Anxiety is My #1 Productivity Killer—Here's How I Cope
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Writing isn’t something I can just force myself to do. I’ll take on assignments from time to time. But for the most part, I can sit for hours, staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor, with no hope of getting the opening paragraph done anytime soon.
That was until one of my animation professors suggested a couple of glasses of a nice merlot to get us started on our storyboarding assignment. Writing and drawing were two things that were always easier after a couple glasses of wine.
That might be fine for most people, but my partner and housemates weren’t most people. Our conversations over a glass of wine, and later, whiskey, degraded into planning for the zombie apocalypse and setting up underground bunkers.
At the end of the week, several nights before our assignment was due, we had a completed script and storyboard and only had to get with the animation team for the next week’s assignment. It was horrible, to say the least.
(But it has zombies, so it’ll be fine. —Classmate’s Logic)
While I’ll agree, it’s much easier to write after a glass of wine, we found our inspiration elsewhere. And it had nothing to do with how much we had to drink.
Later that Night…
There are few things I hate more than being woken up to the racket of shattering glass and someone trying to crash through my door.
For a few seconds, I thought I was in the middle of a bad dream. I reluctantly rolled out of bed, pressed my ear to the door, listening for something else to happen.
So, I slowly unlocked my door, cracked it open. I saw Tim on the other side of the banister, also peeking around a cracked door with a look somewhere between bewilderment and “can we just go back to sleep now?”
Our other upstairs housemate (we’ll just call him Bob) was nowhere to be seen. His door was flung open, jacket lying on the floor, and something that looked like blood smeared all over the wall before the staircase.
We made our way to the staircase, following the red splotches on the carpet down the stairs. There sat our missing roommate on the intermediate landing, rocking back and forth, cradling…an ivy?
Yes, that was an ivy he was holding, cradling and caressing it, hushing us as we approached so we wouldn’t wake it.
Our downstairs housemate had awoken at this point, advancing a few stairs up to show us a broken wine glass and some 10 mg Ambien tablets. So, not blood, but a glass of wine that was dropped down the stairs in favor of the poor ivy plant.
We made our way downstairs to see the rest of the aftermath. Dirt, everywhere. Wine, all over the stairs and wall. Broken glass pieces scattered about. Dents in the wall in several places, across the wall from my door and in various parts of the wall as we moved down the stairs. The dogs were huddled in a corner on the couch, ears and tails tucked tightly against them.
I tried to coax Bob down the stairs and get the ivy away, but he wouldn’t have it. He kept whispering, “Shhh, she’s asleep. You’ll wake her up!”
Needless to say, we didn’t use the crappy zombie story my friend had written. We opted for a murder story involving an invasive plant species that took over people’s brains and drove them mad.
On Writing and Wine
But in all seriousness—cut the whiskey, Ambien, and the mishap with the ivy out of the picture, and a glass or two of alcohol can do wonders for your writing. (And not just by creating scenarios that inspire writing.)
For those of us that tend to think quickly and over-analyze, alcohol (or in some cases, a state of mind similar to when you first wake up in a daze) can be helpful to writing. Specifically creative and editorial writing that doesn’t require us to be analytical.
In a “normal” state of mind, we filter out everything we think we don’t need. This is great for analytical problem-solving and things that require a focus, but a hindrance when it comes to problems that require thinking outside the box. (This study goes into a bit more detail on the effects alcohol can have on creative problem-solving.)
A little bit to drink, and we start losing filters—both mentally and verbally. A lot of times, that’s exactly what we need to get an article started, especially if you’re feeling pressured. The lack of a filter can help with getting your thoughts and ideas down. Too much, and well, you know…