As I was railing against this difficulty this week, something occurred to me-- the way I cook is a really great metaphor for my writing career. I try things, things that are hard, things that make me uncomfortable, things that challenge me, and things that bring me comfort.And sometimes, I cry.
September was a month for crying over yeast breads, and my latest WIP. I am writing a book that is a fictionalization of my mom's struggle with cancer. I wanted to tell her story, and mine as well. Every time I open it, I convince myself that I am not worthy of writing this book, that my attempts are trite and that I am not talented enough to write in a way that honors what cancer patients go through.
Like all of my attempts at yeast breads, this dough just would not rise.
I took a long weekend last weekend-- I've been traveling a ton and I was tired and needed it. As it turns out, this was a really smart move. On Friday, I got up and decided I was going to bake and write-- yeast bread and at least 4,000 words in the new book. My progress was rocky.
- At 8 a.m., I had the first starter dough rising, and 500 words written.
- By 10 a.m. I had thrown away the first starter because it failed to rise, and 300 words written.
- At 11 a.m. I decided to buck up, put together another starter, and deleted my 300 words to start over.
- By noon, I was ready to give up. Yeast bread should not be this hard, and now the second started did nothing. And the book... hell, this thing is fiction that draws inspiration from my life. Why was writing it so damned hard?
- And then, at 1 p.m., I put a solid set to my shoulders, put together my third attempt at starter dough, and turned my computer back on. I will stop feeling defeated, I promised myself.
Something amazing happened-- the dough rose. I think I used cooler water, a ceramic bowl, and suddenly, I had bubbly dough and a signal of hope. I added the rest of the ingredients, set it to keep rising, and went to work writing.