People assume that a writer must be best friends with a bottle of booze or has a huge bag of goodies ready at hand near their writing station. Well, so do Netflix junkies and YouTube obsessed people. I will also throw in gamers. I used to PVP on World of Warcraft with a 2 liter of Mountain Dew Voltage and a bag of baked BBQ potato chips. All the way from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and I enjoyed it. I was in my 20s back then and I was very active outside gaming. Wouldn’t dare do that now. LOL. But yes, some writers do drink and some do snack, and some do both. It’s fair to say that we all have our go-tos for when stress hits or we are bored, and turn to the things that make us feel better–even though that feeling better is really just our minds telling us we feel better when we physically don’t. So where am I going with this?
I ate healthier when I didn’t pound on the keyboard writing books and screenplays. Writing is a very absorbing career. You lose track of time. You let the house get dirty. All to create a masterpiece at around 300 pages long. You hope it’s a masterpiece. More often, you are your worst critic. You will look at your manuscript the first time and think, “This is perfect. My best one yet.” During the second edit, you’re saying, “What the fuck was I thinking? That doesn’t make sense. They have to go to the bathroom. Where is the realism?” During your third edit, you’re now saying, “Gonna delete this whole damn thing. I hate it. People are going to hate it. What a pile of dog shit. I’m not a writer. I’m an idiot. My dog could write better trash.” During your fourth edit, you have now calmed down (hopefully) and you begin to pick apart your manuscript with a fresh mind and be less critical about the whole thing–rather a few things. But I can totally see how in between edit 1 and edit 4 you are reaching for the bottle or the snacks. The stress of writing can in turn make your lifestyle very unhealthy.
This is what I propose, that can work, but it takes diligence. It takes strong willpower. When grocery shopping, buy healthy snacks. Have carrot sticks, celery, peanut butter (if you aren’t allergic). Veggies on their own don’t have the sweet taste like fruit or candy does, but with peanut butter–well peanut butter makes everything taste better, it makes a difference in flavor. It’s a process preparing healthy snacks. Unhealthy stuff is so much easier to consume in a short amount of time. No preparing at all. If you don’t want the veggie snacks, there is an alternative. Healthy snacks that have a bit of sugar and calories in them, but are still healthier than a bag of chips. Cereal. Be wary. Read the labels. For the most part, Special K, Cheerios, and Crispix are healthy cereals. Whole grains, low sugar, little to no fat, and low sodium. You can even make a trail mix out of it. This does require prepping, but if you make the snack baggies ahead of time, keep them by your writing station, you don’t have to go preparing when you are feeling peckish. Now, this does make you lazy. Because you should get up, take a 10-15 min break and in preparing a snack or small meal, that’s exercise. That’s probably the biggest hurdle, the biggest culprit for gaining weight while writing. You can exercise at the computer though. Leg lifts, a quick stand and stretch. It all helps. If your ass is feeling numb, you should probably get up lol. In conclusion, preparing meals and snacks is needed for optimal health while being a writer. If you must snack, stay away from the aisle with the soda and bags of snacks. Even the cookie aisle is dangerous. Head down the cereal aisle where there will be healthier alternatives. Yes, you can eat healthy, be healthy while being a writer. We just get too in the zone that we forget about the good food. The journey to eating healthy begins when you first step into the grocery store. What you come home with is what you’re going to eat. It’ll take time transitioning from bad snacking to good snacking. You’re gonna look at the good snacks and think, “I want a candy bar.” But that’s why you keep fruit around. It’ll give you that sweetness, the good kind of sweetness. Fruit actually helps with puffiness around your eyes, so if you’re a writer, you’ve spent a least one night at the computer with no sleep. Also stay hydrated. Forgot to mention this. And no, Gatorade is not an option for sitting around and sipping on. Water. Or organic juice. I’d recommend making your own juice, but if you need to buy it, read those labels. Real juice will have real fruit in it. There will be no sugar in the ingredients because fruit has sugar. Water can be flavored with lemon, lime, and mint. Hell, put all 3 in the bottle. So, here’s to happy, healthy lifestyles for all writers.