I used to be a coffee addict and when I was writing hard, even more so. If I was going to an artist colony, I would even take myself through the torture of coffee detox, so that I could start up again at the colony with that full-rev. I think I liked that speedy feelings of being amped up on caffeine, writing like a demon. When I was at MacDowell, I bought a 42 once thermos that I would fill with coffee and suck it all down. But now, I have really started to think more closely about what I put into my body and how it affects my writing.
For now, I have drastically cut down on the coffee. (Just a little sip in the morning.) The coffee rush was almost like that tequila shot that convinces you that you are the greatest dancer in the world. Coffee was my liquid courage and I incorporated it into my writing ritual for years. But lately, I have been wanting to write a little more slowly and thoughtfully.
I’ve also tried my best to lay off the sugar and the wine the day before. When I avoid sugar and alcohol, I sleep better and wake up better. And then I have better writing day. To figure out what is, and isn’t working, I recommend keeping a food/drink diary, when you record what you eat and then how you feel in the morning. You may see that there are some things that don’t agree with you, but you didn’t realize it. One of the key elements in creating effective rituals, is becoming very mindful of your own body and mind. Get quiet and listen to yourself.
This is not to say that I don’t indulge, but I am aware of the effects of my choices. I suppose what my more mindful writing practice has shown me is that I have to think about my writing day all day long and not just when I am sitting at my desk. When I’m at dinner and I pass on that second glass of red wine, it’s part of my practice.