Weekend Writer: Are you a Veggie, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Writer, where we focus a little more on fiction writing.  Thank you for your response to the two blogs Diane Capri and I published about psychopaths.  You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  She is an amazing writer and a good friend and I hope you’ll enjoy her book, Fatal Distraction.

What is your reactions to stress, change and pressure?  We work in a volatile industry. Publishing is under huge pressure right now and no one can foresee the final outcome.  Some of us are under contract to traditional publishing houses, are delighted to be there and have no desire for anything different. Some traditionally published authors are also putting out e-books.  Other people could not get a deal, or didn’t try, or walked away from those same houses and are independently publishing on the internet, via Amazon, Smashwords and many others.  Some of us are sitting on the fence, uncertain of what to do.

Stress and pressure are facts of life.  They always have been.  Whether we were running from the saber-toothed tiger or trying to get across town for a meeting, life is full of challenges.  And we all know that what we do with that stress and how we handle it has a great impact on our longevity and health.

Purposefully, writers put themselves into a milieu where stress is always present.  Deadlines (mine or my editors), reviews (good or bad), sales (high or low), and industry evolution (to hell or to heaven) are all part of the life of today’s writers.  How do you handle this stress?

Here are three examples of response to the stressors of writing:

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

1. Every root vegetable, when cooked, can be firm and crunchy or soft and mushy.  Itsimply depends on the time they spent in the boiling water.  As a new bride, I can attest that potatoes, when cooked too long, turn to soup.  So do carrots.

2.  Eggs, on the other hand, when boiled, become hard.  If you leave them in the hot water too long, they turn black and ugly.

3. Coffee beans, however, become aromatic and enticing when boiled.  They pump up your heart rate and open your eyes.

When we are stressed, some of us curl in on ourselves and collapse emotionally.  We can’t go on.  Writing for publication is not a good business for you if this is your response, simply because the industry is in such a state of flux, there is no predictability.  What worked yesterday, won’t work today, or tomorrow.

CR: Wikipedia Commons

If you respond like an egg, this might not be a good time for you to shoot for publication either.  Those black tinged, rubbery eggs are not appealing and they are most definitely not healthy.  If your voice is getting strained, you’re having back trouble or muscle problems or headaches, this might be you – even if you aren’t aware of the stress you’re experiencing.

CR: Wikipedia Commons

But if each change brings with it anticipation and excitement, a sense of a new day dawning, then welcome to the industry.  You will succeed because you will be able to take all that stress and turn it into productive, energetic, exciting output that the world wants.

Which type are you?  Can you think of a way to move from the veggie or egg stage to that of coffee?  How can you make that change? Who can help you if it’s necessary?  If your responses are more like the coffee bean, how did you learn that?  And more importantly, how do you maintain it in these crazy times?

My thanks to Olivia McIvor for the originating idea for this post.

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About Louise Behiel

Author, coach, therapist, mother and grandmother. I'm on a spiritual journey and consciously work to grow every day.
This entry was posted in Louise Behiel, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Weekend Writer: Are you a Veggie, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

  1. I’d like to always be a coffee bean, but I know that sometimes I can end up as the egg… though the hard and ugly bits I tend to keep to myself.

  2. Great analogy, Louise. I tend to withdraw when emotionally overloaded, then become a coffee bean, enthused and outgoing and ready to try anything. Being a coffee bean is far more fun than being a veggie. 🙂

    • I’m with you. But i have to be careful – it’s easy for me to become a human doing and be an egg. yuck. efficient, organized and busy. I try to stay away from that predicament. good to ‘see’ you

  3. What a creative post! Personally, I’ve always thought of myself as a tomato. (Tee-hee.)

    But using your analogy, while I strive to be a coffee bean, at times I’ve reacted like both a root vegetable and an egg. I guess that makes me a human bean.

  4. Joan Leacott says:

    I start out as a mushy over-cooked potato. Then I start adding milk and butter and dill and maybe some sauteed garlic (aka information and knowledge) and become glorious mashed potatoes, smooth, firm and tasty, a wonderful accompaniment to whatever else is happening on the plate. Who doesn’t like a good mashed potato? Or a fun analogy? Thanks, Louise.

    • that’s wonderful, Joan. it’s amazing to me how each of us learns to cope with our own individual style and we either make the most of it or it destroys us.

      thanks for stopping by

  5. Oh what fun! I love it! But…

    I don’t wanna be the egg! They can turn black and nasty…however…I know from experience that they also explode if you neglect them for too long. 🙂

    Hmm. Gonna have to go for a combo here. I used to be a combination coffee bean and root veggie, depending on what was going on in my life. I’m not sure what I am right now. Until I whip this fatigue I have to back myself into a corner and put a lot of pressure on myself in order to be productive. I’m not sure what that would be called…except maybe adapting to TEMPORARY obstacles. 🙂

  6. sounds good, Kristy. we all have to adapt. take care

  7. Zen says:

    I think I’m a bit of every thing… I can be excited and optimistic, but when I’m stressed I do turn into a potato mush, or else I’ll just become ugly like an overboiled egg. I don’t handle stress really well.

    • have you heard of or tried any strategies to learn to handle stress better? research is showing that stress is the major killer, causing all sorts of ugly stuff. that’s the key I think. Know what type you are and then utilize strategies to overcome them. thanks for stopping by.

