Brain Food

by limebirdster

I was at a friend’s recently and I couldn’t help noticing that his fridge was rammed full of Tesco’s lemon and lime flavoured sparkling water. It’s nice. It tastes like Sprite, but it’s about £2 cheaper and the fact that it’s called sparkling water suggests that it’s even healthy as well. So the next time that I was buying food in Sainsburys I picked up a bottle of their version and tucked it away in my own fridge.

You may wonder what all of this has to do with writing, and it does have to do with writing I promise! Because no matter how focused you are and however quickly your word count is climbing, if you absentmindedly take a sip of a drink that tastes of washing up liquid, you’re thrown right off track.

And not just for the second that it takes to screw up your face in disgust and try not to spit the mouthful out all over your keyboard. Now you need to find something to take the taste away, and also find yourself a replacement drink or risk the entire unpleasant experience happening all over again.

It doesn’t just go for having the right snacks on hand either, since doing NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2007 I have to have the programs on my computer open in a certain order. It sounds unnecessarily OCD I know, but after spending a month turning on my computer, opening firefox, then opening a game of spider solitaire, and then opening my novel in progress in quick succession, having the windows in any other order just confuses me.

I’m like a baseball player now, I have my superstitions and my rituals which needs to be fulfilled or I won’t write anything even halfway decent. If I turn on my computer specifically to type something up, I open the internet and spider solitaire first even if I don’t use either of them. I actually close everything and then reopen it in the right order whenever firefox crashes, which might actually be a step too far but give me the benefit of the doubt and don’t call the men in white coats just yet!

Do you have any weird rituals or things that you have to do before you write? Any snacks that you have to have around or your brain won‘t function properly?

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18 Comments to “Brain Food”

  1. Nope. But maybe that’s why I’ve not done anything much in the last month or so…

  2. Same for me Shannon, although I’m extremely fond of “Fish Frenzy” right now, last year it was “Big Kahuna Reef.” :O

  3. Coffee, coffee and more coffee … But I need that for everything I do. Perhaps that makes it more addiction than ritual?

  4. I love having my tea while I write in my journal in the morning. 🙂

  5. Enjoyed this post, I love reading about other people’s quirks. I have to admit that I’m such a sporadic and disorganised writer I don’t have any particular rituals (perhaps that’s where I’m going wrong) but I do have to eat before I write or I won’t be able to concentrate.

  6. I have a hot drink AND a cold drink. Maybe a cookie or a pickle or a bowl of dried cereal. I always leave my blog up “just in case”. I have music {i make a playlist with songs that have “inspired” whatever I am working on.} Also, a timer so I can take a break and stretch. Oh, and an impatience look in case my husband interrupts me which is a no-no unless there is profuse bleeding or death involved.

    • I tried having a hot drink, but I’d always forget about it & end up taking a big mouthful after it had gone cold! I always get distracted by music, I end up on YouTube clicking through different songs until I’ve just wasted hours!

  7. I’m not like that with any writing, though when I was doing NaNo I HAD to have my headphones, and Muse playing on repeat 🙂
    I work with a lot of different computer systems and those do have to be in a particular order. FF, then IE, then the chat system, then about 12 other things in their particular order, so totally get where you’re coming from here!

  8. Great post! I fix a cup of tea, and start in on my email. I go through and trash the junk, then I read family emails, the comments, and then posts. I can’t even write til I get all of that done!

  9. A glass of water is always next to my computer. It’s not easy drinking the recommended daily amount, but I try to do it. And if it’s not there or empty, I have to get up and get another one.

  10. There are probably enough “quirky” stories to fill an entire book. Y’all should write it.

  11. You weirdo! I reckon there are enough procedures that I have to follow at work that any time I get for writing is fun – unstructured and doing what I want (er have I mentioned that I’ve had ZERO time for writing since I returned to work after my maternity leave!)

  12. Generally a glass of diet coke has to be by my side….saying that I drink so much of the stuff that I might as well hook myself up to a drip! And also I hate to say it but usually chocolate or cookies. I think it’s the sugar rush that keeps me going.

    • Haha, I tried to drink less Dr Pepper by having the mini cans, but it just means my desk is covered in loads of them! When I was doing coursework and essays I used to just buy slabs of chocolate to keep me going. I genuinely couldn’t get anything done it I didn’t have a least half a bar beside me! I blamed the sugar too!

  13. No rituals or superstitions. 😦

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