It Does a Body Good

Black cat lapping milk out of a margarita glass that has three black olives on a toothpick sticking out of it.

The Olive Theory by Jane Rahman CC 3.0

During my freshman year of college, my parents came to visit during Parents’ Weekend. I showed them around campus, ate with them in the cafeteria and was really excited when they took me out to dinner.

While we were eating in the cafeteria, I grabbed some milk to drink, as I always did. Seeing this, my mom smiled and asked my friends is I always drank milk or if I was doing it as a concession to her being there. They confirmed that I always drank milk. Always.

As silly as it sounds, it wasn’t until that moment that it occurred to me that I could drink something else with dinner. There was tea, Coke, juice, water…and I always drank milk (granted, I was a rebel and went for the 2% instead of the skim I was raised on). After my mom left, I went hedonistic-ly crazy with the Coke.

Flash forward to today. I have milk with dinner almost every night because I want to, not because it’s been drilled into me. I like it and it’s good for me. We’ve been without milk for a week and I’m getting twitchy.

Writing is like milk.

I’ve always written stories as they come to me. While I’ve heard of people plotting stories in advance, it wasn’t until I read Save the Cat that I got new ideas on how I could create and craft a story plot first. I’m trying it out. Unlike drinking Coke with dinner, I think writing outlines and using a board to catalogue scenes is good for me. However, not writing-writing is making me twitchy. I need to get back to writing soon.


11 thoughts on “It Does a Body Good

  1. I love the way you compare drinking milk to writing without a plan. I feel the same way. It’s hard to adapt and change to the “better” way when you’ve been doing it your own way for so long.

  2. bethfinke

    I love milk but drink it so infrequently that it seems like a treat. Especially WHOLE milk. But I never, ever outline a story unless an editor insists upon it ahead of time. Add outlining to the long, long list of things that would probably be good for me if I did them.

    • I’m not totally convinced it’s good for me (outlining, I mean). We’ll see at the end of the process.

      I realize my milk drinking is a little odd. I especially like it with spaghetti, which usually elicits lots of “ews” from other people.

  3. Kim

    Hey, you wrote this (and it’s great). Maybe writing your blog keeps you from going beyond just “twitchy”. Being “a little twitchy” is way better than full-on withdrawal with its grand mal seizures, sweating, and puking. If you get any of those symptoms, toss the outline and board. Keep writing and drinking milk. They’re both good for you.

    • I agree…it’s not an either/or proposition. There are projects (often longer or non-fiction) that do best when first outlined. But a lot of short stories I write just pop out w/o any previous thought. And what about blogging, correspondence, etc. When you want to write–and you’re still outlining the full-length novel–crank out the blog post, journal entry, a letter, short story, poem, or something else on the side.

      It’s not really cheating. 😉

    • Kim, this comment is for you…but WordPress really prefers it in response to Beccakinla. I’ve tried twice to redo it. I’ve given up fighting the internets for the night.

      Ha, I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose I don’t really think of the blog as creative writing…but you might be right. You can’t argue with no grand mal seizures.

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