I suggest you do both.
Once again Mr. Brown has given me the reins to his fine blog. I’ll try not to mess it up too badly.
First things first, I have to mention that every time I see ‘fiver’ I think of Fiver from Richard Adams’ Watership Down. R.I.P Mr. Adams.
Secondly, I will admit that contrary to the spirit of this Fiver’s topic, I am actually not drinking.
Ah. Jameson and Ginger. Problem solved.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, drinking and writing. If you are not one that imbibes, then this may not really apply to you at all. And that’s fine. If not alcohol, there is probably some other substance or meditative practice that may accomplish the same thing. But for the constructs of this piece, we’ll go with fermented grains, if you please.
Before I get started, I’d like to say that I do not condone unsafe drinking. If you are going to drink and write, you should do so in a somewhat controlled or safe environment or at the very least have a spotter and an Uber account. And you should really only get hammered on the first draft. Or is it draught? Either way, the first one’s for you anyway.
Now…on to the Fivers!
- Lowered Inhibitions. I had a French professor in college that told us to have at least one drink before we had our oral exams. She said that the alcohol would “loosen us up a bit.” Basically, alcohol gets us to drop some of the filters we might normally have and lets us get out of our own way. When you get out of your own way, cool shit happens. Don’t overthink the storyline. Just write.
- Reduced Tendency to Edit In Place. Part of what we (or some of us) do as writers is edit as we write. That word doesn’t work. That paragraph doesn’t make sense, so we chuck the whole thing. Along with the lowered inhibitions and lowered tendency to overthink is the fact that we aren’t being as super critical of ourselves as we’re writing. The end result is that you will probably have more to edit when you’re sober, but hey, that’s sober you’s problem. And you might just find a gem that you would have tossed out otherwise.
- Improves Typing. Now, I’m going to be honest, this one is really hit or miss. I would not recommend getting stumble around, slurry, Otis the town drunk hammered. But, if you can touch type, you are golden. If you’re going to make a habit out of drinking and writing, I would STRONGLY encourage you to learn to touch type. Ain’t nobody got time to be a hunt’n’pecker when you’re buzzed and have words to get out. Learn to touch type. That way if you DO have one too many, Mr. Hemmingway, you can at least still type with your eyes closed (helps with the spins).
- Introduces New Avenues to Stories. It really goes back to breaking your normal mode. Depending on your adult beverage of choice, your story can take on a life of it’s own. Absinthe tends to help me step outside of myself and take the story someplace new. Someplace strangely normal, but nice. Whiskey tends to make me warm and drive the stories in that direction. As much as where you write affects a story, so too does your drink. Stay thirsty my–oh? What’s that? Trademark infringement? Nope. We’re good. Cheers, mates!
- Improves Conversation. I used to live within walking distance to a local watering hole. It was a hole in the wall, but it was my hole in the wall. I had a spot that was mine to sit in. It was very much like a fucked up version of Cheers. But in a good way. On occasion I would take my iPad with keyboard or journal and spend a good 4 or 7 hours on a Friday or Saturday night drinking, shooting the shit with Chris and Kasey, the bartenders, and, of course, writing. I would often field the questions of, “Oh, what are you writing?” or “Can I read something you wrote?” OK. This one is rubbish. If anything, in addition to the questions I just mentioned from writing in a public place, at home the exchange might be more like, “Dad, why is mommy crying over an empty bottle of wine?” “Shh sweetie, she’s fine. She’s writing, nothing to worry about.” Either way, I generally don’t want to talk to people while I’m in the throes of bleeding for the muse, drunk or sober. Your mileage may vary on that one, though.
With drink or without, the point of being a writer is to write. So, if it takes a glass or three of liquid courage for you to be able to face your muse, then by all means, drink up!