For about a month now I’ve made the lifestyle and diet change known as “Going Paleo.” It goes by many names: The Caveman Diet, The Paleo Diet, Way Too Hard Diet, and so on. I won’t go into detail about what my experience has been since the change except to say that I’ve gotten the results I was hoping for a whole lot more.
For those of you unfamiliar with the diet, here it is in a nutshell: You’re only allowed to eat things that paleolithic man was able to eat. That he could gather and kill with his bare hands or sharpened tools. Nuts, berries, fruit and lean meat are all okay. Spices and olive oils are fine. Cheeses, breads, grains, preservatives, and anything else made through a “process” or in a lab somewhere are right out.
Was it difficult? Yes. Were there times I wanted to quit? You bet. Did I occasionally cheat? You betcha.
Aside from learning the difference between good and bad fats, good and bad calories and how good fruit can taste once you eliminate sugar from your diet, I learned that there are a lot of principles that can be applied to the art of writing from this diet. Here’s a few of the ones I’ve thought of so far.
- You Don’t Need All That Filler…One of the first things they drill into your head when you start the Paleo Diet is that most of the food we’ve been eating for hundreds of years either goes through an unnatural process before we eat it or (especially nowadays) is loaded with chemical preservatives. While those fillers and extras may be good for the shelf life of the food in question, it’s terrible for our bodies. By cutting out all those fillers, you’re able to get back to what truly fuels your body and work more efficiently than ever before.When it comes to blogging, there’s a good possibility that you are filling your content with a lot of filler that doesn’t need to be there. Maybe it’s jokes and stories (which can be good in proportion) or maybe it’s just that you haven’t figured out a way to get your points across concisely yet. One of my favorite quotes about writing comes from Blaise Pascal and it reads “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” It is a misunderstanding that your writing has to be flowery and long to be of value. Cut out the fat.
- …In Fact, A Lot of it May Be Hurting YouOkay, we’ve talked about how your writing doesn’t need to be long and involved. The truth is, in a lot of circumstances, it may actually be hurting you. In the past few years, our attention spans have gone from reading books, to reading blog posts, to reading Tweets to simply looking at pictures on Pintrest and moving on. If you’re filling your content with a whole lot of fatty stuff, your readers may be taking one peek and moving on.This will of course vary by audience, but play around with some shorter posts that get right to the heart of the matter and check your analytics. You might be quite surprised. I know Seth Godin would agree.
- Less Fat = Better MealsOne of the most surprising things about being on this diet has been how good food has started to taste to me. Once I cut out all the chemicals and preservatives from my diet and my palate adjusted, foods I never really cared about started exciting me. Bowls of fruit have become the sweetest and most delicious thing in the world. Well-cooked beef has all the flavor of a five-star meal all by itself. Bison burgers on lettuce with home-made guacamole taste better than anything at Burger King or Taco Bell. It’s incredible.A lot of us feel that “Oh, I can’t give up ___________ in my writing. It’ll never be the same,” or “I just couldn’t get my point across without _________.” The truth is, I NEVER thought I could give up breads and cheese, but I have and I’m better for it. It’s true that without _______________ or ____________ your writing may never be the same, but what if it’s better?
- Change Is Hard, But A Lot Of Times It’s BeneficialMaking this change has not been easy. It’s been hard on me, my wife, our fiends and my family. Eating out and dinner parties have become a LOT more of a hassle than they were two months ago, but we’ve stuck with it and all my clothes are already starting to fit better. I have more energy and I’m sleeping better. So it has become worth it and is now easier to go forward.Have I cheated? Of course. You’ll go crazy if you don’t allow yourself some wiggle room and you should do the same with your writing. Not all your posts have to be some caveman, skin and bones format, but once you start cutting out some fat from your blog’s diet, you might just find that you like the way it feels and want to move forward that way. It’s a lot healthier to be healthy 80% of the time and cheat 20% rather than fatty 80% of the time and only healthy 20% of the time.
I couldn’t have done this without the support I had and a desire to persevere and see where it took me. The road has been hard and I’m sure there will be many more obstacles in the way, but everything I’ve seen an experienced tells me that I’m on the right path and I’d love for you to experience that in your writing as well. It may be hard sometimes, but I’l bet you’ll find it’s worth it.
Have you thought of cutting out the fat from your blog posts? Have you thought of Going Paleo? Known anyone else who has?