Guest blogger: Martine Svanevik

(In which I am excited to present my very first guest blogger, fellow writer and friend Martine, who writes about two of my favourite subjects.)

Martine Svanevik¬†is a Norwegian ex-pat living in Montreal where she attempts to combine her job as Text Coordinator for Funcom Games Canada with revising her novel. She’ll get back to you on how that works out. Hook up with Martine on her blog: or on twitter:

Writing Snacks That Help You Focus

Having spent an extended period of time working from home, I’ve had the chance to try a fair bit of¬† writing food and I’m here to tell you: nutrition is important when you want to get that grey matter moving. See, I started out with Uncle Whisky and M&Ms, but after a while I just had to accept that they weren’t giving me with what I needed. Sure, there were the coolness points, but for sustenance, alcohol and chocolate were found lacking. So I looked elsewhere.

First, I turned to fast food. I consumed an embarrassing amount of portion-sized bags of salt and vinegar potato chips before realizing that they made me hunger for more. Instead of giving me focus, the delicious chips took it away by making me hunt through every cabinet, desperately digging for just one more bag. Those were dark days.

Next, I jumped on the health wagon and began making all my food from scratch. It was great. My energy increased, my skin regained its shine, and my cooking skills improved rapidly. There was only one problem: I spent so much time looking up and trying out recipes that the writing got lost in the middle of it.

I finally saw the light: I had to find some form of snack that gave me energy without making my body and mind crash, but it had to take less than five minutes to prepare. Sounds impossible? Not at all. Here’s my list of excellent snacks that keep you focused and clearheaded, without taking time away from what’s important: your writing.

My Rules of Thumb:

  1. You need protein, fat and carbs
  2. It has to be consumable without making your fingers greasy
  3. It has to take less than five minutes to prepare

There was some trial and error involved, especially once I got a job in an office and had to plan things beforehand, but I ended up with a few favourites. Let me know how they work out for you!

Martine’s Ultimate Writing Snacks:

  1. Carrots and almonds: cut the carrots (or better yet: by pre-washed baby carrots) and toss them in a bowl with some almonds.
  2. Sugar snaps and pistachios: put in bowl. Serve.
  3. Celery dipped in peanut butter: slather some almond butter on some celery sticks. Put them on a plate. Warning: these might lead to greasy fingers if you’re not careful.

Now, these are just snacks. For lunches and dinners you might have to put in a few more minutes. Not many, though. Barebones cooking is the way to go, at least when you know what’s important to you: getting those words out.

What are your favourite writing snacks? What gets you going when you feel like there’s no more energy left in you? Let me know how these snacks work for you!