Sunday, March 12, 2017

Write Tired, Edit Awake: Lowering Your Inhibitions as a Writer

Once upon a time, a man named Ernest Hemingway gave the following advice. Write drunk; edit sober. The reason for this is probably because drinking causes people to lower their inhibitions. But like me, many people don’t drink alcohol, and for them the advice isn’t all that helpful. Or is it?

My own philosophy is like Mr. Hemingway’s. Write tired; edit awake. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go to your computer and write after pulling an all-nighter.

When you are a little bit tired, your inhibitions are lowered. For this reason, the words might simply flow better. You'll be less self-conscious and more likely to try new ideas. When you’re awake enough, you can edit the story, and gut the truly unnecessary parts or parts that simply strike you as “too weird”.

Another way to lower your inhibitions when writing is to write for yourself. A lot of people open their document and begin writing with the mindset that this is for someone else to see. They already have it in their minds that they are going to publish this book. Therefore, they are already thinking about what others are going to think of their product.

Forget your audience for a moment and think about what you really want to write. Try this exercise. Open a document, and write a five-hundred-word story (or part of a story) which is only for you and that you have no intention of sharing. Perhaps, you will see a difference in your work.

What are your thoughts on writing tired and editing awake? Do you have any advice to help budding writers lower their inhibitions when writing? Please share in the comments.