Marijuana: Does It Make You A Better Writer?

 

marijuana

I have a confession to make. For the last twenty odd years, I have been smoking weed every night of the week.

I also confess to loving it.

I don’t drink or do any other drugs (any more), so smoking weed is like my one “vice”, although I don’t think of smoking weed as a vice. I don’t really think of it as anything, to be honest. It’s just something I do and enjoy.

Weed helps me relax and unwind in the evenings. It helps to unfold my brain from the often tight knot that it has become. It also helps to expand my awareness, especially my inner awareness.

Marijuana helps me to connect with myself.

I spoke in my last article about the importance of connecting with what is real via loving relationships, practicing stillness, surrounding yourself with nature and being creative.

Well guess what? Marijuana can help you do all those things better.

I am not saying marijuana is an elixir for all your ills. It is a wondrous plant with many amazing proprieties and applications, but it is not the answer to all your problems.

Problems do not go away just because you are stoned. Alright, some of them do, especially emotional problems, if you are feeling pent up. But your real life problems like debts etc. unfortunately still remain.

What marijuana does, is expand your consciousness more than what you would experience if you were not stoned. It helps to accentuate your experience, allows you to feel things more deeply.

As an example, ask anyone who has had sex while stoned on weed what it was like. Watch the instant smile spread across their face as they think about it. See the sparkle in their eye as they recall their experiences in their minds. That should tell you all you need to know.

But what about creativity? Does smoking weed make you more creative? Can it make you a better a writer?

Drawing from my own experience, I believe that marijuana can make you a better writer, in some respects at least, which I will discuss in a moment.

What marijuana certainly will not do, is make you a creative person if you were not a creative person before you smoked that joint.

Like I said, marijuana will only enhance what is already there. It melts away some of the barriers that might be holding your sense of creativity back, like negative emotions or stress, making it easier for you to connect with your creative self.

If you are a shit writer, smoking weed will likely not make you any better. Only practice will make you a better writer.

I was pleasantly surprised when I recently learned that mega selling Jack Reacher creator, Lee Childs, admitted to smoking weed five nights a week for the last forty-four years. He never struck me as the stoner type, but then who does? I don’t look like a fucking stoner. Look at my profile pic if you don’t believe me. On second thoughts, don’t…

lee child weed

My point is that marijuana may just have helped Lee Childs become one of the worlds biggest selling writers. Would he have got there if he didn’t smoke weed? Hard to say without knowing the full extent of his relationship with the weed. Does he write while stoned, for instance? If he does, then it wouldn’t be a major leap to say that he may not have written books that were as good, or even the same books.

I can only speak to my own experience, so here are the two best things about writing while stoned for me:

 

1. Being Stoned Helps Me Relax Into A State Of Creative Flow

This is probably the biggest benefit to me smoking weed while writing. When I’m stoned, I find it much easier to relax and let the words flow.

When I’m stoned, my inner critic is somewhere else, probably passed out from the fumes. Good. I don’t need my inner critic when I’m writing first drafts. I just need to get the words out, and weed helps me do that.

My last half a dozen books have been written while I was stoned. And by the way, all those books are well reviewed and continue to earn me money each month, so it’s not like I’m writing shit.

My policy is: write stoned, edit sober.

I write at night and edit during the day. I only smoke at night.

That will change soon though, when I adopt a new regime that will involve writing during the day, the early morning mostly. I’ll be interested to see how it goes, not writing stoned. If I find things aren’t as good, I will smoke a joint before I start, to see if that changes things. It will be an interesting experiment.

 

2. Being Stoned Helps Open Up My Imagination And Helps Me Make Connections

Marijuana is great for helping you make connections between things in your mind.

Because weed tends to relax you physically, your mind soon follows suit and you get a really calm feeling come over you. At that point, your mind begins to loosen, allowing the neurons in your brain to connect more freely, and without much overbearing  conscious control by your inner critic.

Is any of that based on science? I don’t fucking know. That’s just how it all feels to me.

As a fiction writer, I write dark urban fantasy. My last two books have been set in Hell. That took a considerable stretch of my imagination. I’m not sure I would have managed it successfully if I wasn’t stoned while writing.

Of course, my subconscious has a lot to do with my creative output. My subconscious generates ideas for me and guides me when I’m writing. It does all the hard work, to be honest. I mainly just type.

But smoking weed can help grease the gears of the subconscious machine.

Stephen King refers to the subconscious as “the boys in the basement”. The guys in my basement get stoned every night before going to work. And by the way, King is also an advocate of the weed, and is quoted as saying:

“I think that marijuana should not only be legal, I think it should be a cottage industry.”

 

So Does Weed Make You A Better Writer Or Not?

Yes and no.

Yes it can help get you into that creative zone more easily, helping you relax into a state of creative flow. It can also expand your awareness of things, opening up your imagination and helping you make more connections.

No it does not make you a better writer, per se. What makes you a better is writing all the time. Practice. Thinking about the art and craft of writing all the time. Thinking about your ideas and stories and characters all the time. Dedicating yourself to becoming a better writer, and putting in the work to get there. Staying the course. That’s what makes you a better writer, first and foremost.

The only way to truly know if smoking weed makes you a better writer, is to get stoned and find out for yourself. As with all things like this, your own experience is what counts, not what I or anyone else says about it.

And on that note, I’m off to roll a joint…

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7 thoughts on “Marijuana: Does It Make You A Better Writer?

  1. Hi Neal!

    Thank you so much for this awesome post! It’s about the time to clarify the healthy relationship between writing and smoking da herb. I agree wholeheartedly with your great summary: “Write stoned, edit sober.” As a writer myself, smoking occasionally weed can truly help clearing the writing process and open knots in the script.

    You’re a brave lad, thank you!

    Yours
    Email guy

    • Thanks dude! There is still a lot of stigma attached to marijuana, even though there are many worse things in the world, like alchohol for instance, which fucks up many thousands of lives every year. How many lives has marijuana fucked up again? How many people have died from smoking a joint? That’s right…none! Still, each to their own.

  2. I couldn’t agree more to this article! I know that some people use marijuana for abuse and think that it will help them forget their problems all the way but the truth is after you get sober, it won’t. Also I know a few writers as well as artists who uses marijuana for one purpose only, to expand their imagination.

    This is a rad but daring article! Can’t help but share this article 🙂

    • Thanks Tim! Weed is open to abuse like anything else, but used sensibly it can be a real aid to creativity. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Neal, this is a marvelous article, as always!

    My favorite thing smoking marijuana is that it helps me relax altogether, and for someone who panics a lot, this thing is a great big help. Also, I don’t look like a stoner, contrary to the popular belief about people who uses weeds, I actually look healthy.

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