The Write Amount

     While I was bottling homemade wine and drinking beer along the way, a memory came back to me from my early adulthood. Back in those days we used to play a lot of Trivial Pursuit, the game of questions and answers, pies and colors. It fascinated us for two or three years, then became…trivial and unimportant. But during that time, every Sunday afternoon for a very long time, we played the game. It was during one of these games that a question came up and it’s one that had stuck with me for…well…decades.

What famous writer was an alcoholic?

My cousin, seated next to me, who was just trying to be funny, said, “All of them.”

Wow! Just like that. Everyone who has ever written anything, anyone who has ever been good, was an alcoholic. No one that had ever written anything had ever done so merely because the mood hit or because he was a good writer, full of brilliant ideas all his own. Just because they were alcoholic.

To be fair, there are a number of writers – great writers – who were alcoholic or, at least depended on stimulant of some kind. Edgar Allen Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald certainly wrote while under the influence. One of our own contemporaries – I won’t name the name even though he has famously addressed and defeated his demons – wrote brilliant books, one of which he admitted to not even remembering.  My point is to not denigrate these artist or their work, only to help us understand why some people might think that all who write are alcoholics. It’s the same way some think that all rock stars are drug users and sex addicts. It doesn’t make either of them correct. It just makes them perception and we all know where that goes.

I have to admit that I have written with success – at least in my mind – with or without alcohol. There was a time when I was young when I wouldn’t pick up a pen and paper or sit down behind a typewriter (Yes, I am that old) with any sort of alcohol in my body. Not so much later, I wouldn’t even think about writing unless I was drinking something.  These days, it’s either or, I don’t have a preference. I can write as well as Tim Keen is capable of writing with a beer beside me or a glass of water.

As always when I post, this is not a judgment on you or alcohol. I am not interested in that. I just want to know how you write.

(Ah, shameless plug. Tell your friends about those Kindle books. Unless you didn’t like them. In that case, skip it.)


Thanks for reading as always,







About timkeen40

When I was seven, I opened one of those little Golden Books (Lassie) and started copying the words down on paper and it set my soul on fire. I have been writing ever since. I don't know where this is going but I invite you along on the journey.
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13 Responses to The Write Amount

  1. Jane Sturgeon says:

    Coffee and silence…. x

  2. Laura Beth says:

    I usually drink my coffee before I start writing. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything while drinking alcohol. Now, I wonder. For me, I usually limit myself to one beer, or a small glass of wine, and that’s not every single night, either. Fascinating!

    • timkeen40 says:

      It is good to hear from you. I am a little more tame than I used to be. Some of the wild stuff I write is research. Some of it is not.

      Thank you for responding.


  3. prenin says:

    Interesting!!! 🙂

    I only write under the influence of my medication and let my horrors loose for a while.

    It’s amazing what people do produce while rat-arsed though!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


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  5. timkeen40 says:

    It’s a balance, though. I produce well with a few beers. I don’t know if I am actually more creative or if I am just more giddy over being creative, but it’s a great feeling. After that feeling, though comes nothing. One drink too many and my mind becomes mush. Coffee is a much better alternative.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  6. Beth Younker says:

    Hmm, I’ve usually tried to wait to write until I feel ‘inspired’, then write in silence. I can see where I may need to rethink that approach, and rather than feel inspired, try to create inspiration instead. I’ll have to see which produces the best results: wine, beer or one of my husband’s cocktails.

    • timkeen40 says:

      Now days, I write when I write. Having the beer is just something that hits me or doesn’t him. My best work is early in the morning with coffee and a fire, regardless of the time of year.


  7. Every one of the thousands of world-class lyric poems I have written has been composed under the influence of marijuana. I’m undefeated lifelong at any challenge to produce a flawless Elizabethan sonnet on the subject of the presenter’s choice — within five to fifteen minutes of request.

    The number of writers who’ve had recourse either to institutionalization or to self medication/enhanced creative stimuli is indeed legion. For astonishing lists please go to my sister site “Timeless Wisdoms” and dial up an essay entitled “Ill at Ease.”

    I believe one of the ways in which the powers that be keep the common people enslaved is by dumbing down our creative product and discouraging creativity in general, and that an important technique in these regards is the withholding of agents for mind expansion.

    Alcohol is used largely because it’s legal — to me it’s the most destructive drug on the street. Perhaps if we were permitted to experiment with healthier alternatives our poets would be less traumatized — and their works would return to understandability.

  8. Diana says:

    You are almost driving me to drink Tim! Imagine if some otherworldly brilliance lay there. On second thoughts I think I’ll just resort to my cup of tea and chocolate habit (unless someone gifts me a bottle of 40 yo port that is haha) x

    • timkeen40 says:

      I can’t say otherworldly brilliance does or doesn’t. I think the brilliance is there and maybe for some the alcohol just doesn’t get in the way. I have a limit. If I go beyond that, I usually end up deleting all I had written, which is kind of like throwing away your pets.


      • Diana says:

        And that’s a shame, because even a pet with a matted coat might be a keeper under all that shaggy hair!
        Take care 😊

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