"Write drunk, edit sober” ha been printed on many gift items, such as posters, mugs and T-shirts. The one-line saying has usually been attributed to writer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), but has also been credited to the writers James Joyce (1882-1941) and Mark Twain (1835-1910). There is no evidence that any of them ever said it.
“Write drunk and edit sober” was cited in print in 1984. The saying was explained in 2001 as an “old newsroom adage.” The authorship remains unknown.
3 December 1984, Sacramento (CA) Bee, “Drying Out,” pg. B3:
Write drunk and edit sober, was the first lesson a veteran gave me when I went to work in San Francisco years ago.
Cats of Any Color:
Jazz Black and White
By Gene Lees
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
I have said repeatedly that you can write drunk, but you have to edit sober.
Half Crazy: a novel
By J. M. McDonell
Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press
Back home, I followed part one of Joyce’s dictum to write drunk and edit sober.
Computer Gaming World
My excuse is Mark Twain, who said, “Write drunk, edit sober.”
Introduction to Online Journalism:
Publishing News and Information
By Roland De Wolk
Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon
Write drunk. Edit sober. — Old newsroom adage
Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer
Interview: Allan Leverone, Author of Final Vector
By APRIL POHREN, BLOGCRITICS.ORG
Updated 2:28 p.m., Tuesday, April 26, 2011
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
Supposedly Ernest Hemingway said, “Write drunk; edit sober,” which might explain why writing is so much more fun than editing, although the wisdom of that advice is open to debate.
Zero to 100,000:
Social Media Tips and Tricks for Small Businesses
By Sarah-Jayne Gratton and Dean A. Gratton
Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc/
Our immense gratitude to Pedro Huyse and Rodney Holvoet at De Rotonde, Gent, Belgium, who kindly helped us maintain our mantra,“Write drunk, edit sober,” but most of all, being great and very dear supportive friends; we miss you both.
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Wednesday, December 05, 2012 • Permalink