Why I like to write drunk, edit sober

December 12, 2019

Bet you didn’t think I’d ever write a blog post called that, huh? 😉 

In all honesty, I’m not much of a drinker. Although I’m not opposed to a little bit here and there, the most I’ve managed is two glasses of wine at a time. In the past 4 years, I’ve probably had less than a bottle in total. Aaaand not to brag or anything, but I’ve probably written something like 500 blog posts in that time. 

But although I don’t get drunk, I quite like the saying “write drunk, edit sober” because it encapsulates a really good technique for blog writing (or any kind of writing). 

Glass of red wine sitting on a wooden coffee table, along with a laptop.
This picture does NOT reflect my work environment. Remove wine, add green tea, chocolate, and lollies and a whole lot more kid mess and you've got it. 👌🏻

Here’s what I normally do (all drinking references are purely metaphorical):

1. Get drunk

Write quickly. Don’t think about it too much. Whether it’s a skeleton draft or actual first draft, just let the thoughts tumble out and move on. Be creative if you like. Let your personality take over and write freely, without judgement.

2. Black out

Hit save and close. Forget what you wrote about. Write something else on a different topic if you feel like it or have other deadlines (there’s always more to write around here!). Or just move onto another activity. Like sleep. Sleep is always good.

3. Sober up

A few days later (if deadlines play nice), come back and open up your ramblings. At this point, you might be surprised at how coherent and easy to read they are, but if not, this is where you can jump in and edit. Move things around, check for spelling/grammar issues, do paragraphs/lists/headings to make it more readable. If drunk you did a terrible job (i.e. the writing makes no sense, is boring, or unoriginal), it’s okay to wipe the slate clean and do a rewrite – at least you didn’t spend too long on the piece. 

4. Designated driver

It’s often worth getting another person involved, especially if you don’t have time to black out and sober up before you hit publish. They can proofread/edit with fresh eyes and give you an honest opinion on your writing.

If you haven’t already, try it for yourself. It sounds simple, but it works!

You might find that writing drunk helps you to write more stuff more quickly so that you can batch and schedule your blogs or social media content. Or get out of your head and actually get your website copy written.

A couple of years ago, it even enabled me to get almost a YEAR ahead with scheduling weekly blogs (for real!). 

Of course, I don’t write weekly blogs anymore. This is my first blog in quite awhile. But I DO write a lot of content for clients every week and it’s always obvious to me how much better a project goes when I can stick to my process.

Happy writing,

🙂 Angela

P.S. No alcohol was consumed in the writing of this blog. Chocolate, lollies, and green tea on the other hand? Loooooooads.

P.P.S. I was blacked out on this one for awhile. I wrote draft 1 more than a year ago (and promptly forgot about it).

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2 comments on “Why I like to write drunk, edit sober”

  1. Angela, love this! Great metaphor. Dig the designated driver idea. I often try to squeeze in the writing and editing all at once. Taking a breather--or letting the wine breathe for a while--is a good reminder to writing a draft and walking away. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Ahh thank you so much, Stacy! Yeah I often catch myself writing and editing at the same time, depending on how quickly the ideas and words are flowing. But definitely trying to walk away from it more often before picking up the red pen! I have to admit, I rarely do the designated driver thing, but I hope to in the future (so I can squeeze more first drafts in 😄).

      Cheers for commenting! 🍷

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