Disclaimer: author has never actually appeared on the NY Times bestselling list and her advice should therefore be completely disregarded by any sane human being.
Open up any magazine and you’ll see diet advice. And I don’t just mean dieting-to-lose-weight advice. I’m talking about article after article telling you that eating the right foods will pretty much make you into the person you want to be. Things like, “This diet will make you stronger!” “Eat right for more energy!” “Here’s what you should be snacking on to sleep better at night!” “These foods can improve your sex life!” and so on.
So it stands to reason that eating the right foods can also make you a better, more focused, more productive, more publishable, more bestselling author. (And by “reason,” I mean the exact opposite.) Since my goal on this blog is to help fledgling writers earn their wings (while maybe slipping a tiny bit of self-promotion in along the way), I’m going to share with you my new invention:
The Bestselling Writer’s Diet.
If you observe the following dietary guidelines, I personally guarantee that you will have a NY Times bestselling novel by next year. (Note: results not guaranteed.)
Here is the easy to follow diet that will have you writing like Stephen King, Jennifer Weiner, and John Grisham all rolled up in one bouncy rubber ball:
1. Ingest coffee whenever, wherever, however you can. I myself have an electric coffee maker, two french presses, a cup-top filter system, a percolator, a huge samovar, several packets of Starbucks Via and a container of Trader Joe’s instant coffee all taking up valuable kitchen real estate at this very moment, and I’m not afraid to use any one of them at a moment’s notice.
Why is coffee so crucial to an author’s success? If you’ve ever sat in front of a computer and stared at an MS-Word doc for more than a minute, you know why. The brain reverts to doze-mode the second it sees the words “document elements” at the top of the screen. You need a quick high.
Plus, drinking cup after cup of coffee gives you an excuse to eat:
2. Pastries. The most important food group. You need coffee and coffee needs pastry. It’s as simple as that. Of course, within the pastry genre, you have a lot of choice. I am at this moment debating between chocolate chip yeast cakes (think fluffier, less sweet cinnamon rolls), which I make in large amounts and freeze so I can defrost them one at a time, a pan full of chocolate chip cookie cake that’s on top of my oven, and a bag of breakfast cookies (oats, dried fruit and, yes, chocolate chips) with my name on them.
I also–out of curiosity–just counted the number of brownies mixes currently on my pantry shelves and–this is true–there are over FIFTEEN of them. I clearly live in terror that I might one day run out and NOT be able to whip together a batch of brownies at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, that will never happen.
But don’t be reckless. Brownies can only be eaten after noon. Before that, you must get your sugar and chocolate in something that sounds vaguely breakfast like. Anything with the words, “bun,” “biscuit,” or “roll” qualifies.
3. Protein, protein, protein. By now, you’re thinking, “Come on, Claire, I know my basic science. You need protein in your diet or you get all wimpy and tired.” You know what? You’re right. You DO need protein. Which is why you should either a) spread peanut butter on one of your pastries or b) throw some nuts into your brownies. Nuts and legumes are excellent sources of protein.
Now we’re cooking with gas. You feeling the energy?
4. Getting over that mid-afternoon hump. Morning gives you an excuse to drink lots of coffee. Evening is cocktail hour. (More on that later.) What’s good about the afternoon? Nothing. That’s why you should forget about eating or writing and take a nice long nap. When you wake up, it’s a good time to have another cup of coffee and a pastry. Nice, right? Like you’ve just bought yourself a brand new day.
5. Your evening meal. So you’ve gotten through the day buzzed on caffeine and nourished by sugar and the occasional nut. You’re craving a little something more. And I know what that something is: salt. Yes, it’s time for crunchy, salty things. Potato chips are good. Potato chips with hummus are even better. Guacamole and tortilla chips are mind-blowingly wonderful. Manchego cheese with a little rice cracker? Oh, man, you’ve just died and gone to heaven. But with all the salt you’re throwing down, you need something to combat that mighty powerful thirst . . .
6. (MUST BE OVER 21 TO READ THIS SECTION): Now it’s time for the vino. Pour yourself a glass. You deserve it. You’ve sat at home in a comfortable desk chair and actually typed words on a keyboard. You’re exhausted. You’re wrung out. You need to decompress.
Treat yourself right. Use the good crystal. Or a jelly jar. Who cares, really, so long as it’s full?
7. And to finish . . . All that salty stuff has added up to one mighty fine meal. Between that and your jelly jar, you’re feeling good right around now. There’s only one thing missing: that one last bit of sweetness I like to call “dessert.”
Make it count. Let it be decadent. Then sit down and relish every bite–you’ve earned a little treat, you author you! After the productive day you’ve had, you’re halfway to Stieg Larsson-sized success. (Now there was a man who appreciated a good cup of coffee . . .) Bon appetit and bon . . . whatever the word for “writing” is in French.
Stayed tuned for my next diet article: how to eat well to read well. You won’t want to miss it!