This adjective describes something that is lacking in any sort of nutritive value, or (aside from food) without significance or interest, or something that is generally simplistic, naive or superficially rendered. This is from the Latin jejunus, meaning "barren or fasting". Somewhere along the line this came to mean "not intellectually nourishing." (Oxford Dictionaries)
It's important to be conscious of how we're feeding ourselves intellectually, because that will feed into the writing we produce. The things we read - from novels to newspaper articles to tweets - can either amount to tons of cake or a bowl of highly nutritious blueberries. Too much television is comparable to a surfeit of caffeine. Are we going for the superficial and the sugary or the vitamins and antioxidants? Are we learning? Or are we merely being entertained? Are we energized or left feeling tired? Believe me, I struggle with these things all the time.
Blueberries are better than cake.
I've learned that staying intellectually healthy may include:
- Not letting Twitter run your writing life.
- Reading "new" things - books and stories outside of the comfort zone, whatever that may mean.
- Getting off the internet (ahem, Pinterest) and the computer and basking in some quiet time.
- Taking walks without the aid of an iPod soundtrack.
- Reducing caffeine intake.
- Keeping a journal and writing by hand (to maintain tactile connections between the act of writing and the connections made in the brain).
- Watching television sparingly. I don't believe that television is completely bad for us, because it is an alternate form of storytelling... although I find it is not very helpful on terms of craft. Nothing clears the brain faster after a stressful day than losing oneself in an episode or two of something that makes me wonder about life.
- Getting out of the chair. We tend to work best planted in a sedentary fashion - there really is no way around that. But getting up and moving around pushes blood into the brain and keeps us thinking. Do it!