Sunday, 28 June 2015

Caffeine Free Writer - True Story!

 I gave up Coffee cold turkey!

Can I still call myself a Writer?

As any other writer knows, especially those that are also a solo parent, is that coffee is a saviour.  You can’t function without it and get everything done in a day that you need to.
Well that was until 3 weeks ago.  I’ve been a wannabe writer forever and solo mum to my VERY energetic 5y.o. Together with a day job while trying to write in and around our life.  It was a struggle to give everyone involved quality time and I often lost out on my own quality time.  I’d often fall asleep while putting my little treasure to sleep at 7pm and wake at 2am with all the lights on and the kitchen needing to be cleaned.  How familiar is this to anyone out there?
So coffee has always been a luxury of mine before the boy was born, and then after it became a necessity.  It was my ‘go to’ trigger to help me take a quick break from stresses and rushing around.  I gave myself permission to stop and relax if I had a coffee in my hand.  I began to increase the dose and make them stronger and have them more often.  I became an addict.
Then one day recently I realised I was just constantly tired and getting no where fast with my brain muddled and foggy all the time.  I was struggling to remember basic stuff and if it wasn’t in my diary it didn’t happen.  I was even giving below par quality in my day job (oops, luckily the boss doesn’t read this blog).  Plus I hadn’t been writing for months — thought it was just writers block at first but realised it that I just couldn’t concentrate long enough to think to the next chapter and solve the obvious holes in my plot.

Then I made a very difficult and life changing decision to give up caffeine.

I know, I can hear your gasps of shock and disbelief from here.  

What I’ve discovered 3 weeks on (after a few days of paracetamol to get past the headaches), was that I’ve more energy, I’m eating better by consuming more energy foods and my brain has cleared of all the fog. I’ve also sorted my story so that it will be ready for release 31st July 2015.  Yeh! Well worth the effort.
But I really do have to mention it wasn’t the coffee causing my tiredness or fogginess - it was the fact I was always in a rush and looking for a quick fix that I would have a coffee followed by sugar (chocolate, biscuits etc).  Coffee was also my trigger to allow myself a break so I had to be strong to just allow myself to stop without the coffee cup.  I’ve switched to herbal tea but don’t actually need the same quantity of cups of tea I was having for coffee to feel the relaxation anymore.  I allow myself to stop and refresh by just stopping for a few minutes and have a walk around the house/office instead.  Actually really easy now I’m in a routine.
Also when I gave up coffee I had a breakfast of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, fruit smoothies or breakfast muesli bars instead of just a coffee in my travel mug in the car.
So in reality it was the fact I was eating better and putting energy into my body for it to use rather than the false uppers of coffee and sugar.  So naturally my body has more energy and my brain is functioning normally again - I’m eating better and not craving the same level of sugar I was before.  Maybe I should give up sugar too?   Hmmm, let’s see if I stick to being caffeine free for a bit first.

In conclusion I’ve decided I am still a writer and I’m now more productive so I’m happy with the change.  Although I do look wistfully at the coffee shop as I walk past it from time to time.

How about you?

  • Do you have a trigger that either keeps you writing or helps you relax and focus?  
  • I’d love to hear about other struggles and triumphs in the comments.

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Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there