  8. I love the mashed potatoes with the milk and butter and dill and garlic. and might as well throw in the egg! For most of the time, I think I can do the coffee bean and enjoy the whole crazy process. especially if I slip into a Caramel Frappuccino. As for achieving that? Well, most of the time, I bury my head in the sand, pretend it’s not really happening and it’s simply an exercise. Then, if I do end up publishing, well, I’ll take the next step from there.
    fun post Louise and great analogy.

  9. Kim Bussey says:

    What a hoot! Your post made me smile, and that’s what I like when I’m stress. I find something that brings out a chuckle.

  10. What a sweet post! I’d say I’m a coffee bean when it comes to friction and challenges in my writing career. I do have occasional moments of egg hardness, but letting myself feel through them tends to make the coffee explode. LOL Love it, Louise. Thanks for the weekend inspiration!

    • It’s always nice to see you August. I’m not surprised you’re a coffee bean. like you I can do the rotten hard egg at times. have to watch for that. LOL

      enjoy th eweekend

  11. Debra Kristi says:

    Need I say that I would like to be the coffee all the time? LOL. But like Sheila I’ll ten pull away from everyone and everything for awhile when I feel myself becoming the veggie or the egg until I can find the coffee potential within me again. I do not want to become the exploding egg Kristy mentioned. 😦

  12. I think I vacillate from fried egg to espresso. With the occasional mushy vegetable moment. 🙂

  13. Karen McFarland says:

    Great analogy Louise! I used to be more like coffee until I perked myself to death. I seriously burned out my adrenal glands. And I have CFS which doesn’t help. So I have to pace myself. I would say, as a veggie, I have been done strained and pureed! LOL! This would be a huge reason why I plan on self-publishing Louise. It does have its benefits. And I am so used to working for myself that I don’t know if I would care to answer to someone else at this point of my life. I say this as I am prodding myself to get busy plotting! Have a nice weekend Louise! 🙂

    • Karen, how wise you are to know what will work and what won’t. it seems to be an outcome of burnout and living our lives with different choices. thanks for stopping by. have a wonderful weekend.

  14. It’s all down to how long you stay in the boiling water for: the perfect boiled egg takes six minutes (according to Delia Smith). Getting your timing right to write is all part of the art, at least that’s what we believe at Hard Egg News.
    Nice post, Louise.

    • Thanks for stopping by. and of course you’re right – but we all have individual limits for how long things take. I live in the foothills of the rockies and because of our elevation, the timing to cook anything is different. I think that’s true for us as well – we have to know ourselves so we can control our stress. I love the statement “Getting your timing right to write is all part of the art.” so very true. thanks

  15. Heidi says:

    Great analogy and pictures

  16. Heidi says:

    My comment posted before I was done…slip of the fingertip. I am interested to hear how you ended up choosing the traditional route over self-publishing. I’ve always been a DYI so I tend towards the other. Also, do you recommend any of them (s-p) over the others? I’m very determined to get Debbie’s (Two Minutes of Grace) into print as a devotional. This topic really hit close to home for me, as I’m becoming a bean and have always been an egghead!

    • Heidi, I tried for years to sell to New York, with no success. My books didn’t fit. Came close a couple of times, but always somebody up the chain decided I wasn’t marketable. then self pubbing hit the world. Like you I am a DIY, so this was a great fit for me. I self published both Family Ties and the anthology. Additionally, my next book, Family LIes, is at the editor now. as soon as it comes back, i’ll put it on Amazon as well. (The cover is already done.)
      I’m flattered you think I’m New York pubbed, though. You just made my day.

  17. Ugh, too much stress, too much to do = sometimes the egg, sometimes the mushy vegetables. So I step back on the goals until I can be like the coffee bean!

  18. Coleen Patrick says:

    Fun post Louise! I like Roxy’s answer–a human bean. Very cute. I have my excited coffee bean moments, but I also get overwhelmed and need to withdraw. I was going to say I was on the fence with all the pub decisions–but then I suddenly had a vision of Humpty Dumpty up on the wall! Ha ha.

    • oh oh. aren’t we lucky to be in a time when we get to make all those decisions? In most of the past that wasn’t our choice. and yes, be careful sitting on that wall if you aren’t hard boiled LOL

  19. 4amWriter says:

    Creative post! I think I have run the gamut of veggie, egg, and coffee. When I first started out, I definitely collapsed from the stress–I gave up writing for several years, in fact. Finally, I got back to that pen and paper and tried again, and for a while handled stress like an egg.

    I think I am finally aromatic like coffee, lol. It has taken a long, long road to get to this place however. But I try to look at it positively by having experienced all three and knowing what each one is like. I will never be a veggie or an egg again!

    Thanks for this, it was fun to see myself in boiling water 😉

  20. boltoncarley says:

    well thought out piece. as a writer, i have this urge to want to come up with a new food and label myself as something else – can’t be one of the group! 🙂

  21. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Wonderful analogies, Louise. We’re all striving to be the coffee bean but too often my response to writing issues has been to run away from the tedious cooking and order a pizza. It’s a satisfying solution right then but not nourishing on the long run. I have to become my own barista and face the heat.

  22. Pingback: Link Feast For Writers, vol. 12 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog

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