day 13: creativity
“Write drunk, edit sober”
–Hemingway (though, probably not)
The quote above is attributed to the great writer, Ernest Hemingway. He probably never said it but it’s a great line.
Interestingly, it did not apply to him. Although Hemingway was known to enjoy a drink, his friends, family and scholars all say that he did not write drunk. But this notion persists, for Hemingway and beyond, because there is a myth about drugs and creativity.
Being high has long been associated with being more creative. Perhaps that is true for some people. Whether by placebo (simply believing it may make it true) or by chemical alteration (the brain does operate differently when high), some artists may make better art when altered.
Others do not. Sometimes artists listen to a recording of the music they played while high- and what felt like connection and improv while high- turns out to suck when heard sober.
There is no doubt that substances alter reality and this connects to creativity. But the myth that someone can get fucked up, pass out, and will wake up with a hit (from Keith Richards to Chance the Rapper) dismisses the talent and hard work that art necessitates.
I’m not going to speculate on the true source of creativity. Nor will I dismiss the connection of altered states to it. But art takes talent, and talent is enhanced by skills. So, if you are into creating… get to work on your skills. This t-break is a good time to do it (like we established in Day 1: Stay Busy).
Challenge: Be creative right now. Doodle, color, write lyrics, anything…