The Science Behind Writing Drunk And Editing Sober

Should you write drunk and edit sober? This infographic looks at the science behind the famous saying.

Ernest Hemingway is famously misquoted as having said ‘write drunk, edit sober’. It may sound as if it is something he could have said, but as Jeff Goins explains, even if he had said it, he certainly did not practise what he preached.

Brendan Brown from The Expert Editor writes that ‘the quotation was probably derived from a 1964 Peter De Vries novel, Reuben, Reuben where his main character said: “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion.”’

It doesn’t matter who said it, though. All we want to know is if it’s true or not, and we’re pleased that they’ve looked at the science behind it in the infographic below.

Posted on: 11th October 2016

1 thought on “The Science Behind Writing Drunk And Editing Sober”

  1. Never worked for me – I would always drift off into drunkland and not come back for days…

    Now I am sober for four years and the single most important thing I have is clarity. Serious, sober clarity. Life is simple and open.

    Thanks for the stunning infographic.


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