Saturday, February 19, 2011

What guilty pleasure powers you through your writing?

Mark Twain is known for his cigar, but also loved biscuits and real butter, buckwheat cakes and thick Porterhouse steaks. Hemingway and Poe are associated with heavy drinking and drugs.

I’m sure most of us in this group don’t turn to those mind-altering substances, but how many of you NEED a hit of chocolate to get you through that next paragraph? I like dark chocolate and recently discovered Ghirardelli’s “Sea-Salt Soiree.” Oh my! With that sweet-salty taste combination, I’m fast becoming addicted and undoubtedly need to contact Chocoholics Anonymous.

Or maybe you like crunching while you’re creating: potato chips, pretzels, popcorn. In an attempt to eat healthier, I’ve also become addicted to dry-roasted almonds (with grapes. Mm-mm good!) And periodically I’ll go through a baby carrot phase.

I know it’s a bad idea to get in the habit of eating at my computer, but sometimes I eat lunch while working or trolling through e-mails. My keyboard doesn’t like that so much. Occasionally I find a breadcrumb or a sunflower seed stuck between two keys.

And of course there’s caffeine. Even though I’ve cut back on that guilty pleasure, (I was once known at a local restaurant as “the Caffeine Queen”) I’m not much good until I’ve had at least one cup of fully-leaded Joe and a couple cups of decaf.

What is your favorite comfort food or drink to help you with your writing process?

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.


  1. Luckily, I ma not one to snack when I'm at the computer, which is where I write, although I edit on paper, so that's a different story. In either case, I have one requirement: COFFEE!!! Non-stop coffee. Many writers will likely say the same thing, but my coffee requirements are a bit odd:
    -I prefer instant over brewed.
    -I make it in the microwave, not even a kettle!
    -I put 4 sugars and a few tablespoons of Carnation condensed milk in each cup
    -I drink my coffee with a straw. Yes, really, a straw.

    I bet baristas and coffee aficionados are rolling their eyes right now :)

  2. Music!

    I need my iTunes playlists to write. And it's a complete guilty pleasure, because lately I have been listening to mainly disco. Oh, yes, go Saturday Night Fever!

    Given that my novel is set in Ancient Rome I don't know why it has to be this way, but it gets me into the right mood!

  3. Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy tea. If the yummy taste weren't enough, it comes with a saying on the tea bag that revs up my mind. A recent one, from Immanuel Kant: "Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life."

  4. I'm a caffeine addict. If I write all day, I'll go through 3 pots - 18 cups. Strangely snacking is not a problem, except that I'll forget to eat until I wake up hungry the next morning.

  5. I love coffee. And sweets. They are so fattening tho! I compromised and now keep a jar of mint lifesavers by my computer. They last a long time and aren't too packed with calories.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  6. When I'm writing, I have classical music in the background (ALWAYS), a cup of coffee (sometimes Fr. Vanilla, but usu. a good Colombian), and, periodically, chocolate in small doses.

  7. Good gracious, Heidi! Sea-Salt Soiree! Aak. Now I'll have to run past the candy aisle before that stuff reaches out and grabs me.

    I'm probably a hot drink junkie. It can be coffee or decaf coffee or tea, as long as it warms my hands.

  8. I know tomorrow will have me hunting down Sea-Salt Soiree. I'm trying not to drool on the keyboard.

    My musts for writing are Coffee, coffee and more coffee and the sound of water as in a small fountain.

  9. It's all about the Diet Coke for me. I sometimes get sucked into the salty snacks, but it's hard to type and eat greasy chips at the same time. Probably for the best.

  10. With me there is no food. If I'm not careful I can sit the entire day and quite simply forget to eat. I'm just so immersed in what's going on in my mind and on the screen.

  11. I don't eat at the computer. It's bad enough the letters on my keys are disappearing, without having crumbs to contend with also!

    I do like background noise, but not too loud. Could be radio, TV, talking or music, as long as it's not heavy metal.

    Morgan Mandel

  12. A gorgeous day outside, and if there are flowers, all the better. I nice patio table with an umbrella, a cuppa something, no noise except nature. A beautiful, blissful environment.

    Jill, that coffee sounds downright Vietnamese. Just call it that - no one will be anything but impressed! :D

  13. I am a muncher and have to dole out the number of pretzels I allow myself in one day. Otherwise I would reach a point I could no longer fit into my office chair. LOL


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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