PDA

View Full Version : Can the writing process be assisted by drug use?



The Backward OX
11-15-2010, 09:10 AM
My creative writing has always been a struggle. And I am by nature an uptight person. The two donít go together. I donít drink. I wondered whether unwinding with the use of pot might help.

Thoughts?

jennontheisland
11-15-2010, 09:18 AM
Works okay for world building and brainstorming, but needs a lot of organizing after the fact. Prose is useless.

Susan Littlefield
11-15-2010, 09:28 AM
Backward Ox,

Whoa. Kind of both surprised and amused you would post such a question.

If you want a successful author's take on drugs and writing, read On Writing by Stephen King. He is against the use of drugs to help the writing process.

We all probably have areas we need to overcome. Forget the pot and sit down and write. :)

Medievalist
11-15-2010, 09:35 AM
The problem with pot or other chemicals is that they can permanently affect your writing process adversely.

I'd look at other options; meditation, yoga, physical exercise (even just walking or riding a bike). They work and have positive influences around other realms of life as well.

Try picking up a creative hobby that uses the half of your brain; painting, sculpture, drawing, music . . .

mccardey
11-15-2010, 09:42 AM
Ironing. Ironing is great. Ruv Draba thinks so, too....

Susan Littlefield
11-15-2010, 10:37 AM
I run four times a week totaling 15 miles a week. Gets those endorphins going, which assist in writing creativity.

The Backward OX
11-15-2010, 10:47 AM
I run four times a week totaling 15 miles a week. Gets those endorphins going, which assist in writing creativity.
I agree with this as perhaps the best solution. A writer friend runs, and his output is prolific. In my case a misshapen right foot prevents me. I'd taken up cycling as an alternative and now an arthritic knee threatens that. I'm running out of options.

Old Hack
11-15-2010, 11:34 AM
Sorry to hear about your foot, Ox. My eldest son has talipes and although it doesn't hold him back much it does affect his running.

Swimming's an option. As is walking: exercising outside is particularly good for sparking creativity.

MeredithD
11-15-2010, 11:39 AM
Somebody above mentioned King's On Writing -- it's been a while since I read it, but it also came to my mind, albeit in service of a different thought. He certainly wrote some of his most famous books when high as a kite.

That said, it seems to me that if drugs did help you write more enjoyably or prolifically, that would be a quick -- perhaps the quickest -- road to addiction. And King's history illustrates that point, as well.

Bottom line: no matter how much it means to you, writing isn't worth your health.*




*Unless, um, we're talking wrist health or something. Damn you, carpal tunnel!

leahzero
11-15-2010, 12:12 PM
Yeah, King has talked pretty openly about the damage drugs and alcohol did to his body, mind, and family. He got to the point where he was waking up in pools of his own vomit and afraid he couldn't write without being wasted.

I agree with SusanL that a good healthy hobby that stimulates the release of happy neurochemicals is best. Exercise would be my first recommendation, too. Failing that, tell us some things you like, and we can make more targeted suggestions. Are you an outdoors person? Indoors? What do you like to do?

Celia Cyanide
11-15-2010, 01:22 PM
Somebody above mentioned King's On Writing -- it's been a while since I read it, but it also came to my mind, albeit in service of a different thought. He certainly wrote some of his most famous books when high as a kite.

And he regrets it. Very much. He wrote KUJO entirely in a blackout. He doesn't remember writing a word of it. The sad part is, he loves that book, and wishes he could remember the moments when he came up with all his favorite passages.

gothicangel
11-15-2010, 01:43 PM
As someone who suffers from depressive moods and an anxiety disorder, I can't understand why someone would do an activity that would self-inflict those illnesses.

Pot is also linked to Alzhemiers. As a writer, do you really want to lose your faculties like that?

The Backward OX
11-15-2010, 01:48 PM
Pot is also linked to Alzhemiers. As a writer, do you really want to lose your faculties like that?
But look at it like this: I'd have something new to write about every day.:poke:

seun
11-15-2010, 02:19 PM
But look at it like this: I'd have something new to write about every day.:poke:

Yeah. And you'd also be very boring to your non pot smoking friends. Plus you'd turn into a complete fatty.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 02:44 PM
I feel like skinning up just to piss off all the self-righteous anti-pot people now.

Wayne K
11-15-2010, 02:54 PM
I smoke pot when I write. It relaxes me. I have a serious anxiety disorder and weed is the only thing that keeps me seated for long periods of time

I think its a case by case thing.

Oshodisa
11-15-2010, 03:52 PM
Try picking up a creative hobby that uses the half of your brain; painting, sculpture, drawing, music . . .


