October 25, 2011

What Food Fuels Your Writing?

Pile of snacks, crackers, and candy

After all the serious posts lately, I need a break for something fun.  And oh look, the calendar is playing along.

It’s getting close to one of my favorite times of the year: Halloween.  As a kid, I loved dressing up (in one of those semi-lame-made-from-stuff-in-mom-and-dad’s-closet costumes), going out trick-or-treating, turning our basement into a cheesy haunted house, and of course, the candy.

Now I don’t dress up, ring doorbells, or cobble together a haunted house, but I love that my neighborhood goes all out for Halloween.  We attract kids from all over, and some even ride in on hay-covered trailers.

And I still love the candy.  I’m a non-gourmet chocoholic, and this time of year provides a great excuse to buy lots of candy bars.

I consider it a work expense.  *waits to see if anyone believes that one*

No really, we all need some kind of fuel for our writing.  Writers on Twitter talk about their intake of coffee, wine, vodka, Mountain Dew, pretzels, bacon, and chocolate.

I don’t drink coffee (I know, I’m a writer heathen for that), rarely drink wine, but the chocolate?  Oh yes, that’s my vice.  Kit Kats, Almond Joys, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s bars, etc.  Love them all.

If I think we’re going to get 200 kids for Halloween, I buy enough candy for 300.  *blinks innocently*  I never claimed to be good at math.  So it’s completely not my fault if I have a lot of miniature candy bars left over, right?

Once I was in a deadline cave when the calendar was in the no-man’s land between Valentine’s Day and Easter.  The clerk at the local store gave me a very odd look when I checked out with 20 candy bars—and that’s it.

Who needs balanced meals to keep me going on 4 hours of sleep a night when I have chocolate?  *smile*  Luckily, I don’t usually eat that much chocolate, but some days, I need some of that sweet, melty goodness.

What do you snack on while writing?  Do you snack more some days than others?  What makes the difference (sleep deprivation, a rejection, etc.)?  Do you celebrate Halloween?  If so, what’s your favorite part of the holiday?  Do overbuy candy like I do?

Comments — What do you think?

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Rachel Graves

You can have the candy, Jami. I might steal a bite of frozen Kit Kat bar or cold Twix but really most of it tastes fairly boring to me. Now baked goods…. muffins, cookies, and cakes, that’s a different story. I could easily support my own bakery. In fact, there’s at least one local specialty cake shop (that does an amazing chocolate ganache covered fudge cake) where they know me on sight.

Ava Jae

When there isn’t any chocolate around and my sweet tooth kicks in…I dig out the Nutella. Spoonful will usually do it. 😀

Suzy Turner

Jami… you are a woman after my own heart! If I could get away with buying that much chocolate, I would! Unfortunately, my husband isn’t so keen so I have no excuses. I have no kids either… and Halloween in Portugal is nothing like that in the States or UK. No Trick or Treating where I live. Bummer!
Sadly, I’m also lactose intolerant so no milk chocolate for me. I do always have a bar of dark chocolate in the fridge though… preferably mint flavoured so when I do need a fix when I’m writing, I know it’s not too far away!

Sarah Pearson

I started a diet two weeks ago, mainly because my love of chocolate is every bit as great as yours. I can’t do moderation so it’s had to go completely 🙁

Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

Love this!
I also greedily look forward to Halloween each year. Not just for the candy ( I eat enough every October to put a person three times my size into sugar shock) but for the dressing up.
Yes, I am one of those crazy adults who look forward to the costumes. Just this past weekend me and my two lovely sisters dressed up as a burlesque trio complete with fishnets, corsets, feathers and tiny top hats. I even spent two weeks making the costumes by hand (not the corsets, Fredricks of Hollywood supplied those little numbers) If you’re curious, here’s what we looked like…I’m the cooky blonde:!/photo.php?fbid=2618841996276&set=t.614222481&type=1&theater
So, yep, I look forward to Halloween too! My fave candy is Almond Joy and Reeces, and when I’m writing I usually don’t snack…I’m an inbetweener snacker. I LOVE Tabasco flavored in-shell peanuts and devour them in the trillions in between bouts of writing!
Thanks for the fun post.
Have a fantastic Halloween!!

