Seriously, Try This at Home

Sometimes external influences are awesome for writing. Sometimes they’re really not. Sometimes only in moderation.

There are three things that do wonders for my writing ability when consumed in moderation:  caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Of those three, caffeine has the most positive effect on me… it is also what I can have the most of before my story mutinies against me and my fingers vomit letters on the page—sometimes they even form words, even more rarely they form complete thoughts. That’s all provided that the shaking doesn’t do me in first and I don’t end up in the fetal position twitching.

Sugar would be my next writing crutch. If I’m stuck on a scene I just break out the nearest bag of candy (typically this requires a trip to the grocery store at which point it is bought in dangerous quantities. Buying a larger bag means you get more inspiration for your money!) A quick sugar rush is usually all I need to re-energize enough to focus back on the scene. The problem therein lies in stopping. If you put candy in front of me, I will eat it until it:  1) is no longer in front of me, 2) has all been eaten, or 3) makes me sick. Option one is nearly impossible to obtain. It would require me leaving the bag of candy in another room and only taking as much as I wanted with me to my writing nest. Either that or having someone else there to take it away from me. Option two is much more feasible to attain and if I purchase a small quantity of candy does not result in option three. Option three, regrettably, is the option that occurs the most often and sometimes feeling sick isn’t enough to stop me from eating it, so I will persevere until the bag is gone. Or I puke. Option three is when characters start to die, usually painfully. If I’m feeling miserable, then, damn it, they’re going to feel miserable as well!

Sometimes a glass of sweet white wine or a mixed drink is just what the plot-doctor ordered to clear up the infectious writer’s blockage. It will tease me with the potential of new ideas that I normally would have been too inhibited to chance. It can make for great plot and character development. The problem is when one glass becomes two which suddenly turns into the entire bottle. Then I start listening to those dangerous voices that suggest that what the story is missing is a massive orgy, never mind that they’d either hated each other or never met on the previous page. Just like in real life, enough alcohol makes consequences seem pointless. Normal rules no longer apply. Things that would normally be frowned on in my story’s society are suddenly forgiven or encouraged. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a hangover than waking up with a hangover and realizing the two thousand words written the night before have to be completely trashed.

I wonder what would happen if I tried to write under the influence of a Red Bull and Vodka… too much or not enough? I’ll let you guys know if I ever figure it out!

These experiments were not tested under controlled environments by any sort of professional. Therefore I must give you this warning, if attempting, try it at home.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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