There are those that think that to be creative and write dark heroic suffering prose you have to be suffering. Au contraire. The suffering person isn’t creative. Well, the suffering person is just a person with the brakes off so if they are creative it’s almost by accident.
Same goes for being creative under the influence. Because some of your heroes were heavy drinkers or dopers doesn’t mean you have to be to see into their world. People under the influence are just people with the brakes off. Break down your inhibitions and you do stuff you normally wouldn’t do. That’s not to say you have to be wasted to be creative. No in order to be creative you just have to tap into your creative source, your subconscious.
I’m not a party pooper, I like to have fun and drinking is fun, but I’m here to tell you I know more creative types who wasted their lives trying to find creative inspiration at the bottom of a bottle than I do successful professional writers. And they went through a lot of bottles looking for it. Intoxication doesn’t make you more inspired. Drugs don’t make you more creative. They just make you think you are.
You don’t need to suffer to write about suffering, you just have to understand suffering. Let your characters do the suffering so you don’t have to.
Now you know as well as a writer I am also a hypnotist. If you didn’t you do now. I use it a lot in my creativity coaching, and one of my favourite hypnosis books, well I suppose its an audiobook, is Igor Ledochowski’s “Conversational Hypnosis”. It’s a kind of retooling and updating of the kind of hypnosis that the great grandaddy of hypnosis Milton Erickson used to do. It’s old school, but in a very real sense it’s new school as well as Erickson’s work was also the basis for what they call NLP. Igor’s programme takes you through all the stages of conversational hypnosis, that is to say hypnosis you do to people while talking. There is no official “trance state” but the person you are talking to is hypnotised. They just aren’t aware of it. This isn’t some creepy mind control thing, and it’s almost impossible to use something like this for evil ends, but it does make you more persuasive in conversation. Thinking about language in this way makes you a much better writer, trust me. If you don’t believe me have a LOOK.
My second tip is the excellent “Writesparks!” software by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ. (As WC Fields would say, what a euphonious appellation!) Using this software you can generate over 10 million starting points and kick offs for your work. I really like this program, and the only downside for me is I’m a Mac user and I have to run an emulator to use it, but it’s a great program and I am all about having options. For music I use about 4-5 different pieces of software to jog my creativity. On the writing side I have “Writesparks!” and a few other things including a program by Joe Vitale for generating Hypnotic writing, that is to say copywriting which is more compelling because it’s hypnotically based. That said Joe’s program is not for every situation. Shery’s program generates plot points and randomises characters and starting lines. It’s brilliant. It’s not the best looking program, but give me a tool that does the job and you can skip the paint job, you know what I mean? Check it out HERE.