Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

Writers, artists, and all creative types alike search for a way to induce that oftentimes elusive “creative flow”.

But what is that “flow”?

I believe it’s different for everyone, an indescribable feeling of total “rightness” in what you’re creating. It’s that sense of knowing that what you’re writing or drawing or sculpting or painting or photographing (etc.) is not only “right” but damn near perfect. It’s the driving force behind creating something that you can be proud of, something so beautiful and captivating that once finished it rests near to your heart. It’s creating something that you believe in, something beyond amazing.

I typed into a search engine, “how to induce creativity”. The results were numerous, and range anywhere from music, to viewing colors, writing exercises, yoga, hypnosis, and so much more.

One that stood out to me is called hyponagogia (which you can read about here on a blog). It’s a relatively new concept for me, in which the “artist” or “creator” sits down with the purpose of just starting to fall asleep in order to allow the conscious to observe the thought process of the subconscious (which can often connect ideas and thoughts in ways previously unthought-of by the conscious mind). It’s a little vague, but the blog’s author reports that Mr. Thomas Edison himself used this process to come up with ideas for inventions and theories, as well as a slew of other famous artists and writers (even an idol of mine, Edgar Allen Poe). Now, I can’t vouch for this process much, but I can say that the blog page interested and intrigued me enough to decide to try it. The blog’s author informs readers that it is not dangerous or harmful in any way shape or form, and that with practice it can become much easier to do.

Colors are a little harder subject to tackle when it comes to inducing creativity. Some places say to aim for yellows, others say blues, and still others say green. And beyond that, there are stipulations as to which shades of these colors work best. One website claimed that if a yellow is too dark or contains too much green, it can inspire feelings of fear and sickness. Or, if a blue is too dark, it can become depressing. Most tell you to gauge how you feel after adding these colors to your workspace. If you feel too energized, cut down the yellow, or use slightly less bright colors. I can’t say certain colors have ever helped me with creativity, but I haven’t toyed around with them much. Right now, my office is a cream color, with dark green trim around the doors and window, and faded dingy pink carpet. I wonder if painting the room would help stimulate my creativity…

Music is another common tool used to bring the elusive “muse” out of his/her hiding place. You can check out an hour of music, made to boost creativity, here. I’ve used music before. While writing my short story titled The Dark Place, I listened to “Korn: Greatest Hits Vol. 1”. It’s a dark, depressing, and angry -but sometimes surprisingly energetic- album. It’s somewhat heavy rock, and admittedly not for everyone, but if you’re looking to create something dark or gloomy, it just might be perfect. Generally I try to match the music to the feeling I’m trying to generate within my work. If I want to write something upbeat and bubbly, I listen to some of my favorites from when I was younger. They remind me of happier, more carefree times, when all I had to worry about was whether or not I would have enough money to buy myself a toy. Or I’ll listen to something that just makes me smile. For me, matching mood or tone to music style is key when choosing tunes to create to.

Of course, there is always the drugs and alcohol theory. Now, I debated actually discussing this one, but being that I’ve mentioned it a bit before, I’d like to just express my feelings on it. My main problem is that using drugs and alcohol to induce your creative state can cause a dependence. No, I don’t just mean the physical dependence, though that is a part of it. By “dependence”, I mean that the creator constantly using and drinking will not only experience physical withdraws, but they will feel a stagnant creative state without the drugs and alcohol. I’ll admit that I have felt “that flow” after having a couple of drinks and sitting down to write, but the creator must be conscious of their use of such things, and use these methods sparingly, lest they end up “hooked” in more ways than one. Writing drunk has a strangely ritualistic feel to me, just knowing it has been done for years and years (and yes, it has been done successfully), by greats like Stephen King (who also used coke), Edgar Allen Poe (who also smoked opium), Hemingway (loved mojitos), Oscar Wilde (drank absinthe), and Anne Sexton (dry martinis). There are countless famous and successful authors and writers who were (or are) known to drink heavily. Overall, I think this method should be used sparingly, and with the utmost care, in order to prevent a reliance on an unhealthy substance.

And there are countless other ways to release or induce creativity. Just try searching the web. You’ll pull up loads of intriguing arguments, ideas, tips, exercises, and so much more. Try a few out, play around with it. Eventually you’ll find something that works just right for you (don’t worry, I’m still working on it and I’ve been writing almost five years).

