Last week, while I prepared my contributions for Thanksgiving dinner, I noticed a theme. I kept undercooking food. I’m a “cook it until it looks right” person, which means I rarely know how long something is supposed to cook. Most of the time this approach works. But when it doesn’t, it can be frustrating. It means I have to keep poking and prodding, tasting and sampling, and asking for feedback. All of this in the pursuit of a perfectly cooked dish. A dish that will inspire belly rubs, satisfied smiles, and the desire for seconds.
Interestingly, this baking theme is also my writing theme for the year. I have an undercooked book. I keep poking and prodding, tasting and sampling, and asking for feedback. All of this in the pursuit of a perfectly cooked…uh, I mean, well written book. But unlike a dish, writing a book does not come with a “cook time.” It is an “I’ll know when it’s done,” experience.
Some writers can write a book in three drafts, others need a gazillion. (I suspect I may be in the latter group.) But it isn’t about the number of attempts. It IS about creating the perfect dish/book. Sometimes that means starting over. Sometimes that means poking and prodding. Sometimes that means trying a new approach.
As I do a final read through before I send DC out for another round of critiques, I want to leave a little reminder to myself: Tracy, it is about creating the best story. You have to keep at it until it “looks right.”
(Or say, "screw it," and send out for pizza. J)