Michael Lee West
Food for Thought
byon December 31st, 2010 at 05:31 PM (656 Views)
I'm a foodie and a writer. Normally that's a sweet combination because the brain needs carbohydrates. I'm also a fluffy writer, as in I-Can't-Button-My-Pants, so I'm dieting. I'm also on deadline. The last time I combined a deadline with 25 daily carbs, it got ugly. Then again, I shouldn't blame a carb. No one ever said writing was easy. Well, maybe for some, but not me.
I wrote through the holidays, fueled by chocolate, and I wish I could say, "Damn, it worked. The revisions were a piece of cake. The bestest."
No way. I'd be fibbing.
My first novel was published 20 years ago, and I've only learned one thing: My butt may not fit in my jeans, but if I don't keep the butt in my chair, the book won't get written (or, in this case, revised in a timely manner).
But there's a hitch. If you live with other people, you might be multi-tasking a bit, and your behind won't stay in the chair.
[I]Honey, I'm out of underwear.[/I]
[I]Where's the extra toilet paper?[/I]
[I]Did you forget the Smiths? They'll be here in two hours.[/I]
Your subconscious gets into the act:
[I]You forgot to thaw the roast.[/I]
[I]The dogs need walking.[/I]
[I]I need to mail that First Pass. Then I'll stop by Dunkin Donuts.[/I]
[I]Shouldn't I vacuum?[/I]
The cure, of course, isn't a lack of carbs but to do the hard thing and write (as the poet Marge Piercey says). This requires discipline. But discipline isn't a Constant Thing. It fluctuates. It needs exercise. Olympic skaters are on the ice every day. Sometimes they get up at dawn. They work through shin-splints and head colds. They may or may not consume Reddi-Whip straight from the can, but something tells me they don't. They are disciplined in every way.
Why should writing be easier? It doesn't matter if you're on deadline or trying to break into the business--all work is important. It matters. It makes us stronger, better writers. Marge Piercey is right: Work IS its own cure. And, at the end of the day, we can celebrate with a little faux sugar.
Low-ish Carb Cheesecake