I can agree with this - I've recently taken up pottery (at the behest of my girlfriend). It had never appealed to me at all, but since starting it I have enjoyed it so much, and my writing has improved in both clarity and volume.

Still along way to go but I have something different that gets 'the juices' going.

KTC
11-15-2010, 03:58 PM
I feel like skinning up just to piss off all the self-righteous anti-pot people now.


shut up, heroin face.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 04:01 PM
shut up, heroin face.Snort me, you dragon-chasing stamp-licker.

KTC
11-15-2010, 04:07 PM
Snort me, you dragon-chasing stamp-licker.

you said the badness. shames on you.

i likey the snortsnort.

KTC
11-15-2010, 04:28 PM
My creative writing has always been a struggle. And I am by nature an uptight person. The two don’t go together. I don’t drink. I wondered whether unwinding with the use of pot might help.

Thoughts?


Seriously. You have to think this over. It's kind of like saying, "Would I be more productive as a creative person if I took up alcoholism or mental illness?"

Get a grip. Find a way to marry your creativity to the uptightness. I'm uptight. I'm flighty. I'm crazy. I'm bent. I'm unmotivated. I'm lazy. I generally don't give a shit. I'm hard on myself. I'm negative. I'm anal. I'm OCD. I'm a lot of things. That doesn't mean I don't harnass my creativity and make it work for me. I'm not about to start shooting things up my nose or veins, or inhaling things or drinking things in order to become a better creative person.

Rethink your motivation here.

THIS QUESTION YOU ASK IS A TOTAL FAIL ON YOUR PART.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 04:30 PM
Seriously. You have to think this over. It's kind of like saying, "Would I be more productive as a creative person if I took up alcoholism or mental illness?"Depends. Would we be talking about manic depression?

Yes, some forms of mental illness do make you more productive. I know this from experience. And no, it's not all unpublishable shit.

KTC
11-15-2010, 04:33 PM
Depends. Would we be talking about manic depression?

Yes, some forms of mental illness do make you more productive. I know this from experience. And no, it's not all unpublishable shit.


Whoa, sister. Read my post...I was being facetious. You can't 'take up' mental illness. And I know...I am BP. It's an amazing gift to my creativity. But that's not what I was saying.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 04:34 PM
I'm thinking of taking up mental illness. So there.

KTC
11-15-2010, 04:35 PM
I'm thinking of taking up mental illness. So there.


Yet me know how that works out for you. It seems like a big trend, actually, since the advent of the interwebs.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 04:41 PM
THIS QUESTION YOU ASK IS A TOTAL FAIL ON YOUR PART.

How rude.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 04:44 PM
That said, it seems to me that if drugs did help you write more enjoyably or prolifically, that would be a quick -- perhaps the quickest -- road to addiction.



The person asking the question is 73. I don't think he's worried about addiction. And if he's asking about shortcuts, can you blame him?

KTC
11-15-2010, 04:46 PM
How rude.


Sorry, Julie. But I don't think it is rude. It is a big fail to ask a question like that.

The Backward OX
11-15-2010, 04:52 PM
Sorry, Julie. But I don't think it is rude. It is a big fail to ask a question like that.
The rudeness or otherwise doesn't bother me. You post in a forum, it goes with the territory. But what I don't understand is how the question is, as it is so ungrammatically couched, "a big fail."

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 04:58 PM
Sorry, Julie. But I don't think it is rude. It is a big fail to ask a question like that.


Any question can be asked. As for asking about smoking pot, why not? It's less harmful than booze, and many quite successful writers have used booze to soften the internal critic. Are we writers to uphold America's failed drug war to the point of not even allowing the question to be posed by non-Americans?

Ken
11-15-2010, 04:59 PM
"Any musician who says he's playing better either on tea, the needle, or when he is juiced is a plain, straight liar. When I get too much to drink, I can't even finger well, let alone play decent ideas. In the days when I was on the stuff, I may have thought I was playing better. Listening to some of the records now, I know I wasn't. Some of these smart kids who think you have to be completely knocked out to be a good hornman are just plain crazy. It isn't true. I know, believe me."

- Charlie Parker, 1920-1955

KTC
11-15-2010, 05:02 PM
Any question can be asked. As for asking about smoking pot, why not? It's less harmful than booze, and many quite successful writers have used booze to soften the internal critic. Are we writers to uphold America's failed drug war to the point of not even allowing the question to be posed by non-Americans?

#1 I am NOT an American.

#2 I have nothing against drugs. I've used them.

