Friday, November 12, 2004

Diets & Writing

Okay, so I’m pretty sure you are wondering what a diet can have to do with writing, but in my world they have a lot to do with each other. (Smile) I’m always fighting the battle of the bulge. The ground that sees the most action is the belly area. I’ve spent few really thin days in my lifetime, so this battle goes on and on.

And where does the writing fit in you ask?

Right there with the food battle -- behind enemy lines even.

When I’m having a bad writing day, or any bad writing time at all, and those words just won’t come, I find myself escaping from in front of the computer to grab something to eat. I mean no one can blame me for taking a short break from writing to eat. Right?

I think that’s the ill-advised reasoning that started my problem at least. When I wrote freelance full-time I had a tight weekly eight AM deadline. That last day and night were H E double L. It was push to you die. Payback for every minute I’d missed writing during the week. No time for writer’s block. Finish or else! Still, the family knew I had to stop to eat. I was allowed to stop to eat. So I did, even when it wasn’t mealtime, even when I wasn’t even really hungry. I didn’t feel guilty for taking a break to eat.

I didn’t even think about it that way at the time. In fact, I’ve just really noticed it, thought about it, in the last few months. Now I can’t “not” see it. When I’m stuck or the writing just seems to suck, and I’m sitting here trying to force words to become sentences and sentences to become pages, I run from it and use food as the excuse. Someone who likes food as much as I do, doesn’t need an extra excuse. (Smile)

It’s great that I have found this flaw, since we have to find the flaw to fix it, but this means I need to fight two battles at once. I’m still trying to get back to my fiction writing, to a decent writing schedule. I have to become productive or toss in the towel. One of the two! Stop or go already!

So here I am trying to make daily -- or at least almost daily -- writing a habit again, and in the middle of it, I’m on a diet again. One seems to be combating the other. So I’m losing at one or the other each day it seems. If I try to write, I eat more than I should, or things I shouldn’t. If I stay busy in other ways, like cleaning house, working out, figuring the bills -- which should make me want to write when I see the totals -- doing the household shopping, bathing the dogs, even doing e-mail or working on my website, I stick to my diet pretty well. But once I put my butt in this computer seat and open one of my Word files to work on a manuscript, I freeze up. I do a few words, and doubts hit me. I do a few words and can’t think of what to write next. I do a few words and wonder why I’m wasting my time. I stare at the screen and do no words, and then suddenly remember I’m hungry. I don’t give in right away. I try a little longer, maybe get a few more words out, and then I lose.

I guess like everything else, I just need to take this one day at a time. Maybe one writing session at a time, until I stop thinking that being unable to write should be rewarded with food. I don’t guess rewarded is the right word. I probably should say comforted with food. When I find it hard to write, I look for comfort when I should just keep writing through the hard spots. All of those finish pages at the end of the day will offer a lot of comfort. (Smile)


Anonymous said...

Wow, Charlotte! You really hit that one on the head. Keep your chin up, its a tough road to hoe, but each day you resist it only gets easier and easier. :)

Terescia said...

Is there a deadline to when it's appropriate to post a reply to one of these things? :-)

If so, oops...

I just wanted to say that I have the same problem. When the writing gets tough, it's lunch time... or supper time... or snack time. :-)

The best solution I've found is having things like pickles (which I love) and fruits already washed and ready. Then I don't lose as much writing time, and I don't stuff myself with chocolate and other sweets. :-) It's a compromise between staying in the chair (which would be best) and stopping to prepare a big, tasty snack (which is bad, because it takes longer to make and longer to eat).