Sunday, December 9, 2012

My family has always referred to me as "cookie challenged." It's not that I am a bad cook - I regularly make gourmet meals from scratch. And I even bake sometimes. But for years, mastering almost any kind of cookies seemed out of reach.

But this year I decided I was going to try anyway. I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that sounded yummy and they actually came out perfect. So I moved on to something a little more challenging - meringue cookies. If the egg whites aren't beaten enough or if they are overcooked, the delicate cookies are ruined. But guess what - I did it. And on the second try, I added some peppermint and mini chocolate chips, customizing the recipe and making it more my own.
My next challenge will be pralines, which are pretty difficult since they require the use of a candy thermometer. And between you and me - I've screwed them up more than once.

All this has taught me a little something that I can apply to writing. Sometimes we fail at writing something because we don't yet have the knowledge or experience we need. So we start with small steps - a short story or a single chapter. We work at creating characters that leap off the page and romantic tension that sizzles. We take the challenges that come with each phase or writing a book until we master them.

We kick it up to the next level by adding elements of language and character that are uniquely our own voice. I can add those chocolate chips or even a sprinkle of lemon zest or cinnamon to spice it up. So yeah, I can do this.

Okay - back to work. I hear my Work-in-Progress calling.

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