1. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Writers! Alcohol and writing? Discuss.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alex R. Encomienda, Jun 7, 2016.

    a little northeastern girl gave me a (huge) bottle of cheap merlot. I was hesitant to take it but considering I'm quite a wino, I could not resist.

    Anyways, so I have this huge bottle that I somehow opened sloppily and I'm planning to write. Last time I drank and wrote my story, it was like Albert Hoffman gave L Ron Hubbard DMT and he decided to mimick Shakespeare.

    In all seriousness though, I heard writers are notorious for alcohol trips. What are your thoughts on this subject?

    Please do explain.
     
  2. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Depends on the genre. If I am getting at what you are saying, you imply that most authors drink or get drunk? For me, this focus is mainly on the "darker side of writing" genres
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    One time at a party I got drunk enough that I lost the ability to read mtg cards well enough to understand them. I faked it really well, though. Friend: "Look at this card, it's so good, you need this for your elf deck." Me: [squints for a long time] "Dude ... this card is great. You're totally right. Yes."

    Anyway, point being, I don't like my odds of writing coherently while drunk if I'm not fit to read. I mean sure, I suppose there's a happy medium. It's not for me, though. On the other hand, I did write a pretty decent short while high on benadryl, somehow.
     
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  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Step away from from the keyboard sir. Gonna have to write you a TWI (Typing while Intoxicated), and we're gonna impound your keyboard. :superlaugh:

    Drinking and writing don't mix well for most people, unless your Poe (then marinade the hell out of your liver:supergrin:).
    I try not to drink and write, mainly due to the fact that looking at it sober I have to scrap 90-99% of what has been written. Hence the lack of recommendation to do it. What is good for the poet is bad for novelist. Then again there is only one way to find out how bad it is really to mix the two. There should be a short story free write contest, and the only rule is you have to write the whole thing drunk or tipsy. That would be a great way to know whether or not it is a good idea to drink and write or not.
    Well off to other things.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I'm having trouble writing, I'll often have a glass or two of wine, and I find it helps. But I think I'd start worrying if I always needed a glass or two in order to write. Occasional prop is okay, for me, but not constant crutch.
     
  6. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Alcohol; great for writing, terrible for editing.

    I hate editing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2016
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  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Alcohol makes you think you're good.
     
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  8. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I often have some wine when I'm writing. I go stone cold sober for the editing process, though.
     
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  9. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I think it helps, but with measure. If you get passed the point of being simply in a good, relaxed mood, you rather enjoy the music and let the story unravel in your head without writing it down. Then, if you get really drunk... I don't think I need to continue. ;)

    In the whole run, I think that it's a bad thing to drink too often when you write. It might turn into a habit and afterwards you might struggle with writing without having an alcoholic drink to "inspire" you. Habits die hard.
     
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  10. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Alcohol usually makes writing more difficult for me. I often avoid it if I am planning on writing later.
     
  11. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I occasionally get "genius" story ideas while I'm drunk. I know they're genius, because I take the time to email them to myself from the bar.

    Then in the morning, I wake up and find things like:

    So no, I don't usually write when I'm drunk, or at least not that I'm aware of, and hangovers kill my ability to do anything.
     
  12. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Similar threads have run their course on the forum before, always with mixed opinions, but leading to a consensus that alcohol does not enhance writing. Although there are some high profile writers who have struggled with addiction (and depression), few were known to write while drunk. Writing well requires a high level of cognitive focus. For me, enjoying a few drinks, usually with friends, is relaxation, something to do when my computer has been put safely to sleep.
     
  13. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    Lol. Are you sure it's just alcohol mate? Maybe somebody put something in your drink. :supergrin:
     
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  14. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Nah, that's pretty much the way my mind runs. It's just trying to tease out what Drunk Iain thought the important bit was that's a headache, because he's right on occasion.
     
