Rough Draft with Cheese

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I’m considering making pretzels. A big, soft pretzel sounds yummy, especially since my carb intake has dropped significantly in the last 52 days, as part of my 90-day “eat better” plan. I came across a pretzel recipe in the newspaper and was intrigued. Yes, it would be a transgression from the 90-day plan, but I am rationalizing that the severity of the carbohydrate violation is offset by the effort required to make them myself instead of succumbing to the charms of the pretzel shop in the mall. Of course, by that reasoning, it’s o.k. to do meth as long as you’re cooking it yourself. I still haven’t watched Breaking Bad, but I’m guessing that’s a slippery slope. I don’t have a recipe for meth, but the instructions for making pretzels seem simple enough.

I wish I had a recipe for writing. For me, writing is not a simple process. I recently typed a few lines intended as a blog post, but I hated every word of it. As the sentences spilled onto the page, they felt ugly, sloppy, and, worst of all, boring. Growing convinced it was only getting worse, I stopped at the nearest paragraph, clicked save, and moved on to more important matters, like Facebook and binge watching House of Cards. I wrote it off, figuratively, as a brief literary workout that may not yield great results but let me feel I’d exercised that muscle. Interestingly, when I did muster up the courage to face that writing failure, I found it wasn’t so bad. The paragraphs needed a bit of rearranging and revision, but it became a blog post with which I was quite pleased.

I had been avoiding working on my new book project for the same reason. The words I was stringing together felt dull and lifeless as I typed, but when I finally went back to read the draft, I was pleased, and I lectured myself that maybe I should have a little more confidence. I committed to spend 30 minutes each day working on the book. It’s not much, but the new season of House of Cards is coming out soon and a few words are better than none. I recently posted advice for would-be marathoners: just run. I am trying to take my own advice when it comes to writing. I just need to get the words typed. It’s good raw material that can become something worth reading. It will take some work – and by some, I mean a lot – but it will eventually become a book I’m proud of.

My writing process is very different than cooking. I’m not the type of person who can take a pile of ingredients and turn it into something delicious, no matter how much I work at it. The time that typically elapses between my first and final drafts would result in spoiled ingredients. I need a kitchen-tested recipe to ensure I produce something delicious. Like big, warm, soft carb-loaded pretzels. With cheese sauce. Mmm, cheese sauce. I need to find a recipe for that.

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