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Eatin' Yo Spinach: A Celebration of Writer Moderation

Pink bowl courtesy of roommate Kody Keplinger :)
Please note that all the views about food (and, heck, writing) expressed in this post may be utterly flawed. Personally I'm still trying to figure out this thing called "Feeding Myself," and on a summer intern's budget, no less! :D

Living sans-parents and sans-college dining hall for the first time, I've been buying all my own food and learning some interesting things about eating. First of all: sometimes, healthy eating just ain't on the menu. I mean, who wants to be 100% healthy, 100% of the time? There's something about coming home after a looong day and chowing down on a bag of chips or a leftover slice of pizza that's just... awesome. (Piiiizzaaaa.)

Still, most of us can agree that it's better to eat healthily most of the time than not. Because as good as the non-healthy stuff tastes, in the end, eating too much of it will only come back to bite you, in one way or another. While forcing 100% healthiness and therefore being miserable all the time is neither fun nor effective (hi diets), shifting your habits a little towards eating mostly healthy stuff can end up being way more pleasurable and awesome (in the long-term) than any junk food. (Pizza, Y U disappear into mah mouth so quickly?? *pizza tears*)

Okay, confession: this post isn't actually about eating habits. But it's about something that kinda works in the same way: writing habits.

Procrastination. Time-wasting. First-draft fiddling. Complaining (to friends or cats). These things are all part of the writing life - just like pizza, Doritos, donuts, and fried Oreos are part of the eating life. (Well, the last one only once a year at the beach...mmmm) It's pretty much impossible to just step up and say one day, "Nope! No more procrastination for me, ever," just like it's pretty much impossible to say "Nope! No more sugar for me, ever." Also: when you 'mess up' and cave to temptation? Then it's like *guuuuiiiillttttselfhatred* - which doesn't really get you anywhere good, to be honest.

Maybe, with writing as with eating, it's all about moderation. But how do you build the habit of moderation? How, when procrastinating/complaining/etc. seem so yummy, so wonderful, and so available to enjoy ~right now~? It's good, when the urge to do Anything Besides Write For hits, to think about where the urge is coming from: are you tired, could you really use this, can you afford it? Then sure, go ahead. It's okay - no guilt. <3

But if it's just that you kinda don't wanna write right now, but you know you'll feel really good if you do, then focus on that part - that you'll feel really good if you do. A lot of people have the feeling that eating healthily is a total drag, and I think sometimes writers view writing the same way - as a drag, as that thing you need to do instead of something really fun and easy, like procrastinating on Tumblr. It's true, super true, that surfing Tumblr will give more immediate gratification than chipping away for two hours at an impossibly frustrating whole-manuscript revision, or [insert other, somewhat miserable writing task].

But... (Here's the big but. hee, hee, big but)

Procrastination and all the other Writer Junk Foods have a secret. They want you to think they make you happy, but - when it comes down to it - they actually make you sad. That doesn't mean said Junk Food is the enemy - just like pizza, procrastination can make life more awesome, enjoyable, and cheese-covered. But only when ingested smartly. When ingested too often, Writer Junk Foods trick you into thinking they'll make you satisfied and happy... and forgetting the fact that there's something out there, available to you for the taking, that's 1000x more satisfying and happy-making than a refreshed email inbox or another hour spent on Facebook: finishing that book.

Do you eat your writer spinach, or are you trying to build healthy habits? What do you think moderation means for writers? Do you agree or disagree with the above? Sound off in the comments! :)
Emilia Plater

Emilia is a YA author who avoids studying, food that isn't covered in cheese, and waking up before 10:30AM whenever possible. A bundle of confusions.

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  1. As a writer your obsession with it is like that of a constant tick that you just can't totally get rid of. It does something different to you each day - but never ever completely goes away.

  2. I try to go for moderation (with both eating and procrastination) but sometimes it's hard to resist temptation. I'm getting better, albeit very slowly.

  3. My eating habits are pathetic, but I do try to color coordinate my food choices. A bag of orange cheetos goes great with Reese's Peanut Butter cups (well, everything goes with Reeses!). Then I have my entirely "white" meals (I do have to be careful who is listening when I explain this): white rice, white bread and chicken. Pretty much my only meal that doesn't come in a package.
    I will sometimes eat a peanut butter bar that comes in a mostly green package with Mike & Ikes - and that is as close as I get to greens!
    I suppose my writing habits are equally disciplined. Luckily my critique group (all 3 of us) meet every Monday and I never miss and always have my 10 pages ready and always do my edits from their comments by Wednesday. I work very well with controlled structure, but set me loose and rules be damned!

  4. Balance, moderation, and a little bit of exercise. For food and writing.

  5. Good analogy. I am definitely stuck in a writing junk food, something I wouldn't do with my eating habits.


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Item Reviewed: Eatin' Yo Spinach: A Celebration of Writer Moderation Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Emilia Plater