The Creative Chew

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.”

Reading the book on feeding yourself¬† to give yourself a healthy body and agile mind made me wonder if we could take what Pollan writes and make it work for nurturing our creativity.¬† What Pollan says about eating—being careful what we put in 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. Don’t buy the junk food of art supplies just to have them. And if you did pile up a lot of art supplies you won’t ever use, give it away. Your local public high school will be grateful and you won’t fret over trying to use what you will never need.

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 and who have the additional talent of knowing how to teach. It’s hard to learn from someone who is impatient, speaks too fast, or has favorites in class that get most of the attention.

Pollan’s rule #34: Sweeten and salt your food yourself. Quinn’s creative corollary: Do your own work. Don’t try to outdo what someone else is doing; don’t spend a lot of time looking over your shoulder to see who is doing what you are doing. Experiment with ideas until you know they won’t work or until they shine with the gloss of your own effort.

Pollan’s rule #1: Eat food. Quinn’s creative corollary: Create what helps your creativity grow. Take time to peel away your tough outer layer. Get to the tender heart and work there. Ignore what is fast to assemble–you’ll be yearning to be creative half an hour later.

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 reader and creativity coach who keeps a journal and works on her creativity.