Any comments, suggestions, alternative methods? I would love to hear how you all get your creativity flowing. Maybe your process will help someone else find theirs.

As always, I hope you are all doing well with your own writing and your own projects. I’m looking forward to hearing some of your input on this subject. Have a great day. =]

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For those of you who don’t know, as of the 15th of November, white tail rifle season started in Northeastern Michigan. It’s a wonderful time of year, when you’re more likely than ever to be run off the road by a bunch of idiots drinking beer. However, it is good for the economy (because we get lots of out-of-towners and out-of-staters), and I just love spending a few day out at camp, drinking, playing cards, and just having a good time. Besides that, I love hunting.

Rather than join my husband at camp for the first few days of season, I’d opted to stay home in order to get some work done on my writing. But, I didn’t. I spent two days farting around on the internet, watching TV, running errands in town, and drinking wine. I wonder why I do this to myself, all the freakin time.

Any way, needless to say, it’s been a rather unproductive few days, and I’m feeling it, mentally that is. If you write, you may know what I’m getting at here.

I find that my thought process works much differently for writing, than it does for almost any other task, such as speaking, problem solving, personal interactions, general pondering, etc. When I get myself into that thought process, I could write for hours, days, weeks even, on end. I could write until my hands fell off, and still be bursting with ideas and new things to say. Lately, that very thought process has been a bit harder to achieve. I think it’s because I too easily allow distractions to break my attention to my work.

It’s taking me a while, but I’m slowly learning the conditions I need in order to write productively. Here are those I can think of:

  • No cell phones
  • No TV
  • No conversation (even in the slightest)
  • Generally silence helps, but occasionally I’ll listen to a certain style of music to inspire myself
  • No leaving the room (Basically I stay in my office, if I’m using my desk, or the bedroom or living room if I’m using my lap desk. Accept for bathroom breaks!)
  • No people (they too easily distract)
  • No pets (they generally crave attention that I can’t give them while writing, and they also distract)
  • No internet (Unless it’s for research purposes, and generally I’ll only stop writing if I absolutely cannot go on without certain information. Otherwise it must wait.)
  • Alcohol (I know what you’re probably thinking, that it’s all in my head that I write better drunk, and that could very well be the case. However, I feel that drinking loosens my grip on society’s norms, allowing eccentric ideas to flow easier. Which, as a horror author, IS what I want. And, I don’t drink every time I write, only occasionally, since it’s not very awesome to start at ten in the morning.)
  • Cigarettes (Only because I’m addicted.)
  • Comfy clothes
  • Moderate/comfortable room temperature

I may not have listed all, but that’s all I could come up with for now. Everyone has different condition requirements for productive writing, so what works for me may not work for you. I can only suggest, and of course not all my suggestions are the best.

It’s my belief, that the part of your brain used for writing is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. So after half a week of slacking, I’m having a hard time using my writing muscle. This issue should be remedied, come Tuesday, as Monday I’ll be back on schedule, and writing regularly again, in my optimal environment.

I’m sure most of you writers out there have heard of this, but I feel it should be mentioned as I’ve been discussing conducive writing conditions. When you’re not feeling well (emotionally or physically) and you write, the reader will be able to tell, and your condition/feelings will be reflected in your writing. Basically a good day makes for good writing, and a bad day makes for bad writing. Now this is just a rule of thumb. Say you’re home sick, eating your chicken noodle soup and lounging about the house, and you’ve just come up with this marvelous idea for a short story or novel. By all means, have at it. Write your story, or at least get your ideas on paper. If I had to guess, the rule is more for emotional distress, but for me, sometimes being sick can bring feelings of helplessness, and that upsets me.

As always, these are mere suggestions (and not very good ones at that), and I’d like to mention they may not work for everyone, and everyone may not agree with them. These are only what works for me. How do you find what works for you? Experiment, try things, just do it, and you’ll learn as you go.

I hope all my readers are having a great weekend so far. =]

Questions? Comments? Feel free! I love to hear back from you all. If you have any thing to add, or suggestions, or want to share your own conducive writing conditions, please do.