The Creative Omnivore

Michael Pollan's book is available in bookstores and at

Micahel Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wrote Food Rules, an Eater’s Manual in 2009. It is a light, funny, serious, simple, wise book on how to eat well. “Eating has gotten complicated,” Pollan writes, “needlessly so.” As I was reading the book on feeding yourself so you will have a healthy body and agile mind, I began to realize that much of what Pollan said about eating—nurturing our bodies—was also true about creativity. The more I read, the more fascinating it was to see that what is true about food is true about creative work.

Pollan’s rule # 44: Pay more, eat less. Quinn’s creative corollary: Pay more for good art supplies if you use them often. Good watercolor or oil paint brushes don’t lose hairs, last a long time and give a better quality result.

Pollan’s rule #27: Eat animals that have themselves eaten well. Quinn’s creative corollary: Take classes from people who are good at what they do, who have been trained in how to teach. I’ve taken a lot of classes from people who are skilled, but have no idea how to teach. It’s hard to learn from someone who is impatient, speaks too fast, has favorites in class that get most of the attention.

Pollan’s rule #34: Sweeten and salt your food yourself. Quinn’s creative corollary: Don’t use so many kits. Create with what you have at hand, experiment with more and less details until you are satisfied with your own work.

Pollan’s rule #1: Eat food. Quinn’s creative corollary: Create what nourishes your soul. Don’t do what everyone else is doing because everyone else is doing it.

Pollan’s rule #43: Have a glass of wine with dinner. Quinn’s creative corollary: Have a glass of wine with dinner.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and creativity coach. She teaches business communications and runs workshops on creativity.