they saved much-needed room in the

airplane. Contrast microfilm to bags upon bags of mail. Online it says they

don't think they ever lost a letter using that method.


Over the years, I repeatedly read my two little letters

from my dad. One was from Italy, "You thought I would only be gone for a

while, didn't you?" He had beautiful printing and drew bunnies along the

bottom of the page. And he called me Princess, although I never knew he called

me that. 


I only saw my father once after the war, but then 38

years later, I met him again.



In lieu of my beautiful letter.