Write Drunk, Edit Sober

Write Drunk, Edit Sober
Write drunk, edit SOBER. Need to work on that.

When I first started this blog 7 months ago, I had a simple goal. I wanted to learn how to write again. Over the years I’d noticed my writing had turned banal and repetitive. Most of what I wrote was for work, but even then I saw no reason I shouldn’t be able to make my prose cleaner and concise.

There were other reasons I blogged of course. I wanted to document the trips my wife and I take and not confine myself to the various social media platforms. It would also be great to explore struggles in my life in an open and truthful manner. I didn’t want to feel obligated to use that “friends and family” filter we all have for writing anything we know they might read.  Last, I thought a blog would be a good way to reconcile being an introvert and lifelong misfit but also a business executive.
But my primary purpose was to learn how to write. Yet as I reviewed a few of my posts on this site a few days ago, I realized I had failed in that goal. Miserably.

The great Ernest Hemingway once offered this sage advice, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Well, I can see how I was focusing only on the first part of his suggestion. Littering every post I wrote were typos, grammatical errors, and run-on sentences. Hell, I organized paragraphs like I WAS drunk.  What can I say? I’m embarrassed. I realize I’m no Hemingway, but there is no excuse for some of the crap I let get past me hitting the “Publish” button.

My assumption was if I kept posting, my writing would improve by repetition. Wrong.  Shoot, I could scratch a bow across violin strings for years, it still won’t make me Itzhak Perlman. It isn’t just practice, no matter what the writing pundits suggest. I need to WORK on it. I’m ashamed to say I neglected that part of the process.

So am I throwing in the towel? Nope. I have to knuckle down and execute better. I need to focus on all aspects of the writing process. I never said I wanted to be a writer, just that I wanted to write better. My goal was realistic, just my execution sucked. To fix that problem, moving forward I’m taking ALL of Hemingway’s advice. I intend to “edit sober”. I’ve created myself a little editing cheat sheet to help me stay on target and improve my writing. While this won’t eliminate all my errors, it will help to keep me focused on WORKING on my writing.  I’ll also concentrate less on quantity and more on quality.

My goal is still intact. I will learn to write better.


Carolina grad, business owner, Master of the Oblivious, "Rural Renaissance Man", dog lover, family man, geek...

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