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Variety may be the spice of life—but it’s the DEVIL at a Buffet…

September 20, 2014

My 8th grade English teacher in Louisville, Mississippi, always said “Variety is the spice of life!”  I still agree with Mrs. Camille Fulton, even to this day.  I’ve noticed, however, that variety CAN be a devil.

Today we took Mom to the local Chinese buffet.  I was determined to have a single, simple plate, be a good boy, eat light.  Hey—I’d had several complements lately on weight loss.  I had motivation. I had some accomplishment.

But variety took me by surprise.  It ambushed my ambitions. I’d whispered to myself about 15 times, “Just a taste of this,” and “Only a bite of that,” and “What’s Chinese without a mound of rice?”  “Oooh…pretty dumplings!”

After my second plate of variety, with dessert choices pending, I felt the post-buffet blah. I began to wonder.

Having just figured out Twitter I now have another social network serving line. Within each serving line there are many sterno-heated bins of varieiy.  Advice, wisdom, trends, challenges in multiple genres, forms, and styles.

No wonder I feel stuffed, overwhelmed, and groggy.

How do I battle this buffet-style mentality?  I am working to integrate these strategies into my writer’s diet  (uhh…I mean lifestyle.)

Focus for purpose. One of the best things I’ve done this last year is focus on non-fiction.  As much as I love the fiction line as a story-teller, I felt I needed a focus.  This focus helps me bypass the items that don’t fit on my plate. Focus on a genre, a form, or a style for a season…and only pick from your network feeds what matches that focus.

Fewer entrees for more flavor. Can you imagine dumping your full plate into a food processor before you eat it and pressing the pulse key a few times?  You will loose the flavors of every post in the mix. Overwhelm your system and the delights of flavor, seasoning, and aroma can’t be enjoyed. Savor the posts that matter to your writing career moment.

Smaller servings for full satisfaction.  Gorging on anything minimizes the satisfaction you can feel from good food.    Set a timer when you browse. Avoid checking facebook, Twitter, email notifications all in one setting. Don’t join in on every challenge that’s offered and available.

These strategies can help me appreciate the variety of options up for grabs, while helping me to savor distinct selections in our kid-lit community—without the post-buffet blahs.

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