Charissa Weaks

I’m so with you. I’m not a coffee drinker either and I don’t like wine, but if I did, I’d have to avoid it at all costs while writing since it takes a minuscule amount of alcohol to render me useless…but chocolate? Well…I believe everything’s better dipped in chocolate 🙂 I keep a jar of Nutella in the pantry at ALL times.

Janet Tait

Actually I don’t eat much when I write. I tend to sit down and get lost in the writing and forget to eat anything. When I’m not writing I’m a terrible snacker, especially prone to cookies and chips (and don’t get me started on Halloween candy! OMG!) But I have no cravings at all when I’m lost in my own little writing world. Kind of interesting, when you think about it.

Jen J. Danna

For me it’s all about the salt and starch. If I let myself, I’d snorf popcorn, chips, crackers etc. while writing. This is why I need to write at a library etc. No pantry to raid! 😉

Rachel Firasek

oH, I’m a freak for Gobstoppers. I love to munch on the sweet sugar perfection! Or if not that, then jawbreakers. 😉 Great subject. Now, I’m quite hungry!

sharon k owen

OMG I can’t believe this topic.

When I’m stressed–which this whole social networking platform creations has caused–I eat like crazy. Whatever is next to me goes right in my mouth and straight to my waistline.

When I’m writing on my novel I get so caught up in the story I go without food until I almost pass out from lack of nutrients.

Maybe this is a message. Get off the blog and back to the story.

Roxanne Skelly
Roxanne Skelly

I get a double-cliche on mine. Coffee. I’m a native of Seattle, and I try to write. ‘Nuff said.

Otherwise, cookies do it for me. Shortbread, chocolate chip, whatever.

Now…chocolate I’m all about, but I try not to have much around the house for obvious reasons. If I do truly get the craving, I’m all about the chocolate shop in my hometown, started by a little old Austrian man sixty years ago. The sheet truffles are sinful and I’ve been enjoying them since, well, since I was about four years old.

Hmm, as it’s Halloween shortly, I should make a trip. And speaking of Halloween candy, I’m not gettin’ any to hand out this year, as I’ll be 3000 miles away in New Orleans. NOLA Halloween FTW, I say. I’ve two vampire balls lined up, and lots of voodoo and ghost fun.

Kristin Nador

I love this post, Jami. Fun! I’m glad I’m not the only chocoholic in the house. Snickers are my doom. But like Sarah I have had to take drastic measures to not allow the chocolate any more housing space on my hips. It’s day 17 of no sugar whatsoever. So I’m living vicariously through the rest of you. Can you describe all those candies again? LOL


Tea. Lots of tea. Coffee, cocoa, cider, and water are also common. (Okay, so water’s actually my most common one.) If it’s cold or I’m sleepy, I heat it up—water included.

Why do I heat it? Heat wakes me up; cold puts me to sleep. My family jokes I’m a reptile. I once fell asleep in genetics class because I got too cold.

Food-wise, I like snacking on chips, popcorn, pretzels, or licorice candies—but whatever I’m snacking on, I have to make sure to only keep as much as I’m willing to eat near me. I’m an absentminded snacker (which is probably a good thing, thanks to my hyperactive thyroid; losing 10 lbs would be dangerous for me).

Sonia G Medeiros

Bwahahaha. Love this post. 😀 I adore those little candy pumpkins. Like candy corn but pumpkin shaped. Mmmm. And Mounds. Coconut and chololate. ‘Nuff said. And Reeses Pieces. And of course, to make a balanced meal you must have tacos with lots of homemade salsa. 😀

Foo. Now I’m hungry. 😀

Melinda Collins

Hooray for food!!!! Haha….

Surprisingly, although I love chocolate, I haven’t really been eating it lately. I don’t think I’ve had a piece in about 6 weeks. Though totally not on purpose, trust me!

