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This may be a sensitive subject given the subject matter.

But I have currently experiencing significant writers’ block when it comes to writing my statement of purpose and personal statement for graduate school applications. As part of my research (procrastination) on how to resolve this issue, I came across some material that suggested that a minor intake of alcohol would allow the process to flow more freely.

Not enough to inhibit writing, but enough such that the usual inhibitions are removed.

I wanted to confer the advice and wisdom from the academia community on this subject matter, the pros and cons, the potential ramifications of such an action.

What are the effects/results of drinking and writing?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – aeismail Nov 23 '17 at 18:09
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  • Anecdotally, it worked for me in middle school. But I also reiterate, as others have said, it's "have a glass of wine with dinner", not "get smashing drunk and have trouble hitting the right keys"... – nengel Nov 24 '17 at 3:30
  • I don't see why this is closed: it seems generally applicable to academics everywhere, and an interesting question about one potential method of writing more effectively. – 6005 Apr 5 at 15:23
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Massimo's comment reminded me of the old adage, "drink when you want to, not when you need to", and I think those are useful words to remember.

However, I also agree with what rnrstopstraffic said, and if you have no general problem with consuming alcohol, try it and see what happens.

I don't suggest going out with your friends, drinking 6 pints of beer and 3 shots of tequila before stumbling home at 2am and scribbling nonsense, however. One glass of wine or beer with dinner would, I expect, be enough to get the creative juices flowing (if alcohol is going to get them flowing at all). I also recommend that you wait until the following day to edit and submit.

I've personally never written academic work after drinking alcohol, but I have written fiction after doing so. For me, it definitely doesn't improve the quality of my writing, but it does help me put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just write. As Inkblot says, it's a lot easier to rewrite and edit when you have something on the page, even if it is total garbage.

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  • Surely there is a sweet spot between rambling and reduced inhibitions? – Frank FYC Nov 23 '17 at 8:45
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    @Frank that depends on your alcohol tolerance – astronat Nov 23 '17 at 8:59
  • After having a few drinks it may be better for the OP to voice his thoughts into a recorder of some sort and the next day decipher any (coherent) interesting ideas and put them onto paper. – camden_kid Nov 23 '17 at 9:57
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    @FrankFYC I'm afraid the Ballmer Peak is entirely fictional... – Sanchises Nov 23 '17 at 10:00
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    @Sanchises but it’s got charts, and numbers, and red lines! – Frank FYC Nov 23 '17 at 11:17
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In computer programing there exists the Term "Balmers Peak" which describes the positive effects of moderate alcohol consumption on your coding skills as these requiere a certain degree of creativity. If this effect is real and what "moderate" means is disscussed here

https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/2795

which Im just going to link as I could not write it out in such detail by myself.

Wether this effect also applies to academic writing is not disscussed there but I can imagine so as both acitivities seem very similar. They both requiere creative thinking and logical thinking (thats why you should stay at very moderate levels of alcohol consumption as your logical capabilities will suffer otherwise).

Also alcohol will help with just "getting it out" which you mention as one of your problems. Just dont forget to edit it later while sober.

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