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Creatively Stimulated
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Happy Friday!

I don't know about you, but we've had a disgustingly productive week. Me and Beth are the proud parents of little Foiled, who's now weighing in at 2 and 3/4 episodes - that's about 85 pages of funny.

Watching her grow over the last week has been a real pleasure, augmented by our sojourn in a lovely beach house near Tenby.

But don't be fooled by the photograph: 90% of the weather was what I can only describe as Welsh.

I managed just one morning of work outside in the sunshine and it really felt like the Vitamin D gave me a energising productivity boost. I wrote a whole 8 pages that morning - pretty much a quarter of an episode!

Halfway through my session, I heard a halloo from the steps below. The postman was walking up with a small package addressed to me.

Excitedly, I ripped open the jiffy bag, shook one of the small capsules out into my palm and tipped it into my mouth, chased by a glass of water. Then I sat back and waited for inspiration.

My stimulant of choice? Spanish sage oil.

I've talked about creative stimulants before - including psychedelics and hypnagogic dreaming - but sage is a new one on me.

According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, 50mcg of sage extract can improve performance in secondary (longer term) memory and attention tasks 1 hour after supplementation, and reduce mental fatigue and increase alertness after 4 hours.

That's pretty good for something that's still legal: comparable to caffeine, but without the shakey side-effects and insomnia.

It makes me think that I should do some closer studies on what makes me creatively productive. I am noticably more alert after intense exercise, a swim in cold sea water (a cold shower has a shorter duration effect) or after a good night's sleep.

The problem with any such experiment, though, is judging what constitutes creative productivity. It's very hard to quantify and beset by confounding factors.

Mere words on the page, although indicative, isn't enough. Those 8 pages could have been absolute bollocks. (Beth?) On another day, after a different stimulant, perhaps they'd be absolute gold.

If any of my clever friends has any advice on how I might run such an experiment, then I'm listening. Very attentively. I'm alert as hell right now. Seriously, this sage is great stuff.

So maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe sage is nothing much more than a convincing placebo. As long as it works, does it matter?

Thanks for reading! Now what?


Thanks for reading this little missive. What's next is heading back to London (hopefully not interrupted by an exploded car transport on the M4 - I'm saving my sandwiches til we've reached the M25).

Then I'm back working for The Bike Project, writing bicycle descriptions for their very fabulous shop. If you're looking for a new (old) bike, then I'll see you there. (There's £15 off your first bike if you sign up to their mailing list - and you'll be helping them help refugees get around London on pedal power too!)
 
** NEW FEATURE **
Inexplicably Popular on the Blog this Week:
If you've ever wondered how long Graham's scenes were, how he paced the novel from start to finish and how he used flashback to pen one of the best short thrillers ever written, then this post is for you! (And the 13 other lucky people who read this post from 2011 only yesterday!) (With added graphs.)

Yours with added Welsh cake,
-DC
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