Now, I know not everyone is a chocolate fan, but bear with me. There are other similar writer’s aids. I try to avoid them but I’ve been known to indulge from time to time.
As a woman who leads a fairly sedentary life I decided long ago not to stock chocolate in my pantry. It was just asking for trouble and, though generally I prefer savoury to sweet, a really good quality chocolate is hard to resist.
I did well I thought until the day Ms V sent me a little thank you parcel. Sweet of her, I thought! I was working on my 4th book for Harlequin Presents and was almost half way through writing FOR THE SHEIKH’S PLEASURE. Then, out of the blue came the largest block of dark Lindt chocolate I’d ever seen in my life. Honestly, it was huuuuge. My solution was to promise myself I’d only eat a couple of pieces if I was writing new pages of my story (not fiddling with what I already had) and then to make it tough, only after I had a certain number of pages down. I was terrified I’d get addicted to the stuff and not be able to stop.
And the outcome? I finished the rest of that book in record time and the words just seemed to flow. Whatever I was doing right on that book really worked. I hesitate to say it but maybe it was chocolate inspiration. Since then I’ve steered clear of temptation as far as possible but the trouble is I have generous friends who appreciate a nice choccie as much as I do. I recently came home from Sydney with a box of choc truffles and a packet of Tim Tams (Aussie choc on choc cookies that are simply scrumptious) from friends. Now I’m back to rationing, aiming to help me through this current book.
I know a lot of other writers who allow themselves treats when they’ve achieved something. One author lines up M&Ms near her computer and lets herself eat one after a certain amount of work. Others describe allowing themselves to skive off and read a chapter of a good book as a reward for finishing a chapter, or going out to have coffee with friends. Another bribe...er, indulgence I’ve heard of is treating yourself to a new release movie at the end of a week if you’ve made your word or chapter count.
Writing is our bread and butter as well as our joy so you’d think we’d all be able to sit down and just write. But the truth is that sometimes it can be a hard slog and the promise of something nice can give that extra bit of enthusiasm on a day when we’d much rather be washing the dog or changing the oil in the car than working out why our hero and heroine aren’t cooperating.
Do you have favourite treats? Indulgences you allow yourself only once in a while – maybe as an incentive or just because you can? I’d love to hear about them!
Annie is currently working on her 10th book for Harlequin Presents. In the meantime, she has concurrent releases in Australia and New Zealand. THE THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE is out now and THE BILLIONAIRE’S BOUGHT MISTRESS is a December release. You can read excerpts and reviews on her website or buy the books from Harlequin Australia or Amazon UK.