Intoxication for Inspiration: Do drugs and alcohol unleash the muses? Episode 358

Intoxication for Inspiration: Do drugs and alcohol unleash the muses? Episode 358

We discuss the role of intoxicants using research and anecdote

As a former member of the “write drunk, edit sober” club, I thought it might be interesting to look at the research on alcohol, weed, stimulants and their effect on creativity so we can figure out what’s working for us, what’s not, and weigh the pros and cons of intoxication for inspiration.

I cite a few studies in this episode and, for the #AmReading segment, share a few of my favorite books on the topic of writing and intoxication.

A fun article about the Delphic Oracle in the New York Times

Research Cited:

“Alcohol Benefits the Creative Process: being moderately intoxicated gets people to think ‘outside the box.’”

“Cannabis Use Does Not Increase Actual Creativity but Biases Evaluations of Creativity” Heng, Y. T., Barnes, C. M., & Yam, K. C. (2023). Journal of Applied Psychology, 108(4), 635–646.

"Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students" Weyandt, Lisa L., Tara L. White, Bergljot Gyda Gudmundsdottir, Adam Z. Nitenson, Emma S. Rathkey, Kelvin A. De Leon, and Stephanie A. Bjorn. 2018. Pharmacy 6, no. 3: 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030058

#AmReading: Books on intoxication, writing, and recovery mentioned in the episode

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking by Olivia Laing

Home Before Dark: A Biographical Memoir of John Cheever. by His Daughter by Susan Cheever

Note Found in a Bottle: My Life As a Drinker by Susan Cheever

Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery by Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader

If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at www.mainelymemoir.com

Are you looking for some fun reads to pass the time between episodes? Then you should check out KJ’s Bookstagram!

Show me the Books!

Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.