I started writing my first novel a long time ago, before I had my son and when I had a (somewhat) demanding fulltime job. I’d write during my lunch hour. And I’d spend the morning thinking about my book. And sometimes my lunch hour would last … longer than an hour. I’d write with my door open, not wanting anyone to think I was doing anything other than writing press releases, constantly looking over my shoulder as the words flowed from my fingers.
I wasn’t supposed to be writing, and yet I couldn’t stop. (It’s a good thing it wasn’t an internet porn habit!)
Oh, those were the days! Nowadays the only boss I’m accountable to is myself, and my to-do list is filled with chapters to write, outlines to plan, ideas to transcribe, and pages to edit. I have the time, the ideas, and there’s no one lurking in the hallway trying to figure out what I’m working on.
And writing my daily pages is like pulling teeth. I’m constantly rewarding myself for putting down a single paragraph by flipping over to Facebook, catching up on email, or sneaking a peek at the latest 99 cent novel I just downloaded to my Kindle.
Because those activities are now my forbidden fruit. I’m supposed to do the writing. I’m not supposed to be sneaking off to check Facebook. And yet, that’s what I’m doing.
And I know I’m not alone. When something is forbidden, it becomes irresistible. That’s why dieters are urged to keep their favorite foods in their diet somehow; while parents know it only makes things worse to tell their teenager they can’t date someone.
Even the term “forbidden fruit” comes from the very first time this happened – when Eve ate the apple from the tree God specifically told her not to eat from. (Although these days “forbidden cookie” might be a more appropriate term.)
For myself and other writers who spend way too much time not writing, I’m wondering if there’s any way to turn the daily writing into forbidden fruit.
So my writer friends: I am absolutely forbidding you from getting any writing done! You must go to the gym, pay the bills and do the laundry. No writing! THE GYM AWAITS.
I’ll check back in a week and you can tell me if that helps.