Writer Wednesday: The Writer’s Diet

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A small tea pot filled with loose leaf Oolong

First, please note that when I say “diet” I do not mean “calorie counting fascism designed to make you feel terrible about yourself and trigger all your eating disorders”. I mean, quite specifically, all the food that one ingests — one’s diet.

Next, I do not speak for all writers here. I am only talking about me — the food that I ingest in my writerly life. And when I say “writerly life”, I mean my life, because I’m never not a writer.

Wheee double negatives in English!

Ahem. Anyway.

The Writing Schedule

Different schedules create different diets in my life. The first one I’m going to delve into here is when I’m writing all day, everyday. I wake up in the morning (roughly). I make a pot of tea and sit down in front of the laptop. I pound out words until my tea pot is empty or my bladder full (or both). I refill or empty as needed, and continue writing.

This pattern repeats all day, when I finally decide that I’m done writing and I need to get some actual food in my body before it rebels and kills something small and furry in a display of animal primalness.

At which point I will gorge on something meaty and then collapse into bed.

That schedule is my favourite, but it doesn’t pay the rent (yet).

The Publishing/Website Work Schedule

Otherwise known as The Rent Schedule. This is the one where I work pretty much all day on book layouts or website coding, save for brief breaks to play Angry Birds. (Ok, so Angry Birds is never brief but this is completely different because shut up.)

I have a nocturnal sleep pattern during this schedule, mainly because my internet works better at night when my landlady’s asleep (pretty sure the two are related), but also because that just seems to be the schedule I naturally fall into.

And during this schedule, I live off sugar, caffeine, and fast food.

I need fuel to concentrate on this work, because it doesn’t energize me like writing does — it drains me. So the sugar and caffeine. I work so much that I don’t have time nor energy to cook, so instead I’ll take a 10 minute trip to the nearest 24-hour fast food restaurant and get something from the dollar menu.

No, it’s not healthy. But neither is being homeless.*

The School Schedule

This one is over, because I’ve graduated (I’ll go back to school at some point, I’m sure, but for now it’s caput). It’s a strange hybrid of the two previous schedules, except there’s even less time to do anything and I get half as much sleep.

I stay up late studying and get up early for class. There is no time to cook or really enjoy food, so the best/most/healthiest I’ll eat will be at the campus cafeteria — not saying much, with the high amounts of food poisoning that happen there (this is what happens when you get first year culinary students working the kitchens). Also expensive, so about half-way through the semester I stop eating, pretty much. Except for KD and Mr. Noodle.

I live off coffee, tea, and sugar during school. I would take caffeine pills to supplement, but they cause instant migraines.

During this schedule, the rent is paid by student loans, and very little non-class-specific writing gets done.

What the Future Holds

I hope that someday I can be on a permanent Writing Schedule, with some tweaks. Mainly, I’ll earn enough money that I can hire a personal assistant to remind me when I need to eat so I can get square meals each day, and to tell me to cut down on my tea intake lest I over-herbalize myself. This personal assistant will also arrange for meals to be cooked and brought to me, so I don’t have to step away from the laptop for too long.

I will also only write 5 days a week, like an actual job. I will have weekends off and spend them with family and friends, doing absolutely nothing.

*That’s not a jab at homeless people in general, just a note on how I would adapt to being homeless. Not well.

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