I remember the first time I sat down to write after having had one or two beers, and the words were flowing through me. Could I use alcohol to boost creativity? It seemed unlikely since I was always taught that alcohol was bad, bad, bad for important things. But of course, I had to conduct a few more tests on myself to find out the truth. And unsurprising for me now, but very much so for me then, a little bit of alcohol does put me in a very good mental state for creativity.
I am absolutely not the first person in the world who’s discovered the connection between drinking and improved creative flow for writing.
Previous research has found almost half of the great writers had a history of drinking.Dr Mathias Benedek for Independent
But of course, the fact that a lot of great writers were combining alcohol with writing, doesn’t really prove anything in itself. You may think that perhaps their drinking and creativity were unrelated. Or at least I did. So, I dug around the great hall of the internet and found a scientific study done on the effects of alcohol on creativity.
Science on: How does Alcohol Boost Creativity?
This study published in Consciousness and Cognition showed that mild alcohol intoxication increases certain aspects of creative cognition, such as creative problem-solving. While intoxicated, you’re also more likely to let your mind wander, which is great for discovering new ways to tackling problems. It may give you the “swing” needed for a new creative idea. But at the same time, the study showed reduced executive control, which can make us less focused.
My personal, non-scientific experience is that a little bit of alcohol (no more than two beers or one glass of wine), puts me in an excellent creative writing mood. Especially at night with a pair of headphones on and great music. I experience my thoughts to be less all-over-the-place, and I’m less concerned by anything I may have experienced anxiety over during the day. I may also be bolder in what I dare to write about (since I can feel “exposed” from what I am publishing). Overall, I give one drink of alcohol before a creative session 10/10 stars.
PS. I may have had a glass of red wine before writing this.