Writers are typically desperate to find inspiration. They seek creativity like a desert cries for rain. They quest for the perfect undiscovered angle, turning over ideas like a grub-hunter turns over stones.
I know this to be true, because my life is much like that – at least, half the time it is. I’m either overflowing with fantastic ideas and thoughts about everything under the sun, or I’m staring at a blank page thinking my muse went and died on me.
I wasn’t even invited to the funeral.
I try the usual tricks to combat periodic flashes of writer’s block. I go outside to play in the sun. I take a shower, hoping the white noise stirs up THE BIG ONE. I drive my car in wide open spaces listening to the hum of the tires on asphalt.
Lately, I’m trying something new – and it’s working.
I Was a 70s Child
One of my most favorite television commercials from those years was that of Bill Cosby playing with a bunch of little kids. They whole gang drove around in pretend cars like maniacs, making all sorts of noise and giggling their pants off (Cosby included).
Then something terrible happened. Those racecar drivers would sputter, jerk, slow down and then fall to the floor, rolling around in some state of agonized energy meltdown.
Their cars had run out of gas.
Very carefully, very gravely, Cosby would pick himself up off the floor and explain to the kids that their bodies were just like that. Kids needed to fuel up each morning so they could zoom around all day.
This was serious stuff. No one was laughing, and I was riveted to the television.
Too Busy, Too Bored, Too Stupid
Of course, I didn’t pay much attention to Bill. I became a teen, way too cool to eat proper, regular meals. After that came adulthood, and I just became busy. Now I’m a web worker, and I simply forget to eat.
Web workers are people with some of the worst eating habits I’ve ever seen. Our perception has changed, and our sense of time is skewed all to hell. Two hours is a whole afternoon, two days feels like two weeks, and if you haven’t heard from someone in a month, they’re probably dead.
Meals? Real, proper, healthy, unprocessed, brainfood meals? Forget it.
Half the people I know are just like me – they forget to eat, skip meals or just don’t have time to grab some food. The other half eat all the time, snacking continually and not on carrot sticks either.
It’s stupid, really – because when we don’t eat or eat the wrong food, we tie up our creativity, inspiration and motivation in chains so tight the circulation gets cut off and we just burn out.
Like Bill Cosby said, we run out of gas.
Your Brain Is All You Have
Tony Lawrence mentioned something important recently in our comment section. Our bodies and brains are amazing machines. They make money for us, entertain us, write ebooks, design sites, mentor clients, get friends to laugh, tell stories, think up fantastic ideas…
Our brains need fuel. Food helps us get inspired, fired up, and sparking with creative ideas.
For seven days, I tested the theory. I grabbed a bowl of granola and milk every morning and ate it whether I felt like it or not. Why granola? Carbs, baby. Creative gasoline.
I didn’t do anything special or change my habits beyond that. I ate at the computer while reading my morning email. Some days I had to put up a sticky note just in case. For web workers, time flies by in the blink of an eye.
And for seven straight days, my brain was on superpower.
Just three weeks in and the results are all systems go. I’m less tired. I write easily. Ideas flow. So do the words. My creative muse wasn’t dead. I’d just been starving her – literally.
Food for thought, no?