Writers Store

The Re-Re-Write and The Writer’s Diet

Nom, Nom, Nom Odd-Jobbers,

I’m staring at a blinking cursor. My re-written screenplay outline needs to be re-re-written, and nothing worth re-re-writing is entering my stupid head. My bloated stomach’s grumbling and it really shouldn’t be; I’ve just eaten a good-sized portion of Eggplant Parmesan. I should be dwelling on how to fix the slump in the second half of Act II, but all I can think about is thick and creamy cheesecake.

Ugh, I’m getting pudgy. Well, that’s too kind. Let’s raise the stakes: I’m turning into a walrus. My jeans are getting a little harder to zip up and my favorite shirt stretches “a lot too much” to be worn publicly. I’m not sure why my fellow Odd-Jobbers, but whenever I’m writing a screenplay I neglect common sense options like cooking healthy meals at home and snacking on items that do not contain heaps of butter or some kind of sugary glaze. I rationalize my poor eating habits by claiming I don’t have time to cook healthy, to partake in exercise, AND write a screenplay. I also tend to make the excuse that the recent death of my father sent me into a downward spiral of éclairs and French fries. But let’s not mince words here; I’m the one choosing to stuff the deep-dish pizza down my gullet. I’m upping my game for the screenplay I’m currently writing: research and write the first draft by the end of the summer, and drop the weight for my August vacation to Florida.

The easiest way for me to drop excess pounds is to not have the crap around that I shouldn’t eat in the first place. It’s a simple concept in theory but not in execution. I fill my house with dried fruits, unsalted raw nuts, tofu and veggies (I’m one of those crazy California vegetarians), and I toss out all of the usual bad stuff. Also, when I go shopping I stick to my list. No impulse buys…

By now you’re probably wondering why I’m waxing on about calories and not tackling the finer points of my all important screenplay outline re-re-write. Well, you Odd-Jobbing sons of your mothers, I have a bigger fish to fry…and dip in delicious tartar sauce: It’s a scientific fact (I guess, I’m no scientist… I have a lab coat if that helps) that the brain functions better when the body is fit. (I semi-beg to differ, because it seems like all the muscle heads I meet are lacking in the brains department, but I digress.) A fit body leads to more energy, confidence, and overall demeanor. It’s difficult to write a laugh-out-loud comedy when you’re wallowing in self-pity after ripping a seam in your boxers while reaching for another cookie on the top shelf. I find the ratio of naps I need is directly correlated to the number of extra pounds I’m carrying around.

I’m two days into my pseudo “diet” and already had my first setback. I was doing great until last night when I attended a party which had the most decadent cheese platter my eyes doth ever lay upon. A half plate full of cheese later and I was crying shame tears into my Gouda oil soaked napkin. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from “dieting”… (I never tell people I’m “dieting” - it’s so embarrassing and what I do isn’t exactly dieting. I “Lifestyle Modify.” Example: Last year I gave up soda, and haven’t touched a drop since.) Anyway, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from “dieting” it’s to never jump off of the wagon because you’ve had a setback. Everyone has them; it’s not a reason to completely give up on your “diet.” (B-t-dubs I feel this same principle applies to screenwriting. If you have a setback on a screenplay don’t just scrap the thing, you’ll never get past page twelve)

In a few more days, once the asparagus and tempeh are flowing through my veins and I’ve settled into my evening jogs (maybe a little Pilates on off days) the ideas will start to flow. As of right now I’m focusing on the “boring” work that doesn’t demand my mental fitness, namely research. Read, watch, notes. Read, watch, notes. Read, watch, notes… I could do this all day while chomping on a delicious bowl of un-skinned carrots and hummus.

Mind Numbingly Plump,

Tony LaScala