It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on Auxiliary Memory. I’ve started several essays but never finished any. I also started a diet. I’ve notice over the years that there’s a relationship between calories and the number of words I produce. Cookies, cokes, cakes and candy fuel my mind for writing. Dieting leaves my brain lethargic, suitable only for watching TV. And man have I been watching TV this past two weeks! I’ve seen 33 episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I had to boost my Netflix from 1 disc at a time to 3 to keep up with my hunger for more shows, watching up to 4 episodes a night.
The difference between being active and passive is junk food. But since I’ve ballooned to 237 pounds I can’t keep feeding my creative drive. And those healthy fruits and vegetables just don’t stoke the fire to crank out words. I’ve got to find some kind of discipline to get back into writing. Without sweet calories, I guess I need to learn how to push myself by will-power alone.
Of course, I’ve got to ask myself why write at all? Not to mention the fact that I’ve been mentally beating myself up for the last couple years for writing on the blog instead of working on fiction. Blog writing is like practicing the piano. It’s very good for mental health. For the last decade I’ve been forgetting more and more words, and even how to pronounce them. When I started blog writing that boosted my ability to remember.
Getting old has other side affects besides the slowing of brain access speeds. There is a tendency to solidify thoughts in old age, so if you’re not careful you’ll parrot your frozen opinions whenever a response is needed. Exploring concepts in a blog helps break down comfortable old opinions into their basic parts so you can start over and remodel the rooms in your brain.
All this new thinking requires energy and time. My best time to write is mornings, but Monday through Friday I have work, and often on the weekends I have personal obligations. Writing at night requires lots of extra calories. The obvious solution is to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning and write before work, but right now I don’t have that kind of discipline. My body naturally wants to sleep until 6:30 am when the cats start meowing for their breakfast.
There are alternative fuels for writing. Sometimes playing loud music can stimulate my brain cells. Other times reading an inspiring article and taking a short nap to digest the thoughts will get me to jump up and start writing. I’ve never had the mental energy to write like a professional writer, that is to stick to writing like working a 9 to 5. Real writers can write when they’re not in the mood, or when they lack the energy. Real writers can’t not write, but I don’t have that demon.
One way or another I’ve got to find the energy to write. I would be tempted by artificial stimulants, but my old body can’t even handle caffeine anymore. I know I can’t stop writing because my mind would quickly start sliding downhill again.
JWH – 3/29/9
5 thoughts on “Fuel For Writing”
My creative writing teacher would love you. Fresh meat for the grill. If you care to employ some of her methods, and don’t mind torture, here are her suggestions:
The 3 AM wake up call.
If you’re already up at 3AM anyway, then pick the middle of your sleeping period. Set your alarm, and when it goes off write for 5 minutes. It can be anything, it doesn’t matter what. Mine had a lot of “F you teacher” in it, and I still got an A.
Swap characters/subjects with someone.
This is actually kind of fun. Pick someone else, hopefully quite different from you, and swap characters/subjects. You’ll end up with something vhastly different to play with.
Get a writer’s block
You can get them at borders or on amazon. It’s exactly what it says. A writer’s block. Hard to live without.
Anyway, best of luck to you. ^^ I hope I’ve been some help.
I wrote most of my first two novels powered by wine. I’m working on the third novel, mostly without wine, but it has been much slower. We get accustomed to certain routines, healthy or not, and it’s hard to change them.
Well, I congratulate you on the healthy choices and echo your sentiments that it is hard…damn hard…to stick to it, especially when the body is used to those quick energy boosts.
We’ve been slowly making some changes in our house as well because we just don’t want to end up paying for our years now with really poor health in the future if changes now can help stop that.
“Real writers can’t not write, but I don’t have that demon.” I think they can, they just have cultivated the discipline to choose to write regardless of how they feel. They treat it as a job…doesn’t sound quite so romantic that way, does it?
It is interesting that you bring up writing and discipline as that is a lot of what I got out of Kabuki: The Alchemy.
This refutes everything I’ve ever read about nutrition. Would sticking to no junk for the magic 21 days work? What about sunshine? Does light energize you? What about riding a bike for exercise? Can your back tolerate that? What about healthier junk food? Dried fruit and nuts and carob? Turns you on . . . ?
Anne, I feel physically healthier not eating junk food, but not as mentally energetic. I’m hoping that will change as I stick to my diet and start exercising more. But as you know I hurt my eye and I haven’t been able to exercise much. Keep faith in me and I’ll try to do the right thing.