Write Drunk, Edit Sober

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A few days ago, this wonderful infographic popped into my Inbox (I do love a good infographic!)

While it’s ostensibly focused on copywriting, it contains some fabulous advice for writers of all kinds and some even more fabulous quotes from renowned authors.

Amongst them is the one and only definition which has ever clearly defined for me the old adage “show, don’t tell”:

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

That’s from none other than Anton Chekhov, so I’m taking it to be pretty authoritative!

It also contains a lovely section on Productive Tactics, dishing out some cracking advice to help the writer stride over the seemingly-insurmountable hurdles with which we all come face-to-face at one time or another. A particular favourite is:

Write drunk, edit sober.

I do this fairly often, which probably tells you a whole host of badness about me. But it really does work. The first few paragraphs are invariably dry and stilted as I struggle to chase my fleeing muse around the room. Just as invariably, the work slides gracefully into outlandish gibberish as my alcohol tolerance level is reached. But in the middle there, at the point where the inhibitions are loosened and the muse perches coquettishly upon my knee, there’s some really good, free-flowing writing which is not only good in itself, but raises ideas and concepts worthy of further development.

There are far too many other gems in here for writers of all ilks – if you’ve never written an ilk, give it a go – to be able to summarise with any justice, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself. It’s lengthy, but very worthwhile. Trust me, I’ve written a novel.

My parting shot for today is from the unspeakably wonderful Ray Bradbury, making a long-overdue repeat appearance on these pages:

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.

Pass me a pen, several reams of paper and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s time to get to work!!

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6 thoughts on “Write Drunk, Edit Sober

  1. I would totally try this, except a single glass of any sort of alcohol leaves me impaired and unable to hold up my head within minutes. But maybe I ought to give it a go, just with a tape recorder beside me instead of my laptop. 🙂

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