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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Writer vs. Cake

Disclaimer: Neither I nor the cake look this good in real life.

Disclaimer: Neither I nor the cake look this good in real life.

By Rosanne Bane

At 8:00 last night, I stood in the bakery department at Cub, debating a piece of marble cake. What does that have to do with writing or writing resistance? Bear with me and you’ll see that how I got there and I got myself out of there is a great metaphor for resolving writing resistance.

I ended up in the Cub bakery last night because Claudia is out of town. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true: Claudia’s presence has a big influence on what I eat. My presence has an influence on what she eats, too. It has to do with mirror neurons, but that’s another post for another day.

I wouldn’t even seriously consider buying a piece of cake at Cub when Claudia’s around. Not that she’d forbid it or anything silly like that. She’d just raise her eyebrows and say something like “Really? You’re going to use points (Weight Watchers® method of tracking food) for that?! It’s not even good cake.”

Claudia is one of those “supervisors” I mentioned in last week’s post, Resistant or Under-Assisted. Claudia’s absence created an “accountability vacuum” and that vacuum sucked me into Cub’s bakery. The writing connection is fairly obvious: human beings are social creatures and we need other people to be our witnesses as we hold ourselves accountable to our commitments and goals. Not only do you need a writing supervisor, you need to have contingency plans for when one of your major supervisors is temporarily absent.

How did I get myself to step away from the cake? Especially when the Saboteur was crooning “Go ahead. It’s not dangerous, it’s just a small piece of cake.” (This is an example of how the Saboteur always lies: it was at least a 4 x 4 inch square of cake, which is at least 14 points, half my daily allowance.) “You won’t eat it all tonight. You know you want it. Get the one with the most frosting.”

It was touch and go. At one point, I had the cake – the one with the most frosting – in the cart and was headed for the checkout.

How I escaped in my next post, “Invite the Whole Choir to Sing.”

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6 Comments on “Writer vs. Cake”

  1. Susan Gray October 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    Thanks for having the courage to share the voices in your head. It makes me feel less crazy about my own choir. Keep battling back Rosanne –


    • rosannebane October 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

      Thanks Susan! Once I realized everyone has those voices in their head, I stopped feeling crazy about it. (But no worries, I still have other things to feel crazy about.)


  2. Sarah Tieck October 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    I nodded my head the WHOLE time I read this! Cake and I have this interaction almost every time I go in the grocery store … the cake has been winning a lot lately. But, I loved your wisdom!! I’ll be sharing with my WW friends. 🙂


    • rosannebane October 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

      Thanks Sarah! The interesting thing is that there is a correlation between how well my writing is going and what kind of food choices I make. If I let the Saboteur win in one place, it’s stronger and nastier in the other. Making healthy food choices makes it easier to show up as a writer.


  3. rosannebane October 8, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    Thanks Lee!


  4. Lee October 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Rosanne….I know all your heart warming, self disclosing vignettes are being filed for a book on Inner Writing. Keep up the great work. We all need more gut wrenching, enlightening humor in our lives.


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