The fail is in someone wondering if they should take something like this up in order to connect better with creativity. Maybe I'll be a better writer if I shoot smack?

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 05:05 PM
What Julie said about shutting up the inner editor rings a bell with me.

It's not that caffeine, drugs, alcohol, what-have-you, make me more creative. But if I'm a little bit buzzed, I stop worrying that what I'm writing is shite. No matter what condition or mindset I'm in, my ability doesn't change for the better or worse, but my perception certainly does.

A glass of vodka gets the internal editor so buzzed he doesn't speak up while I'm working. The same thing happens when I'm pleasantly sleepy. Not dog tired, just late-in-the-evening, chores done, my time is my own, relaxing kinda way.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 05:06 PM
#1 I am NOT an American.

#2 I have nothing against drugs. I've used them.

The fail is in someone wondering if they should take something like this up in order to connect better with creativity. Maybe I'll be a better writer if I shoot smack?

You've used drugs but you don't seem to be able to distinguish pot from smack? As for smack, William Burroughs might have something to say about that. Every writer takes his own path and discovers his own methods, and quite often drugs (including alcohol) figure into it.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 05:10 PM
"Any musician who says he's playing better either on tea, the needle, or when he is juiced is a plain, straight liar. When I get too much to drink, I can't even finger well, let alone play decent ideas. In the days when I was on the stuff, I may have thought I was playing better. Listening to some of the records now, I know I wasn't. Some of these smart kids who think you have to be completely knocked out to be a good hornman are just plain crazy. It isn't true. I know, believe me."

- Charlie Parker, 1920-1955

"When I came to New York in 1937," wrote Dizzy Gillespie in his autobiography, "I didn't drink nor smoke marijuana. 'You gotta be a square muthafucka!' Charlie Shavers said and turned me on to smoking pot. Now, certainly, we were not the only ones. Some of the older musicians had been smoking reefers for 40 and 50 years. Jazz musicians, the old ones and the young ones, almost all of them that I knew smoked pot, but I wouldn't call that drug abuse."

quicklime
11-15-2010, 05:15 PM
I agree with this as perhaps the best solution. A writer friend runs, and his output is prolific. In my case a misshapen right foot prevents me. I'd taken up cycling as an alternative and now an arthritic knee threatens that. I'm running out of options.


Not at all--you just need time to yourself. Exercise is a great way to get that time, and the endorphins may improve your mood and receptivity towards ideas, but you have plenty of options.

meditation
yoga
swimming
uper body exercises/free weights

many don't exercise at all--
fishing
hiking
turning the radio off in the car for an hour each day
killing the tv for an hour each day of quiet at home
sitting on a bench at the mall people-watching

etc. etc. etc.

CaroGirl
11-15-2010, 05:19 PM
There's no harm in trying it, I suppose. I haven't written on anything stronger than a half-bottle of red wine, after which I woke up with the pattern of the keyboard on my cheek. I'd written: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaa

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 05:20 PM
As an experiment, I volunteer to get shit-faced on Smirnoff tonight and bang out 5k words.

The Backward OX
11-15-2010, 05:21 PM
sitting on a bench at the mall people-watching


I like this idea.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 05:22 PM
As an experiment, I volunteer to get shit-faced on Smirnoff tonight and bang out 5k words.

But you do that every night!

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 05:23 PM
But you do that every night!I've done it once.

I had two glasses of vodka (I'm a lightweight these days) and wrote 1,700 words I couldn't remember in the morning, and they were good.

And yes, the book was published.

KTC
11-15-2010, 05:29 PM
You've used drugs but you don't seem to be able to distinguish pot from smack? As for smack, William Burroughs might have something to say about that. Every writer takes his own path and discovers his own methods, and quite often drugs (including alcohol) figure into it.

I know the difference between smack and pot well. I'm familiar with both, thank you. What I'm not familiar with is a person thinking it might be a good idea to do either in order to better connect with their writing.

KTC
11-15-2010, 05:32 PM
I have no problem with drugs/alcohol. I have no problem with writers who do drugs/alcohol. The fail I pointed out is that one would consider taking these on as a way to enrich their writing life. I thought that people would understand that. I'm amazed that some do not.

And in my eyes it's just as dumb to smack up as it is to smoke up...when you're doing it for the specific reason of enriching your creativity.

If you want to get high to get high, by all means...go crazy. It's fun. It really is. But don't do it to boost your creativity.

seun
11-15-2010, 05:34 PM
Back in my poetry writing days, I'd have a few drinkies and write a few poems. They weren't bad, but they were very similar to each other in terms of mood.

