People often ask me: Mark, they say, Mark me old mucker, is it a good idea to drink alcohol when you’re writing? I mean, you being a top novelist, and all that. What do you think, Mark?
Actually, no one has ever asked me that. In fact, no one has ever sought my advice on writing. People say they want to but never do. I’m not disheartened. I expect they feel that two published novels doesn’t really qualify me to offer advice. I agree, but I’d offer it if anyone asked.
As for drinking when writing – or writing when drinking, depending on your capacity – I think this can work for or against you. It’s probably not a great move when writing a job application letter, but it can certainly be a useful little trick to bust a few holes through that chunk of writer’s block that sometimes sits between you and your keyboard during your creative writing efforts.
My own experience of writing under the influence (for I have tested this combination purely in the name of scientific research) usually takes the same course:
I am happy with my writing so I open a celebratory beer. Or I am pissed off with it so I open a consolatory beer.
Bear in mind that I cannot take my booze, thus we are not going to be entering the realms of double digit beers in this scenario.
With my first beer I cheer up if I was pissed off, or feel warmer and fuzzier if I was already happy. Either way, I soon start writing a little quicker. The alcohol frees me up and I think that my writing is becoming much funnier. This is not always good when you’re writing a thriller. I say I “think” my writing is becoming funnier because I very quickly become unable to properly judge such things. When very drunk, I would laugh if I accidentally cut my finger off.
As the second and third beers slip down, I may actually start to hoot out loud at my own jokes, which are now horrrenduously out of keping with the genre. My fingers move faster on the keyboard andsome mistakes start to appear in my writing. My spelling becomes a little suspect an d I studpidlyattempt more complicated sntences. sOMETIOMES I MAY HIT CERTAIN KEYS WITHOUT REALSING AND THEN HAVE TO SCROLL BACK AND CORRECT SHIT. Then again, maybe I don’t because I carnt be fricking asred/. I also start swearing a lot more as I sawllow more and more writing but I still belive thgT THE QUALITY OF MY beer os improving commensuretly. Or the otgher way round., Who frickin knows. Or even caTES.
fOUR or five beers in and I am on FIRE BABY!!!!! Hot shit, nam! I ofteb havce to stop bevacsue I am laiughinbg so mnucgh at my own joke.s . from tgat p=oiunt ponwards things can getr a little weird abnd I have noe concept of whether anythig I am wiring is good bad or ibndifferent. I gafe to wauit util mornigbn to fgibd that out and I am usually prttey facking horrified Ican tell you. Provbabvtyly the first half pafe is useful and everyhtibg foillwoign is busllshit andhas to vbe deleted.
Quaiet often I find that I must hacve bneen so shitaFCED TOWAD THEW EBND THAT I DIDNB T3EVEN VBOTHER FINISGHING THE LAS