I have a new problem to relate to my writing process, something so fucking stupid that it’s monumentally irritating. It’s one of those things that make me go, “Grrrr.”
Lately, hunger is interrupting my writing process.
Hunger, as in, “I’m hungry, my stomach is rumbling, and I want to eat.” It’s not like I’m starving to death.
I know, as living and writing goes, it’s not an impressive problem. I imagine many people reading this will think, “What a whiner. I wish being hungry was my writing problem.”
Yeah, I know. It’s definitely a first world complaint, right? Who else but a white American male can complain like this?
Yes, I know.
Let’s back up a moment and add some exposition. I write in a coffee shop. I usually leave the house around 10:30, a few hours after eating breakfast. I like that process. I need to escape the house (and the cats and distractions) to write. Plus, the walking I do prior to writing helps me settle into the writing groove. Right, wrong, indifferent, this is my process, and I like it.
It used to work great. Eat, dress, walk, arrive, buy coffee, set up, work for a few hours. I generally begin by reviewing news and other blogs. I then make a few brief posts. I consider them to be clearing my throat. Then, off to work. I usually achieve ninety minutes of writing and editing punctuated by a couple breaks, and feel satisfied by the process and progress. But since returning to the writing process after going east across America to visit with family, I start getting hungry about a quarter of my way into the writing session.
The first time it happened, I wrote through my hunger. I figured it was isolated because it was rare. The next day, when the same thing happened, I bought a cookie at the coffee shop. The third day, I ate a tangelo before leaving to write, and the fourth day, I brought a Larabar with me and ate it as I walked. Then, the next time, I cut my time short again, and again the subsequent time. By now, I recognized a problem.
All these actions of eating something bought me a little time. Today, though, I had to leave later for my writing. This was due to a cat. One of our cats, Tucker, decided to re-arrange his litter box. (Oi, the mess.) An hour of clean up was demanded. Since that put me behind, I figured that I’d eat lunch before leaving. That was okay; I’d eaten breakfast (waffles) at eight, and then ate lunch at eleven fifteen, departing to write at eleven thirty. I should be good. Yet, here I am, hungry by one, dreaming of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and burritos.
I considered, of course, buying lunch here at the coffee shop. That doesn’t fit in with my budget or dietary plans. I have the money but can’t stomach the idea of paying five to ten dollars a day for something to eat here. The food offered is standard sort of fare, and while generally tasty, it isn’t particularly healthy for more than a once in a while thing.
What it all seems to be pointing to is that I need to leave earlier to write, closer to when I finish eating breakfast. That provides a different problem. The coffee shop is busier earlier in the day. That makes it harder to get a good writing location. I define a good writing location as a table or counter space with an outlet and sufficient room to not hot or be hit whenever someone moves. Further, it’s not just during my writing time, either, plagued by hunger. I’m hungry after dinner. I’m hungry in the evening. I wake up hungry.
I don’t understand why I’m so hungry. I’ve been eating normally. Yes, I’ve kicked up my walking again. Yes, I’ve lost some weight. (Hurrah!) Yes, I’ve reduced the sugar and fat in my diet. Yes, I feel great, other than being hungry.
I guess I’m done for the day. I feel like I’m cheating myself because the writing was going well, and I have more to write. I also feel like I’m weak, giving up writing for eating. That’s silly, of course. (Right? RIGHT?)
Worse, I try to walk two to three miles after writing. It helps my writing process and it’s good exercise. Today, I’m so hungry, I’m heading straight home.
So, calling it a day on writing like crazy. Time to go eat. It’s Pi Day. Maybe I’ll go have some pie.