I haven't written any poems in over a year. Still have a few drinkies, though.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 05:35 PM
Sir Rowley? Is that you?

KTC
11-15-2010, 05:39 PM
I happened to be a writer when I was a druggie. I wrote while on acid ALL the time (truckloads of acid...not a little bit). It was brilliant stuff. But I wouldn't think, "Hmmm...I'm not hitting it. Maybe I should do some acid."

shadowwalker
11-15-2010, 05:42 PM
I guess my take on pot or booze or other drugs is that they are temporary helps (if they help at all) and can (easily) lead to dependence on them (psychologically or physically), which will eventually (one way or another) end that creativity.

Not worth it, IMO.

Julie Worth
11-15-2010, 05:42 PM
I know the difference between smack and pot well. I'm familiar with both, thank you. What I'm not familiar with is a person thinking it might be a good idea to do either in order to better connect with their writing.


Really? That's quite common. Here's a book for you: The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs (http://www.amazon.com/Road-Excess-History-Writers-Drugs/dp/0674017560).

KTC
11-15-2010, 05:45 PM
Really? That's quite common. Here's a book for you: The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs (http://www.amazon.com/Road-Excess-History-Writers-Drugs/dp/0674017560).



Julie...you seem to be misunderstanding me. I know that drugs/alcohol are a common tool for creative minds. I know all about it. What I'm trying to do here is suggest that it's a bad idea. Thanks for attempting to educate me, though.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 05:45 PM
Here's a thing. Imigran helps me write. Why? Because it makes the pain stop. So I'm using a drug to help me get through the day. But it's okay because a woman with letters after her name prescribed it for me.

seun
11-15-2010, 05:48 PM
Sir Rowley? Is that you?

"...mumble mumble mumble...AH! A GIANT MONKEY!...mumble mumble...LAUGHS..."

CaroGirl
11-15-2010, 05:55 PM
I get what Kevin's saying. I drink regardless of whether I'm writing. If the mood moves me to write at the same time, I do. I don't sit back and go, gosh this scene's tough, maybe I'll go sniff some glue. I can definitely see how this could hinder rather than help the creative process. However, if OP wants to try out it out once (maybe he smokes anyway; he didn't say) I don't think that'd be the end of his creativity for ever more.

Ken
11-15-2010, 06:14 PM
My creative writing has always been a struggle. And I am by nature an uptight person.

... you might just try writing a lot on a regular basis. Just sit down for an hour or two a day and write whatever comes to mind and just let yourself go or if you want, introduce a bit of structure by writing on a set subject, e.g. baseball. In time, that may help you be less uptight on the page.

Yours is a common hurdle many writers face, and manage to overcome by similar exercises: NaNo being the grandaddy of them all. Good luck and think long and hard before undertaking anything radical.

And for the record I don't have any books published, myself, and most likely never will at this rate, which is something to bear in mind when accessing my advice.

I'm just another wannabe trying to sound wise ;-)

Susan Littlefield
11-15-2010, 07:25 PM
I agree with this as perhaps the best solution. A writer friend runs, and his output is prolific. In my case a misshapen right foot prevents me. I'd taken up cycling as an alternative and now an arthritic knee threatens that. I'm running out of options.

Sorry to hear about your foot. Drugs may give the illusion that one is a better writer, or that one has self confidence, but that's all it is--an illusion. Drugs, especially illegal drugs, have adverse effects. That's why they are illegal.

With that said, have you tried just setting a schedule and sitting down to write? Have a cup of tea or coffee beside you will you write? :)

My guess is your are not seeing the other options.

Susan Littlefield
11-15-2010, 07:27 PM
I feel like skinning up just to piss off all the self-righteous anti-pot people now.

Nobody is being self-righteous here. We're just answering his question.

Wayne K
11-15-2010, 07:27 PM
Pot isn't illegal everywhere.

JamieB
11-15-2010, 07:42 PM
My most creative writing was done after getting my gallbladder out when I was taking Vicodin. I don't remember writing one word of it, but my beta readers loved it. Now if I could just find spare organs to have removed on a regular basis...

Jamesaritchie
11-15-2010, 07:43 PM
Pot isn't illegal everywhere.

No, but those who use it are the same all over. Stupid and boring.

seun
11-15-2010, 07:46 PM
.

scarletpeaches
11-15-2010, 07:48 PM
No, but those who use it are the same all over. Stupid and boring.So really, you just called Wayne both stupid and boring, which makes you, what?

Judgemental and overbearing?

dpaterso
11-15-2010, 07:52 PM
Ooh look, closed thread, I've judged you all!

Question asked and answered, no use letting it run on....

-Derek