I actually don’t really snack when I’m writing. I think it’s mainly because it distracts me from using both of my hands to get words on the page or something like that. But I am very big on coffee (decaf), wine or vodka <– those last two are in small increments and reserved for after-dayjob writing 🙂

Great post, Jami! I'll have to send you some of the left-over candy that the neighbors' kids don't take this year 😉

Brooklyn Ann

I like chips. I’m seriously addicted to everything from Cheetos to Lays original. My favorite part of Halloween is probably the costumes, decorations, and more of an excuse to watch horror movies.

Kerry Meacham

Snickers on the candy, and coffee for writing. Hey, why not both. Seriously, why did you have to mention Nutella. Now I can’t get it off of my mind. You’re evil, Jami Gold. 😉

Renee Schuls-Jacobson

Love this so much! Like you, I’m not into coffee, but the chocolate. Meanwhile, I still haven’t gone shopping for candy because it’s too dangerous. It would never make it to Monday night. I’ll go on Sunday and buy the crap they have left so I’m not enticed to eat it.

Honestly, I live on cheese. And I skip a lot of meals. I never said I live a balanced life.

Todd Moody

This is my favorite time of the year! I love me some chocolate too, but its chips that get me, especially Spicy Nacho Doritos and the Jalapeno flavored Tostitos. I like coffee, but it’s usually Diet Mt. Dew by my side.

Happy Halloween!

julie gardner

I’m a coffee writer. But. I have to re-heat it over and over because I get caught up in what I’m doing.

Then I find yesterday’s cup the microwave the next morning when I try to reheat my current mug.

Brilliant. And efficient!

As for food, unfortunately my husband just bought our first jar of Nutella. It’s in the cabinet singing to me….I’m afraid it’s Pandora’s Box. Or jar, as it were.

Wish me luck. Or give me strength. Or both.

Teresa Robeson

Boy, we are boring: my kids are too old to dress up; we have no trick-or-treaters on our rural road; and I barely decorate anymore. I do bake excessively this time of year so I would say that desserts fuel my writing. 🙂 Good strategy with over-buying candy, by the way!

Michele Shaw

Oh jami, jami, just ask tech guy. He’ll confirm candy is one of my major food groups. And ftr, I don’t drink coffee either. *fist bump* It takes a special kind of writer to work without coffee! Our Halloween crowd varies from year to year, so we “have” to buy on the high side, ya know, just in case…

Gene Lempp

I am very much a coffee writer although I avoid it in the evening and just go with water or tea of any type (nothing gets to interfere with the four hours of sleep). I tend to avoid sweet things but won’t refuse cookies, Three Musketeers bars or Reese’s of any kind. My typical writing food tends to be chips or nothing. I actually work better when I deny myself food until I accomplish a task.

So I guess my final answer is: coffee, tea or water with occasional sprinkles of sweetness.

Jami's Tech Guy

Fun post Jami! I’m not a writer but I spend far too much time in front of the computer concentrating on geeky things and rely on my snacks to power my brain. Quiet you in the back or I’ll cut your net access again! Sheesh Jami, when did Statler and Waldorf start reading your blog? Were it not for my snacky habit, I’d not have the glorious 9-pack abs I have today. My primary weaknesses are chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. But if I’m frustrated with a problem, I’ll sometimes flee to the kitchen and bake brownies or other confectioneries. TechWife claims to be the baker in the family but I’m usually the one in the kitchen. Here’s an old picture as proof. Of course, man can not snack by sweets alone. When it comes to less sweet snacks, I love popcorn. So much so that I got an oil popcorn popper for my last birthday. Oh is it good. But I think I’m about to hit a new high in snacky delight. I tested a caramel recipe which is the perfect consistency for caramel corn. If my calculations are correct, I will be able to drip melted chocolate on the caramel corn (hey Suzi, I’ll make sure yours doesn’t have milk chocolate) and have the ultimate in snacky goodness. *cue delicious evil laughter* Um, can you tell I’ve sugared up tonight? Oh and being a well trained husband, if TechWife has a bad day, I make sure to…  — Read More »

M. Howalt

Halloween isn’t that big in my corner of the world, so that does nothing to my eating habits really.
I generally prefer to snack on dark chocolate. Really dark. My favourite is 86%. 😀 Most often, though, I write snackless, and sometimes if I do snack I will match it with the taste of the protagonist I’m writing about.

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