Friday, May 23, 2008

Recipe for Writing Success

Disclaimer: This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a meal plan. Specifically, this plan consistes of four parts, meat, veggies, spices, bread.

Bread. Like the bread you eat, this part of your recipe is made from basic materials. Decide what you want from your career. Is it a hobby for you, or do you want a career in writing? If you want a hobby, then you will use lighter, easier to prepare ingredients. If you want a career, then you’re talking something richer or heavier. So, snack cake or whole wheat? White bread, or Rye. Your decision.

Meat (or other protein source. This is the foundation the success meal is built around.
A. What do you want to write? Don’t think about what you think is selling. Consider what you want. What books do you enjoy reading? What television shows and movies do you watch? These questions will give you an idea of the direction your writing should take.
B. What are you willing to do to make it work? How much time and money are you willing to spend. What can you cut out of your life to make time to write? What can you cut back on? Are there things you can delegate to others?
C. Realize this won’t be easy. Make a commitment for the long run.

Veggies. How fast do you write? Do you need a lot of time to do revisions over and over? Does it take a long time to grow an idea into a useful form? How easy is it for you to create a character? This will tell you if need to use frozen veggies, or fresh. In other words, if you need 2-3 years to go from a solid idea to a polished manuscript, then you probably shouldn't build your meal plan around three books per year. On the other hand, if you can do a faster turnaround (and still do a good, solid job!), then you can take that into consideration and possibly plan for that three books a year.

Spices. These are the extras that make your meal more enjoyable. What are your support sources? Family? Friends? Groups? Associations? Internet? Explore your options. Use these resources to the greatest advantage. Family not supportive? Then don’t spend your precious time and energy trying to convince them that you’re the next Nora Roberts. They won’t listen. Tell them writing is important to you. That writing makes you happy. And that a happier you makes for a calmer household. If they’re supportive, thank them. Then take advantage of the gift to do what’s important to you--writing. The same thing goes for friends, and other support systems. Evaluate the situation. But don’t let lack of support stop you, just find another source.

Remember, things change. Every year or so, reevaluating the plan is a good idea. Make changes as needed or desired. Make the meal your own.

I hope you don’t mind if I add a personal note to this recipe. I use this very meal plan in my life. And next Tuesday (May 27), my paranormal romance, Shadows of Evil comes out from Samhain Publishing. For more information, you can go here.


  1. Guess I'm a fresh veggie kind of gal, 'cause my garden grows ever so slowly (my WIP is now 2+ yrs in the growing). Guess it's all that weeding that's my problem.

  2. Nothing wrong with weeding. I've done plenty of that. Just plan your career to work with the type of writer you are. You may well get faster as you go along.

    But don't forget to keep writing new material. As important as revision and polishing is, it's also important to keep creating new things.

    Yeah, hard work. But if you love it, it's not so bad. :)

  3. Cheryel would it be possible for me to share this one my writing blog? You can email me at with your response. I love what you are saying.