Cutting back on coffee, redux

So it’s been a week since I started cutting back on caffeine, replacing my 9+ cups of coffee a day with a single cup in the morning and the occasional cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s made for a trying week, especially since it came with a side-order of mandatory workshopping and a slew of ongoing problems with my internet access*, so I haven’t yet gotten around to answering all the various people who keep asking “why, for the love of god, why?” whenever I mentioned this on various social media.

The short-answer goes something like this: I recently availed myself to the counselling service the Australian social-security system offers to the long-term unemployed, during which we spoke of many things. The Fear was among them, as was my frustration at my inability to put a consistent writing routine together due to increasing anxiety about bills, rent, insomnia, the inability to find consistent employment, and assorted other issues I generally don’t blog about ’cause they aren’t much fun. Actually articulating these things was a weird experience for me, since my usual approach is to ignore them as best I can and get on with things, but since that approach has been less and less effective over the last three years I was willing to try something new.

Somewhere along the line we got into the topic of my coffee consumption, and the fact that drinking a cup of coffee is generally my response to stress, boredom, anxiety, being around other people, and those moments in the writing process where you aren’t really sure what happens next. We talked about the various merits and flaws of that much caffeine consumption – some of which I knew (too much coffee in short succession actually makes you tired, but stops you from getting good REM sleep) and some of which I didn’t (it’s entirely possible that the consumption of three cups of coffee before breakfast were having an adverse affect on my concentration). Afterwards I did the math on how much coffee I’m generally drinking a day, and even I was willing to admit it was probably a few cups too many. And since limiting myself to two or three cups a day was only going to give me the space to slowly rationalise my way upwards, I’m sticking with one cup a day and calling it done.

Cthulhu knows how long this will last – I am, after all, a geek and if there’s one thing I know about hanging out with other geeks its that coffee is omnipresent – but the plan is to stay on one coffee a day until the end of October and revisit things.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stare at the coffee machine and pine for a while. ‘Cause while I seem to be okay with cutting back physically, I really miss the routine of making the next cup…

* basically, for the next ten days, I’ll be running at speeds that make me envy people on dial-up for their swift and decisive internet access. This means that certain things can still be accessed and used (gmail, the back-end of the website, livejournal on days when people don’t post big images), some things are pretty patchy in terms of access (facebook), and some things just outright don’t work (twitter, hotmail).**

** Or I can just do the sensible thing and upgrade my account, get a boat-load more bandwidth, and save $10 a month on the bill.

  2 comments for “Cutting back on coffee, redux

  1. Dave Swanson
    27/09/2010 at 11:44 PM

    I don't know if it's any consolation, but I've always thought of you as a damn talented author. Just a few nights ago I showed someone "Lost Books" collection and they thought it was great.

    I picked up Bleed, would love to get you to autograph it at some point 🙂

    Good luck on the coffee front.


  2. Melinda
    06/10/2010 at 12:27 AM

    I like checking in on your blog because you are always trying to improve something. The first time I cut out caffein (Coke is my particular downfall) I did it the month before my senior recital and it really did help me stay calmer for the performance. Many years later, I cut it out completely to get over anxiety issues and it also worked for that. So maybe not drinking coffee will help you overcome writing anxieties. Good luck with it.

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