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Being a writer takes guts, a lot of motivation and a lot of hard work and hard work is well, hard. But there are ways to make it easier and that’s what this series is going to be about. I don’t know if you’ve heard of ‘brain-hacking’ but it’s where you take different ideas and different things and use them to make whatever you’re doing, ‘better’. In this case, writing obviously, because this is a writing tips website haha.
We’re going to look at
- How to motivate yourself
- How to have the energy to write
- How to write better prose that flows
You know sometimes you write and the prose is amazing and you’re like.
“O.M.G. I wrote that! How did I do that?”
Let’s look at how you did that. Let’s look at what circumstances lead to that.
In this part of the series I will talk about substances, and by substances I mean things you put inside your body to make your body feel a certain way.
No, I don’t mean anything illicit.
It’ll be things like;
- Health Drinks
In the gaming world there was a movement where a lot of ‘famous’ gamer’s quoted ‘exercise was a part of their success’.
Another profession where you’re sitting down, but it helped their brain processes in a way that had nothing to do with their skills.
What can we do to get your writing at its peak, with substances?
This is basically about optimizing your time, so you’re not writing something awful and then re-writing it.
The re-writing process is just bull, you might as well have written notes on a scene if you’re going to re-write the whole thing. It’s like, ‘why did I bother writing this?’ And drains you.
It’s not efficient; it won’t get you writing and finishing drafts as quickly as possible. You want your soul on that page, not a mistake.
So what will?
Almost every writer I know drinks coffee. I don’t know if it’s a thing, or if there’s any hashtag movements like #writerswhodrinkcoffee but it is something I hear a lot.
Writers in general are coffee addicts. But maybe you go against the curve and drink tea? (I do both).
Whether you are or you aren’t, there’s got to be a reason why many drink coffee and write, right?
Well actually, yes and no.
I’m about to break some hearts because coffee hinders the creative side of you. Yup, you heard that right.
If you’re plotting or trying to come up with a way to fill that plot hole.
Put. The. Coffee. Down.
Hand it over, it ain’t helping you.
You’d be better off tired and letting your brain do its thing.
Before you come at me with a hatchet, or pitch forks, or your writing pens in arms, there’s still a time and place for coffee.
Because you can totally get your crap done when you drink a cup. It stops your brain from slowing down so you stay alert; the fancy science terminology is that it blocks adenosine.
Grab a cup of coffee during your edits when you don’t need your mind to wonder through its imagination but you have to pick through the jumble of words that makes up your book.
HOWEVER, if coffee is integral to your writing this could be more to do with routine than the coffee itself. You can see more on that post here…Brain Hacks for Writers: Routine & Productivity
What about tea? Could you maybe switch to tea and replace the coffee with something similar for brain hacks?
You won’t like me after this blog post, but I swear we can still be friends. We can get through this together.
The truth about tea is certain brands contain caffeine, annnd caffeine inhibits your creativity. But there are teas that don’t contain caffeine, so not all hope is lost.
You see drinking a cup of decaffeinated tea or herbal tea can actually boost your creativity. Why? Because it causes you to take a pause. Mid writing you stop, take a sip of tea and your mind wanders through your task for a moment. Imagination then flows, ideas and inspiration run rampant.
It’s actually walking away from what we’re doing that causes inspirational ideas to come flashing into our brains.
Boom! A reason to drink tea whilst you write.
See we can still work out this relationship between us you guys. I’m not all bad news. In fact, we can still be trendy and on point with a cup of green tea (just don’t try the new Wendy’s stuff because I did and it wasn’t good, at all.)
Real cups of green tea are scarce, and costly. In Pursuit of Tea is a website that sells the real deal, if you wanted to buy some. You really can’t beat it and let’s be fair, it’s probably cheaper than a Starbucks habit (although not as tasty as whipped cream).
Writers from Twitter weigh in on their fave snacks for writing:
What if you’re not into tea or coffee? What if you like cold drinks?
Well, I’ve got drinks for you that will boost your creativity and cause that pause which allows your brain to wander creatively.
Smoothies Help Creativity
Berries activate BDNF which helps neurons to survive, grow and differentiate between neurons. Which is something your brain needs to think creatively.
If you want to get even more bang for your buck, add protein. I can’t tell you how much my productivity and life changed when I started taking in the right amount of protein.
- A handful of berries
- Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter
- Milk or sweetened almond milk.
Drink that instead of tea, and profit.
What Can You Eat to Write Better?
Diet is important. If you want to be the best, you have to put the best fuel inside of you. Boring I know, and not something you will learn over night.
I’m not going to go into the science of nutrition here, but when I picked myself up out of the ruins of my life, diet was the first thing I changed.
I use food as a tool to advance my life. You should get on board too, because it’s awesome.
I still eat cookies, and ice cream and snacks though, in fact I budget these treats in on purpose. I don’t believe in a ‘clean’ diet of stuff that’s going to take up all your mental energy adhering too.
We have bigger goals to concentrate on, right?
That being said, here are some awesome tools you can use to get your food to work for you.
Myfitnesspal.com – Start tracking your intake. You don’t have to lose weight, or be perfectly on target. I’d aim for getting your protein in the green if you’re just starting, and don’t worry about anything else.
Multivitamin – Do it…just trust me on this one.
Iron – Get your iron levels tested and take iron if you’re feeling fatigued.
See a doctor – Better yet, see a doctor and have them tell you what you need to take.
Dark chocolate – Flavanols in dark chocolate improve circulation. More oxygen to your brain? Better performance.
Complex Carbs – If you’re brain fog, try a complex carb. The first thing your body burns through is carbs, and they keep you alert and with it. Again, trying not to get too complex or I will end up writing an entire new post haha but trust me…eat some oatmeal.
DON’T cut fat – For some reason people still believe that fats in food is what adds fat to your body. I wish it was that simple…you could eat fat all day long, and eat way below what your body needs and you will LOSE fat. EAT fats, they help your brain and are necessary for creative thought.
At the end of the day, monitoring the times you put food into your body and what you put into your body is an important part of the writing process. Whether it’s tea, coffee, medications, or vitamins, every little bit counts.
As a recap if you want to try these brain hacks at home:
- Eat dark chocolate, carbs, fats & proteins
- Drink decaffeinated tea/coffee
- Don’t drink coffee when plotting/writing
- Drink coffee to edit
- Drink some smoothies
What do you like to eat or drink whilst you write?
If you want to read another part in the series choose one here: