Cooking Up a Book Takes Perseverance

Writing a book calls for a recipe of careful planning mixed with blood, sweat and tears. And don’t forget to stir in confidence, persistence and stubbornness.

And just when you start to get excited, thinking you are onto something, someone tells you the batter looks kind of funny. Why is it that weird orange color? There are no oranges in this recipe!

So you mix and stir and mix some more. This time the recipe will be perfect…won’t it?

Fingers crossed
On a wish and a prayer, you pop the doughy mass in the oven (which in this case takes the form of an email to an editor or agent you think might have interest) and then there’s the inevitable wait, wait, wait and wait some more while it bakes.

What will the finished product look like? A lopsided mess? Or will it, perhaps, take shape and form while it’s baking, rising to the perfection you know in your heart it can achieve?

But even if it looks good, what about the taste? What will the critics think?

And then self-doubt moves in. “What do you know?” the little voice says. “You didn’t go to culinary school. Your degree is in marketing. You don’t know how to cook. In fact, you have no business wearing an apron or being in the kitchen! Just because you made one pie years ago, which your mother and father said was delicious, doesn’t qualify you as a chef. And yes, I know your friends and coworkers all rave about your cooking, but they have no professional experience in the kitchen.

What will it be this time?

What will it be this time?

Looking for love
Still you hope and pray someone, anyone will give you a word of encouragement. Just enough to keep you going another week or day or minute. But the words you crave are few and far between because…well..because everyone else is dreaming up their own recipe and waiting for it to come out of the oven like you.

Ding! The oven timer (and believe me, my email ping, indicating an agent, editor or contest coordinator has responded to a submission, sounds just like my oven timer) has rung. What will it be this time? With shaky hands you open the over door and peer inside, pull the pan out and look it over with a critical eye. Looks and smells okay to you. The dough has risen. One taster even remarks on that. But most of the others agree it wasn’t ready to come out of the oven yet. You should have added extra flour or a bit more sugar.

With heavy heart, you tweak the recipe, which takes weeks and months until you don’t want to fiddle with it anymore. Because the more you fiddle, the more you’re afraid you’ll end up ruining the inspiration for it, which got you excited about concocting the darn thing in the first place.

But finally, finally, it’s perfect and ready to go back in the oven.

You wipe a sweaty hand across your brow and with churning stomach and a dollop of courage, reach for the over door again.

This time, you tell yourself. This time’s a real winner. I just know it.

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2 Comments

  1. Great Analogy. I’m still afraid they won’t like my cake, so I’m reluctant to share. Need wipe the flour off my hands and take that step.

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