Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Friday, December 10, 2010

What I Eat When I'm Writing

Vegemite on toastImage via WikipediaAuthors are creatures of habit in the main: they stick to a routine whether or not they create it intentionally. My habits are a big secret, mostly because like my office, they're in a bit of a state at the moment. But that's what's so fascinating about different authors and the different ways they live. Just as there is no such thing as a typical actor or a typical painter, there's no such thing as a typical author. But they do tend to fall into a routine.

Mine, now that I write full-time from home, is pretty mundane for a writer of art history thrillers. I have never stolen a masterpiece, and have not been chased by a gun-wielding extortionist for some time now. I sit at my desk and in between paying bills, ordering class photos of my kids, and agreeing to meet friends for lunch, I tap out a couple of blogs, half a chapter, and the revision of an outline. I also edit and re-write, which is the bulk of my work. And this happens most days, Monday to Friday.

I also eat. You will find that most authors will confess to this habit, which we have to support in one way or another. One way is working with a keyboard and mouse in one hand and a salami roll in the other. Another is to plan your life around finger food. There is no way to skirt the fact that writing is a sedentary business: so staying fit enough to bend double and tighten a USB connection that's far underneath the desk in cable spaghetti-land becomes a challenge.
They tell you to get up and exercise every twenty minutes. Yeah, right! They tell you to eat a one-lettuce-leaf salad accompanied by a mug of green tea. Uh-huh. Writing is hard work - any novelist will tell you it's gruelling to take a protagonist and a friend on a wild car chase with stuff moving and rolling around in the back of the car and lots of hills and dead-ends on the way. Breathless stuff.

Good nutrition is essential. Here's what I eat when I'm writing, to keep up the energy:

Good, Australian egg sandwiches with a moderate amount of mayo
Good, Australian sausage rolls
Bacon and egg sandwiches
Shapes (no writer can do without Shapes) They are tessellated in the oven.
Vegemite sandwiches
Cheese and pickled onions
Oreo bars
Rice pudding

There's more, mostly in the way of leftover pasta and pastizzi. Then there's drinks: "Tea, and lots of it," a character demands in my forthcoming book. Yes - I must confess that's autobiographical. And some Pine-Lime cordial, which gets pretty popular around here in the hot weather.

Routine stuff, you would remark. Yes - it's hard to break out of a habit that's taken years to perfect, and who would want to? Food and drink are an important part of a routine, too, so one must stay disciplined and remember to stock up.

Do I include food and drink in my writing? Yes - for sure. Here's a link to a previous blog that proved very popular. Go to this link and scroll down until you see:

Food in Fiction

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1 comment:

  1. Well I used to much a lot when writing but let go of the habit when my waist had enough :(
    I do try to eat healthy when I am writing, reading, using the computer (basically just any hobby) but somehow I end up eating more than I intend. Also, somehow eating distracts me when I am truly motivated!