09 Jul Writing While Drunk: Yes, Alcohol Can Make You a Better Writer
Ernest Hemingway was not only one of this country’s most brilliant writers, he was also a very enthusiastic drinker. Ok, fine, he was a drunk. If he was writing, you can bet he was writing while drunk.
I’m not advocating you become an alcoholic to improve your writing, but research has shown that alcohol may help you become a better writer.
Why writing while drunk could make you a better writer
Yes, a glass of Malbec or shot of bourbon will lower your inhibitions. We all know that. It also improves your creativity and your problem-solving skills, both of which you engage when you write.
The arguments are pretty compelling. I read about two different studies in Entrepreneur:
In one study, researchers found that participants who consumed a little bit of alcohol were faster to solve puzzles than people who were completely sober.
In another study, researchers found that moderately intoxicated men had more correct answers to a series of word association problems than those who were sober.
Writing is an art – it’s a creative pursuit. The more you just let your writing flow – without stopping to correct or second-guess yourself – the better it may be. If you’re a perfectionist, writing while drunk could help you let go.
Marketing writing that could improve with a drink or two
A few marketing writing projects require a great deal of creativity. I’m not advocating you get sloshed before you tackle them, but if you’re feeling stuck – why not?
Brainstorming content topics and ideas
When it feels like you have already written or talked everything you can about your area of expertise, a serious brainstorming session can help. The less inhibited you feel, the more ideas you may dream up or discover.
The pressure to continually write high-quality blog posts can cause serious writer’s block. Even for me. A glass of wine at lunch has absolutely helped unlock my brain and go with the flow.
Plus, with your inhibitions lowered, your blogging might sound more like the “real” you. If you come from an academic, medical or legal background where overly formal writing is the norm, alcohol might allow you to write in a more conversational style.
Writing headlines and subject lines
Headlines on web pages and subject lines in emails can make or break your marketing. You need to really grab people’s attention immediately if they are going to stay on your website or open your email.
Creativity is your friend here. Maybe alcohol is, too.
Outlining long form content
Long form content like a white paper or ebook require serious creativity to make sure they’re useful, interesting and easy to read. When it’s time to put together an outline, have a beer first.
Brainstorm the topics you’ll cover and organize them into sections or chapters. Then jot down where the content will come from – interviews, industry research, client stories, an industry association? The more varied your sources, the richer the content and the more impactful your final product.
Most presentations suck. They are too long, too boring, too detailed and/or too wordy. However, because you’re too close to it, you need an outside perspective.
Ask a friend – preferably one who is in a complementary industry – to have a drink with you before you give them the presentation. Once the drink is consumed, hit “play slideshow” on PowerPoint.
Marketing is part art, part science. The next time you’re working on marketing project and need a little creative boost, have that glass of rose with lunch – and then sit down to write.