Free Fuel Day!

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No, not that kind of fuel–writing fuel. You know, coffee!!! You’ll still have to pay today to fill up your car’s tank, but you’ll pay little or nothing to fill up your writer’s tank, because it’s National Coffee Day!

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For an entire week, in honor of National Coffee Day, McDonald’s has been giving away free coffee. Today is the last day. Anyone who has had McDonald’s coffee knows it’s not the best. Hell, it might even be the worst. Some days it’s good, some days it’s bad, but hey, it’s free. I’m sure Starbucks will be giving out samples as well, so I’ll be bouncing all over town to get specials–not to mention bouncing off the walls.

Why celebrate coffee? Same reason we celebrate Mother’s day or Administrative Professionals’ Day, to thank this awesome beverage for all it does 365 days a year. It keeps us awake, alert, and ready to write. Thank you, coffee for giving me that kick in the brain I need every morning and every evening.

Right now, I’m enjoying a dollar latte from Coffee Junkeez. Check out your local businesses to see if they are offering free or discounted coffee.

Writing Rituals that Work

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We all have them. You know what I’m talking about. No, not germs (though this is true). Quirks. Things we do as writers that we think we MUST do to write–or write well. Writers swear by certain times of day, particular pens, certain chairs, foods, even fonts. To be honest I can’t write without serifs. Without our rituals, tricks, traditions, whatever pretty name you call your vice, we all know what happens when we try to write without them: we don’t.

To be frank, you can write with any pen. The free pen from your bank works the same as a Pilot or BIC. You can write on patio furniture, not just your favorite chair. And you never need a bobble head, stuffed animal, figurine, or other trinket nearby to write. They have no power. Trust me, I’ve rubbed the bellies of troll dolls raw trying to make wishes happen. So what does work? Here are some writing rituals to replace your old ones; they may seem weird, but they are backed by science.

imagesCASR4JGQThe usual writing position is sitting up: back straight against the chair, feet flat on the floor and elbows in the correct position: your keyboarding teacher would be so proud of you. This position says one thing, focus. A study from the School of Psychology has discovered the best position to write may be lying down. They found that people were able to solve problems faster while on their backs then sitting up. They’ve attributed this to chemicals in the brain being more present while we are standing: chemicals that may block focus. As silly as it sounds, I find this works. That is why we get so many eureka moments when we are in bed. Try this and that 3 a.m. epiphany moment can come to you any time of the day. Just be careful not to fall asleep.

Drinking is one of my writing rituals. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the perfect teas, wines, and energy drinks to stay focused and energized while writing, not to mention inspired. Most drinks only deliver on one of those criteria. It seems that the key to writing well is to drink two beverages. Coffee is famously associated with writing for obvious reasons. Did you know beer may be beneficial as well? Instead of explaining it, I found a chart that shows why the best drink combination may be to drink beer while you plan and coffee while you write.

photo provided by digitalsynopsis.com

photo provided by digitalsynopsis.com

So next time you get ready to perform your daily writing ritual of sitting cross-legged on your favorite chair, with your coffee of choice, and only red M&M’s because red helps you write better, with your action figure (a.k.a. writing buddy), try a couple of the things above. Let me know what works. Better yet, what are some of your weird, tried-but-true writing rituals that help you stay focused and inspired?

Give Me Energy or Give me Death

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someecards.comI’ve grown tired of searching for ways to stay awake, which has led me to debate whether or not to try energy drinks. Not for the flavor factor as I’ve been told they taste medicinal like Dimetapp. I’m interested in the promise of long-lasting energy. 5-hour energy holds a lot of appeal because of the name. Considering most days I have about 1 hour of energy (three on a good day) an extra five would be great. I’m hoping it’s like the Mucinex of energy drinks: powerful and fast acting. My coworker brought some to work today. She warned me to be careful drinking them. From what I’ve heard, energy drinks are addicting and can make your heart explode.

My lack of energy outweighed my concerns for an atrial eruption. Besides, I’ve never been one to pass down freebies. I drank half a bottle to see if it could keep me awake while I worked. I figure if it keeps me awake at work, it can keep me awake to write. Coffee and soda just aren’t doing it. My coworker doesn’t know how I can drink three cups of coffee and a soda and still drop dead of exhaustion. To be honest, my problem has always been staying awake, not falling asleep. I’m always tired. Thyroid issues and irregular heart beats run in the family, so I thought that could be it. Three appointments and a week of being hooked up to a heart monitor later, I was told I have a fast heart rate, but no thyroid or heart issue that can be blamed for my tiredness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be healthy, but I can’t figure out why I’m tired. So I just have to figure out how to stay awake.

Which brings me to energy drinks. So I drank one and I’m not noticing any difference. Mountain dew you can feel in your veins. This didn’t do much. I did the shaky hand test, but I can still hold pens and write legibly. My legs aren’t even twitchy; in fact my whole body is perfectly content to sit still, if not more still than usual. I’ve been more jittery in my sleep. I will give it credit for one thing, it tasted more like coolaid than medicine. I was just really hoping it would wake me up so I’d have something to jump start myself before writing.

I’ll try a couple more brands before giving up and hopefully I’ll meet my expectations of typing furiously into the late/early hours.

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