With the kids out of school for the year, my writing is now done at night, and I try to juggle client emails, phone calls, and text messages during the day. “So, how’s that goin’ for ya?” Not as well as I’d hoped, but it is still going forward, and frankly if everyone wasn’t pinned at home right now, my clients would probably be less comfortable with my pace. #greatclients.
So, the grandparents have the kids for a few hours and I just finished a project giving me ample time to write up a quick blog post about snacking while writing. And yes, there is some good advice in this blog to keep you writing, snacking, and hopefully not packing on the pounds.
Your snacks should stand the test of time
Soup gets cold, smoothies melt, and salsa gets old. When you write for hours at a time you’ve probably realized that what you thought was five minutes typing away was really thirty minutes. When lost in writing, time has a way of sneaking by. That means, if you only downed half of your ice cream sundae before inspiration hit you, it is likely you now have a smoothie, or very creamy bowl of sweet milk and chocolate. Things like ice cream, smoothies, chocolate, cheese, yogurt, and a banana that you only took one bite out of are probably not great snack ideas if you are a writer. I’ll add salsa to this list because I like my salsa out of the refrigerator.
Do like bowlers do
If you haven’t bowled before then I know you are like, “huh?” I learned a valuable lesson years ago when I hired a pro to teach me how to throw a hook while bowling. Seriously, I did that. One time. I broke my ankle on the first throw. Didn’t go back. Painfully true story.
Anyway, before he showed me how to hold the ball for a crazy hook, he told me one important thing. He asked, “What hand to you throw with?” I said my right. Then he advised, “When bowling don’t ever eat with your right hand.”
Why not? Pizza, chips, hotdogs, crispy yummy delicious fries, dew on the side of a cup, all make your hands slippery and you can’t hold onto a ball.
Now lets move this same theory to writing and the procrastinating-rich life of a writer. Sticky hands, sticky keyboard, feeling ucky, those are all ways to distract you from writing. While a bowler only uses one hand – most bowlers – writers use both. So, that means snacks like Doritoes and Cheetohs (woefully sorry everyone), melted Snickers bars, pizza, chicken nuggets, donuts (sigh), and anything Totinos are out.
Foods that take too long to eat are a no-no
I think of all these rules of snacking that I break the most, this is it. With the kids around during the day there is not a lot of time to make food and eat it. So, I have (for a long time) prepped a large mixing bowl size of pasta which goes in and out of the refrigerator at least a dozen times before I am done eating it. This resonates with me now when the kids are at home or in school. When I want food I heat up the bowl, eat, and put back. This isn’t the best technique when writing and for the same reason as number one. When I get an idea in my head, the bowl gets discarded for an hour of typing. That makes for dried pasta sauce and noodles and probably massive eye-rolls and boos from my ancestors in Rùote, Italy, a small town in Potenza, Basillicata.
This is really a list of meals such as soups, pastas, salads, or anything you’d eat for dinner with the family.
Avoid too many bites
I thought of this one because a few days ago my three-year-old refused to finish his Coco Puffs (yeah, that happened) and the only way to not toss them into the garbage was to make the blllpppppphhhhppphhh-sound of an airplane. He loved it, and it got me thinking about what if there was an adult who never got over that. Everytime he or she ate they needed to make an airplane sound. #writingprompt.
Now, I think about this and how anything that requires multiple bites, barring say apples, wouldn’t make a good snack or food while writing. There are a lot of reasons for this, such as every one I’ve mentioned so far. Cereal and milk will soften, oatmeal will harden, soup will colden (not a word, Jody), and my beloved pasta bowls will have crusty sauce.
Shy away from heavy, spicy and greasy foods
So long General Tso’s Chicken. Comfort foods are on the top of this list, including the beloved grilled cheese. But, why, Jody? They are so good! It is because they will fill you, make you feel warm, tingly, and put you right to sleep. Yes, foods such as pizza, meatballs, fried chicken, and anything Panda Express will add to your combo are not good for a writer. Spicy foods will… well, you get it.
Watch your carbonation
Similar to spicy foods, carbonated drinks can cause a lot of problems while you write. The two biggest are gas bubbles that find awkward locations in your body and heartburn if you suffer from it. I do enjoy some carbonation and tend to stick with drinks such as San Pelegrino mineral water or Red Bull which has relatively low carbonation.
What you can eat! Yay!
So, now that you hate me, I’d like to end this post on a high note. Foods that you can eat are pretty much the ones that don’t break the rules above. Yes, they are rules; I made them that way. So, you want to look for foods that can stand up to time, do not leave grease or residue on your hands, aren’t heavy or spicy, and don’t take too long to eat. What does that leave? Here’s a short list including drinks and supplements that will help you focus better while writing:
- apples, oranges, grapes
- non-sticky dehydrated fruits and vegetables
- veggies like celery, carrots, and brocolli.
- jerky or meat strips
- Spray cheese and Original Wheat Thins – This is so you don’t completely hate me.
- low carbonation energy drinks – I usually stick to the oldie – Red Bull Original
- caffeine pill and L-Theanine. The L-Theanine at twice the mgs of caffeine will allow the benefits of caffeine, but reduce or eliminate the shakiness and negative side effects.
- I also take Alpha GPC and Acetyl-L-Carnitine for energy and to improve mental clarity.
Hopefully this helps in your writing-time food decision-making. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as if you have any fun, interesting, or curious eating habits while writing.
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