I’ve often written about ways to boost your creativity, including even tips on using AI to do so. But can certain foods help get the creative juices flowing? There’s research which suggests that yes, there are. So, what should you be eating and drinking to help you overcome the dreaded writer’s block?
Eating your Way out of Writer’s Block
As I’m sure many of you know, writers suffering from writer’s block find that their creative process slows to a crawl. Every new idea just doesn’t seem right, and this situation can be extremely stressful.
Each writer processes his/her creative flow differently and there’s no getting around it. From speaking to close friends or going for a walk, most of us treat writer’s block differently.
While there isn’t a foolproof way to get over it, you can take steps to help your mind overcome it. As anyone can tell you, your brain needs fuel to function. Without the right nutrition, it’s quite possible for your brain chemistry to be affected.
Hence whether you’re knuckling down for a long writing session or trying to keep the creative fire burning, it’s important that you eat right to keep your brain running smoothly.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is one of my favorite drinks. Whether you drink it hot or iced, green tea is a refreshing treat that quenches your thirst and refreshes your creative machine.
Besides being packed with compounds that improve your general health, green tea contains caffeine; a stimulant that sharpens your mind and helps you stay concentrated. This is essential if you’re going for a writing marathon as you pen your magnum opus.
Some writers choose coffee as their brew of choice, but I’ve often found coffee to be too strong and the caffeine overload can give you a headache or heart palpitations.
Alongside this, green tea has been proven to be a great way to help your body detox itself of harmful toxins. This ensures that you’re refreshed, alert and creative for longer periods of time. After all, have you tried writing a book when you’re lethargic and your minds in a haze?
Finally, as an added benefit, green tea is loaded with antioxidants which decreases your chance of developing cancer. While this may not necessarily make you more creative, it’s nice to know that green tea can keep you healthy and cancer-free!
Go nuts for nuts when you’re trying to keep your creative juices flowing. Packed with good fats and loaded with energy, nuts are the ultimate superfood and one of my favorite snacks (indeed, they’re quite often the only dinner I have). The fats found in nuts have been proven to be an excellent source of brain food.
From cashews and pistachios to macadamia and almond, nuts are a delicious and convenient snack that every writer you swear by. Keep a can of nuts at your desk and you’ll be able to stave off hunger whilst keeping yourself energized.
Most of the time, some writers are tempted to stop for a meal when hungry. This disrupts the creative process and a heavy meal can leave you sleepy and lethargic. While a salad and some chicken are perfect for a light snack, you may lack the time to prepare one. So, if you’re feeling hungry and looking for some fresh inspiration why not snack on some nuts?
Boiled. Fried. Scrambled. Poached. Raw.
Okay, maybe not raw, unless your process also involves boxing. But eggs are convenient, tasty, and a great source of protein. In short, eggs are a godsend for busy writers. Bursting with nutrients, amino acids and vitamins, eggs encourage the healthy growth of cells which keeps you healthy and your mind sharp.
It is not a coincidence that they are an essential part of the diet of most elite football players in the NFL.
With plenty of good cholesterol, eggs can also reduce your risk of developing stroke or heart disease.
While not my personal favorite, if fish is good enough for the grizzlies, then it’s going to be good enough for you. And salmon has a variety of health benefits.
Loaded with Omega fatty acids that stimulate healthy brain function and fight heart disease, this pink-fleshed fish can be eaten fried or grilled.
DHA, an omega fatty acid found in salmon, cannot be manufactured by our own bodies. This is why fish oil pills and salmon have taken off in a big way in recent times. So if you’re looking to get some serious writing done and like fish, maybe stock on some salmon this winter.
You may be surprised to see water mentioned here. And yet, too many of us drink less water than we should.
If you don’t replenish your body’s water supply by drinking plenty of fluids and you become dehydrated, your brain won’t be able to perform its normal functions, including attention and memory.
Dehydration affects sodium and electrolyte levels in the body, which has also been linked to cognitive changes. Even two hours of dehydration can lead to cognitive decline and reduce concentration.
In an experiment, researchers examined athletes who had exercised for two hours without drinking any fluids or eating. They found that functions such as complex problem-solving, coordination, and attention suffered the most.
So, I now make sure to have a bottle of water on my desk at all times, taking frequent sips throughout the day.
What about alcohol?
Some people suggest having a drink to break through their writer’s block. In fact, I recently wrote about the relationship between alcohol and writing. But letting your creative juices flow is not about turning all Hemingway and hitting the bottle. It’s all about relaxing.
It’s true that many associate relaxation with holding a glass in their hand. And when enjoyed responsibly and in moderation, a drink may help with the creative process as it removes inhibitions. This allows you to think more freely unconventionally.
More important, though, is to do whatever takes your mind off your writing. Whether the process you have associated with relaxation involves eating at a 5-star restaurant, hiking, drawing a long bath, or taking a brief getaway, use it to remove that writer’s block and start writing again.
So, there you have it, here are some foods and tips that may help you overcome writer’s block. While a bit unorthodox, I hope they work for you!