Unordhodox Writing Tips 5 – The Write Diet

Except for about five years of my life, I’ve been a little over weight. Most jobs I’ve had weren’t at all physical and I have a love of food that goes above and beyond just eating a meal. I have a hearty appetite and I eat as much as I can as often as I can. I also enjoy a great beer every now and again. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with a good metabolism that prevents me from being far bigger.

So I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to eat to lose weight or anything like that. I’m not going to try and get you to change your lifestyle. What I will tell you is that what you eat before you write or during your writing session is very important.

Digestion takes a lot of work. By work I mean it takes blood and oxygen to digest food. That’s blood and oxygen that your brain needs to function and be creative. Eating a big meal high in calories will make you feel like you just finished a marathon. Think about the last time you had a big old steak dinner with potatoes, bread, vegetables (well, you probably didn’t eat those), a couple of drinks and thought to yourself, “I think what I need now is to sit down and write!”

I’m guessing your first thought was “I need a nap!” I know after I eat a big lunch or dinner, I’m moving slowly and the last thing in my mind is hitting the computer to knock out a few words. I’m lucky if I can get my brain to focus on the television for more than fifteen minutes.

So like I said, I like to eat. So what do I do when I plan on sitting down and writing? Do I starve myself? Please. You make me laugh. My body is an engine that needs fuel to keep going and starving your body is just as bad as filling up too much before you sit down to write. You need to keep that motor running.

When I’m going to write, I take a little time to plan out what I’m going to eat. Nothing complicated. But I’ll usually have a bowl of cereal for breakfast. This isn’t too much and gets my day started out. If I eat eggs and meat, I find myself already weighed down and I’ve lost energy unless I keep the portions small. Cereal helps me get a good start on the day.

A couple hours later, before I get hungry, I’ll grab a piece of fruit; an apple or a banana. Something quick and easy to eat. By this time my body is ready to go. I’m not hungry. I’ve got something in my belly. I’m comfortable and I’m thinking clearly.

For lunch, think salad. When I say salad I don’t mean something loaded with chicken or steak. I mean veggies. Perhaps a small piece of salmon. Again think small portions. Veggies, fruit, cereal: these are all things that your body will take care of quickly and with little effort. It’s keeping the fire going. It’ll help keep oxygen and blood flowing to your brain instead of your stomach. When I’m writing this keeps those creative juices flowing.

Speaking of juice. This is actually something I avoid. Unless you’re drinking 100% juice (or close to that) you’re only loading up your body with sugar. This is just as bad as eating candy bars. Sugar will also slow down your body and cause you to drag and put your brain out of focus. When I write, it’s unsweetened tea (iced) or water. No soda, no alcohol, no sugars.

Now I’m not saying you need to cut these from your diet completely. I will treat myself from time to time, but when I really want to sit down and knock out words, I need a clear head. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is by monitoring what I eat. Keeping track isn’t as hard as it may sound and it may take some work for you to figure out what is the write diet for you, but in the end you’ll find the words will flow smoother if you get in the habit and keep that tank at the right level.

With that said, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I don’t expect to get much writing done over those days as they’ll be filled with as much food as I can eat over the course of two or three days. But, oh my, it’ll be great. Once the holiday is over, though, I’ll be back to watching my intake during my writing periods. Keep the intake light and the energy high.

Until next week!



Posted on November 21, 2011, in Unorthodox Writing Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The same goes for reading…when I read I need to eat consistently light throughout the day…that let’s me read your awesome books without getting tired – but then again, you write so damn good, it’s almost impossible to put the book/Nook down! Thanks for the Tips J.R. and WOOHOO!

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