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  15. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I don't really understand what you're saying man but it sounds fun. Maybe I'm already drunk. Oh wait! Maybe you are... Hm... :superthink: I wouldn't know and you wouldn't admit so... :supergrin:
     
  16. HallowMan97
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    HallowMan97 Member

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    I suppose it depends on the person and substance. I have written before on a number of things, to varying degrees of success. While I have never tried writing while drinking, I think I'd be ok at it, but nothing special. I admit I am hesitant to say what else I have tried things on (Don't want to get caught on a sting operation, haha) but I will say that one favorite substance of mine that will sit a lesser man down as he's hit with wave upon wave of cosmic thought and make him stay there for several hours has produced some of the best parts of a novel I am currently writing, in a scene that's not even meant to be trippy. Trouble is, it takes a lot of willpower to actually focus enough to write, but since it's easier to immerse yourself in the tone of what you're writing--I was getting scared!--it tends to fall into place. So, to answer your question...

    If you feel the need to "enhance" your writing with alcohol or any substance, you'll probably not be able to do it unless you strain yourself to do so, and even then it's really only good for penning a rough draft of a good idea rather than a masterpiece. While I was mostly pleased with what I had, I still had to go back and edit the living heck out of it.
     
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  17. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Alcohol can lower my inhibitions which helps me to stop editing amid drafting, so that does help some. Can't drink too much, though, or I have to scrap the whole thing. The key is usually that line between slightly buzzed and tipsy. I like the idea of a short story contest while drunk, though. Lol. That could be hilariously interesting, @Cave Troll
     
  18. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    I used to be the alcoholic writer stereotype. It got to the point where I couldn't write without being totally hammered, and the last of those stories I wrote under the influence doesn't make any sense (I still keep it, for hilarity's sake).

    I can't drink anymore due to health issues and sometimes I miss it, ngl. I used to be much more confident and I didn't have the compulsive editing syndrome I have now. But I think that even if I drank again, I developed such a high alcohol tolerance that it wouldn't work anyway, lol.
     
  19. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    My theory on this is, if you are are a good writer you can probably write through anything, including being drunk or high. If you are not a good writer I cannot fathom how being drunk or high will make you a good writer. If anything certain drunks may keep you awake longer allowing you to get the words.
     
  20. JoetheLion
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    JoetheLion Member

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    Alcohol: Yes, works for me, but only a glass or two. I've written some absolutely killer scenes after a couple of drinks, especially if I need to really get under a characters skin. Don't know why this is.

    Weed. Absolutely not. Makes my brain dance about too much.

    I generally write sober because of the time of day I usually get a chance to sit down and do it, and I won't drink before 5pm. I can't write in the evenings anyway, tiredness doesn't do my thought processes any good.
     
  21. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting. I very rarely drink while writing... I may take a beer down with me, but it is like to be quite warm when I remember to take a sip.

    However, after writing creatively for several hours, and come back to the real world, I drink a lot more (usually wine) than I did formerly. Something about severing/anesthetizing the emotional connection with some of my characters, which can be quite strong for me. Enough for @K McIntyre to notice and comment.
     
  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I had an uncle who was a musician - a drummer. I once joked about alcohol making you play better, and he said, "No, it just makes you think you're playing better."

    The only things I ever drink while writing are (in order of frequency) 1) coffee, 2) water, 3) tea (iced or hot).
     
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  23. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I've written sober, slightly tipsy, somewhat stoned. No discernible difference.

    But definitely tipsy, very stoned, and I can't write for beans. But as Chained said, I think it's a lot better than it really is, and only when I sober up do I wonder what the hell I was thinking.
     
  24. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    For me when I drink (which is once in a blue moon kind of thing) and write, 2 things happen
    1. I do not use conjugations whatsoever! Yes indeed this gal is a merry, yet prim and proper drunk.
    2. I am more blunt verbally about what I think and fight less with myself when it comes to writing down some of my more extreme ideas.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  25. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    Never tried it, I don't drink often and when I do it's not wine it's Rum I drink.
    I would like to think my ideas won't flow any differently though! :)
     
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