Hemingway once retorted, “Write drunk; edit sober,” and we all know that beast could probably drink any bro under the table, cubicle, typewriter, whatever. Point is, that guy wrote his best shit while he was worlds away from sobriety. He could act like the village drunkard in some 17th century Irish novel (Joyce showed him the ropes there) and still muster up enough functionality to write “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea.” My theory is that he drank his left brain into oblivion which consequently transferred all mental strength to the creative right side. But that’s real scientific. I won’t go into it right now.
I think it’s no coincidence that Hemingway and Joyce were arguably the two greatest writers of the 20th century while also the two greatest booze hounds you’ll SparkNote in your intro lit class. They beat the system. They knew that writing after knocking two or 10 back could be just as masterfully done as if you said it to the single-serving friend you met at the bar for 10 minutes.
Everything just flows better when your drunk. You can talk about some stupid campus event to someone at a bar and sound knowledgeable about it, even though you’ll probably sound smarter to yourself than to that person. You can’t return to that moment, with that guy, at that bar, and make your argument on whether Marie is gonna die in the end of Breaking Bad sound more convincing (she better though, that chick sucks). But the dynamic changes when you do this on paper because you can go back to it and make it more coherent. The creativity’s still there. You just sound less like a rambling idiot when you edit it with a headache the next morning.
So to all the hopeful, up-and-coming wannabe don’t-wanna-be-a-bartender-after-earning-an-English-degree writers out there, give it a try when you happen to be drinking alone on Valentine’s Day and have some passionate inspiration. Not to drunk text your old sweetheart, but to write something of merit. Just remember to check back on it when your eyes return back to their regular color.