FACT CHECK: ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’ — Did Ernest Hemingway Give This Writing Advice?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A Facebook post claims that American writer Ernest Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that this quote originated with Hemingway. It may actually come from a novel written by editor and novelist Peter De Vries.

Fact Check:

Hemingway, a Nobel Prize-winning writer, is known for authoring works like “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Old Man and The Sea.” (RELATED: ‘Eat A Live Frog’ – Did Mark Twain Tell People To Do This Every Morning?)

Though Hemingway did discuss his creative process in interviews, there is no evidence that he ever made the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post about writing while intoxicated. The saying also appears nowhere in his collected works or selected letters.

“He did not say that. That’s absolutely certain,” said Hemingway biographer Dr. Mary Dearborn in an email to the Daily Caller. “He, along with most writers, made a point of saying he never wrote when drunk.”

The expression may actually be a variation of a statement from De Vries’ 1964 novel “Reuben, Reuben,” according to Quote Investigator. De Vries credits one of the book’s character with saying, “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk.”

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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