Write drunk, edit sober, revise… tipsy?

Hemingway has some great quotes about writing. But revising is, in my experience, kinda somewhere between writing and editing. So how did Hemingway handle it? I’m not planning on getting drunk today, but it makes me think regardless.

Writing drunk I get. You’re less inhibited, and some of the best crazy ideas that you’d never put to words sober come out of hiding. It’s pretty fun, too. 😉 

Editing sober makes sense too. You want to catch as many errors as possible. Hard to do that when you misspell spoken words. Lol

Revising, though? It’s kind of a grey area. You’re taking out “errors” so to speak, because you’re cutting some stuff that doesn’t fit or doesn’t need to be there, but you’re also writing new stuff. When I’m revising, I often end up writing thousands of words’ worth of new material.

Like I said, I won’t be drinking today. So I won’t experiment with the sobriety level of revisions. But it makes me think. 

I don’t have any profound words on writing yet. Maybe some day I’ll be quoted like Hemingway. 

But will those words be taken from a serious interview, or will they be drunken ramblings overheard by a lucky individual?

Public Displays

Responsibility can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Remember that anthology I talk about every so often? Well, it’s in jeopardy now as yet another author has left the project…this time not due to lack of time to devote to the project, but rather due to a certain member’s public social media profile.

What blows about it is that I’m in a position of authority in the project so it’s partly my responsibility to see to the matter, because the now-former member has a point.

When you’re in a position like I am–like all of the authors in the project, really–you’ve got to think about the public face you put out for the world to see. This is a project involving authors from around the world, and the goal is trans-Atlantic publication. So yeah, it’s a lot to think about. How do you want potential publishers to see you? Do you have a profile that they wouldn’t want associated with their name, or is your public face free of blemishes?

I’ll freely admit that mine profile’s not 100% clean. There’s more than one reason I don’t put my day job down on Facebook, and the desire for the freedom to cuss every once in a while is just one of those reasons. Is it a profile that I’d be afraid to show publishers? No, because it’s who I am, and my writing reflects that–well, it generally reflects that. Obviously for the project I don’t write the same type of material that I write for personal things–heck, I even write differently here. But I try to keep from getting publicly involved in controversial topics and potentially offensive things (the occasional blue language notwithstanding). I also generally don’t add people under the age of 18 as friends or follow them on social media, not even family members, because I don’t feel that the things I post are appropriate for that age group.

Now, this isn’t something I had considered (as far as the project goes) until this was brought to my attention, but it is a valid point. Your public social media posts can come back to haunt you. Think about what you’re posting: Is it appropriate? Is it offensive? Is it excessively violent/graphic/etc.?

Think before you post, everyone. If you don’t have a problem with posting blatantly offensive or controversial, that’s all well and good. Just be aware that not everyone’s going to be fine with it and it could potentially cut off profitable avenues.

Language barrier

English is one of the toughest languages to learn. This is almost universally agreed upon.

You know what’s even tougher? Learning proper English when you’ve spent your entire life speaking and writing in American English.

British English is almost as different from American English as any two other languages you could pick. The grammar is different. The punctuation is different. The slang is different. The spellings of some of the same words are different. As an American reading British writing (for the charity anthology project I’m working on–with primarily British writers), it can be frustrating. Is this a misspelling or just a cultural difference? What the heck is this word? What the fuck does this even mean?

For the writers of the anthology, one of our functions is to critique the other writers’ works. This critique process helps to clean up first drafts, second drafts, etc. It also gives the author of each piece a different perspective of how the piece reads. It’s a great process, and it has improved my writing immensely. However, as a “foreigner” when it comes to British English, I feel as though I’m trying to critique a short story/poem/etc that’s written in Greek or Spanish.

Granted, I’ve learned quite a lot about British English through this project. When I watch a British television show I’m not quite as lost at some points as I may otherwise be. It’s quite interesting to see the differences in two languages that are supposed to be the same language. No wonder it’s considered one of the toughest languages to learn. You can learn British English fluently, then take a trip to America and suddenly feel as though you don’t know English at all (or vice versa).

Since I’m partially bilingual (I know Spanish well enough to converse with the Mexican patients at work and we can largely understand each other, but I don’t consider myself fluent), does my newfound knowledge of British English make me actually trilingual? It’s a fascinating concept.