The Science Behind Writing Drunk and Editing Sober (Infographic)

Ernest Hemingway’s famous advice was to “write drunk, edit sober”. Alcohol and writing certainly have a reputation as bedfellows, with famed authors David Foster Wallace, Edgar Allan Poe, Truman Capote, and Hemingway himself, being heavy drinkers.

In truth, Hemingway probably never said that famous line which has been attributed to him for all these years. It was probably derived from a 1964 Peter De Vries novel called, 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.”

But the question remains—is it true? Should you write drunk, and edit sober? We delve into the science behind this in the infographic below.

Writing drunk editing sober


Medical Daily


Psychology Today


Science Direct

Scientific American

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