I can’t seem to sit down to write without a cup of tea by my side. I don’t know what it is about the act of writing that demands a comfort to accompany it, but I’ve been reading lately that it isn’t just me.
In several interviews, Diana Gabaldon, “Outlander series” has stated she usually doesn’t start her writing time without a Diet Coke, and since it is extremely hot where she lives, I can understand why it isn’t “Earl Gray, hot.” Perhaps even Jean-Luc Picard didn’t want to command the Enterprise without a cuppa.
“When Susan Wiggs’s recent novel, Fireside, landed at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, the author responded by jumping fully clothed into her swimming pool. In February. In the Pacific Northwest. After thawing herself out, the author put on her lipstick and vacuumed the living room. Why? Because on the tiny island where she lives, news travels fast. She knew her girlfriends would show up momentarily – which they did – with the customary champagne and bags of Cheetos.”
And here is an excerpt from “The Believer” interview with Neko Case and Sherman Alexie. You can find the whole interview here. http://www.believermag.com/issues/201202/?read=interview_alexie_case
NC: Do you enjoy the process of writing your books as much as the being-done?
SA: No! [Laughs] It’s hard! I mean, I’m prolific, so it’s not so hard that I can’t do it, but—
NC: It takes a lot of taco chips?
SA: Yes. Yes.
NC: Is there a lot of nervous standing up and feeling like, OK, I gotta fill my mouth with taco chips?
SA: Oh, god. I’m horrible!
NC: It’s like how some people smoke. That’s how I drink iced tea, so I totally know what you’re saying.
SA: You can always tell when I’m writing, because I’m gaining weight. I mean, I go up and down like crazy. If I didn’t work out, I’d be three hundred pounds.
I love that quote of Sherman Alexie’s because it reflects the emotional difficulty of creating something new and why we sometimes need help getting to the task at hand. There is also the satisfying feeling of having something properly done and completed, even if it is is just having your tea made or having your chips at the ready. I say it is okay to embrace these indulgent habits, because after all some amazing writing is due to caffeine and sugar and fat. Jack Kerouac’s three weeks of coffee consumption paired with writing made for the wonderful jazz-style prose in “On the Road.”
Even Nanowrimo.org organizers are selling mugs in anticipation of the uptake of caffeine consumption expected during the month of November when thousands of writers take up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a single month. https://store.nanowrimo.org/merchandise/nanowrimos-jumbo-novel-revision-fuel-mug
What is your favorite go-to comfort food or beverage when setting up to write?