Sunday, May 24, 2009

Coffee as a writing aid

There are some writers who think stimulants help you write better. I've heard stories about guys like Aaron Sorkin taking drugs so they can keep writing all night. Looking at the number of West Wing scripts he churned out himself over the course of a season, it kind of makes sense.

I recently watched an interview with Stephen King when he spoke with some candor about it, saying that in the short term it did help. To quote him, 'They call it Bolivian Marching Powder for a reason." He then went on to describe how much it screwed him up when he became dependent on it. Apparently he doesn't even remember writing Cujo, he was that doped up.

So even if I could afford to get a few grams of cocaine before a writing session, I wouldn't want to. However, there is a more PG version, and that's coffee.

There was a coffee maker at my old office, and I drank too much every day, and got dependent on it. I weaned myself off, and felt better for it. Now I don't drink coffee with any regularity, so when I have even one cup I feel the effects.

I have a lot of writing to get done today, and I haven't been productive this week. So today I used my coffee maker for the first time in at least a couple months to make a couple cups of Dunkin' Donuts Dark Roast. And it helped. I have energy, and I just finished the first pass of Act Two of my spec script.

I think the trick is to keep using coffee sparingly. If I tried to do this every day it would stop working. And get expensive.

For now, I'm going to take a short break, get some food, and go get my car washed in preparation for tomorrow (and because there is just months of LA on my car). Then I'll come back and work on Act Three.

No comments: