The mind, drugs, and what the fuck does it take to achieve literary greatness?

It’s been a while since I regularly updated this blog. It’s been a while since I finished a chapter for the book I supposedly wanted to finish a first draft of by the middle of this year.

I follow a number of travel blog writers – some come book writers – who seem to thrive on the rigours of being on the road, acting as an adrenalin to their creative efforts. I’m starting to wonder if the constant uncertainty that comes from having no home base is conducive to my own writing.

Let me clarify that a little: To my own quality writing. I’m still writing a lot, filling my Moleskins with observations and commentary of most places I pass through. But at the moment there’s a distinct lack of quality and depth to the majority of my output.

Granted, my situation is a little different to many, always needing to worry about decent wifi every few days for my web design work that pays the bills. My ideal situation of getting lost in the Amazon for a month or more would take a lot of planning to make happen.

But I am constantly asking myself the question: What is the adrenalin I need for my writing?

I do know that getting mugged works for me. One of the best pieces of writing I ever did happened a few hours after being mugged in Nairobi. That incident obviously released the perfect combination of adrenalin and endorphins and whatever other natural chemicals into my system. So how do I achieve this same state without being mugged each time?

It’s an undisputed fact that throughout history there is at the very least a correlation between drug taking and high quality creative output. I guess no one can prove a causal effect though from personal experience I believe there is.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.”

So is finding the right drug, or right cocktail of drugs, the solution to my problem? For some artists it was simply alcohol. For others opium, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, a combination of two or more. What is the path to my own enlightenment?

It’s a fine line you tread when you rely on artificial stimulants to achieve optimum creative output. The line between genius and lunacy is a fine one, Marquis de Sade being one of the most obvious examples. I just need to read some of my alcohol and marijuana induced rambling to appreciate that.

I’m sitting here now, writing this after a few beers, relatively happy with my output, my ability to successfully convey the frustrations I’m experiencing, and yet… yet… yet… it feels like I’m merely scratching the surface of the turmoil I’m really going through, as if I’ve revealed my nakedness to you but nothing of what is going on below the skin…

I don’t expect greatness. I think it would be lunacy for any artist to expect that. But I would settle for very good, at least a more frequent very good than I’m achieving at the moment. But what is it going to take for me to achieve this? Is it an environmental thing? A drug thing? Something else…?

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