Monday, July 1, 2013

The Writer's Diet

Many moons ago, in my previous life, I went to school for health coaching. I've always been a bit of a health nut (although not always a practicing one), and the thought of learning about how to help people live happier and healthier lives was one I was all for.
Health Coaching school was wonderful and great, but after a while I realized that I really didn't want to spend the rest of my life telling people that they shouldn't eat sugar and they should juice every day, and etc. etc. etc. Life is infinitely more complicated than that. And a million other reasons, too, which I will save you the headache of having to read.

A little while later, I decided that I was going to actually write the words THE END in the year 2013, and the rest is history. (No, seriously. You can just go back and read my posts.)

And so off I dived into Writing Land, and it is a magical place. The thing is, I kind of neglected myself a tad in the insanity known as writing the first draft. And I decided that perhaps it would be a good idea if I put all that vast education back into use.


"HAHHAHAHAHA!!!" I hear you cackling manically. "SLEEP? PFFT! SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK!!"
Sleep is also the time that your body rejuvenates itself for the next day so your brain doesn't melt into a pile of useless gray goo.
I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

I know. Your poor heart will never make it to tip number five at the rate we're going. But here's the deal. For the vast majority of the people reading this blog right now, it's summertime, which means temperature goes up, and up, and up a bit more.
And sweating happens.
And pools. And beaches. And picnics and barbeques and air conditioning, thank God.
Coffee may indeed be the staple of your writerly diet, but it will not hydrate you. In fact, coffee is known to actually be dehydrating- which means, after you drink it, you will need to drink even MORE water than you would have before.
Dehydration is pretty nasty business, and as someone who's been there and done that, I do not suggest dehydration as a fun summer afternoon activity, especially if you want to be writing the next great and awesome novel.
Speaking of your next great and awesome novel, you will find dehydration will not enhance your creativity in the slightest. In fact, dehydration is probably your brain's sworn enemy numero uno (besides all those mind-altering substances and stuff).
Dehydration will effect your short term memory, possibly your long term memory, your mood (hello, anxiety, fatigue and tension! So good to see you!), and your cognitive abilities.
(This does not mean you should never drink a cup of coffee again, it just means you've got to throw some H20 into rotation.)
What about when you don't want to drink any water, because you hate it/insert your reason here?
Flavor that water up, yo.
Slice up either a fruit or vegetable (or more than one fruit and/or vegetable), put it in your water pitcher, and let it sit there for a while. The water will absorb some of the flavors from the fruit, and your water will have a tad more flavor.
Some fruit that's great to add to your water: Lemons, limes, apple slices, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple.
Cucumber is also a great water addition, especially if you throw in some mint and lemon.

I know, I'm just filled with shocking information today.
We don't have to go through the whole song and dance of why eating fruits and vegetables are a fabulous idea for you, because they teach that in kindergarten.
Well, not the complicated vitamin-iron-mineral-nutrient thing, but whatever.
Eat more fruits and veggies. A lot of things are in season now (YAY SUMMER!), which means that it won't taste like freeze-dried nothing, and will be relatively decently priced.
Eat them plain, dip them in hummus (okay, not the fruit, that's kind of gross), and eat them when you realize that oops! You haven't eaten anything at all today! Which may explain your growling at people, even when there is no full moon in sight.
On second thought?
Pack yourself lunch, even if you're staying at home and writing. Because starving yourself for art is not really a smart idea. And then when it's lunchtime, all you have to do is grab your attractive brown paper bag and eat.

Okay, not really, but you need to use more muscles than just the ones in your arms. The rest of your muscles will not be pleased if you just ignore them for ridiculously long stretches of time.
A great solution is a treadmill desk, but most of us don't have room for one of those. If you do? Go for it, and make the rest of us jealous.
But there are other ways to use your muscles! (Surprise!)
And many of them include procrastinating instead of writing!
Let's see: you can turn on your happy music and dance like a lunatic, you can prepare for the zombie apocalypse by running, you can have light saber duels with your pals, you can swim (if there's a pool nearby), go rowing, canoeing, kayaking (if there's a large body of water nearby, and no, that doesn't mean your neighbor's Jacuzzi), and of course, you can procrasticlean (a term coined by the lovely Kelsey Macke).
Non-atrophied muscles! WOOOOO!!!

This is more of a mental health aspect here, which most certainly affects your physical health.
Being a writer kind of paves way for all the neuroses in the universe to come and take up living space in your brain, like some demented plague of parasites.
I don't even have to tell you why letting them stay there is not a good plan.
The absolute worst thing to do when you're drowning in self-pity is to do it alone. Find your friends and ASK FOR HELP. It's nearly impossible to pull yourself out of the pit of self-doubt all by yourself. Billy, don't be a hero.
The writing community is filled with incredible people- some of the most supportive and encouraging people I've had the pleasure of meeting.
Find your people.
Hug something fluffy.
Let yourself cry.
In. Out. In. Out.
It's going to be okay.

Now, spike your green juice with vodka and call it a day. :)

Happy Monday, y'all!

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