Big & Abstract Writing Reflections


Dad's Oysters Rockefeller // Why, then the world's mine oyster/ Which I with sword will open.- The Merry Wives of Windsor, William Shakespeare

2012 will be a turning point for the book. I can say this without a doubt. But this year -- 2011 -- was the workhorse.

In 2011, I finished my 330-page manuscript, signed with an agent, and revised it to sparkling shape. I started this blog and connected with wonderful people on and offline about food and writing. This year, I became a sharper, savvier writer and I feel more on top of my game than ever.

How did I get there? 2011 was a productive year, but an exhausting one, too. Along the way I took on some mindtricks that helped me down this crazy book-writing road...

1. Be open about your passions. Seriously, why be so secretive? An isolated mind cannot breathe and therefore cannot be creative. I know of writers who don't talk about their work at all, but I am of the opinion that creativity is a river, not a pond. If you are open, generous, and let your ideas flow freely, you will never struggle for lack of ideas.

Sharing the process through conversation or a blog or Twitter might seem unseemly at first -- too much self-promotion, too self-centered. Just get over that. You can unlock so many networks of knowledge and even inspire others if you take the leap to share.

2. Be forthright about your fears. Let it go! Talk about rejection and your manuscript sucking and hitting rock bottom. The people who care about you will of course love you when you're up. And lo and behold, they'll even love you when you're down.

I used to think people would be disappointed in me if I showed my shortcomings. But thankfully, I've found that's not true. Being an open book lets you concentrate on more important things -- like writing an awesome book!

3. Published authors are just regular people, just more persistent and maybe lucky. I don't go to book readings to bask in an author's celebrity. I do it for the opposite reason -- to hear their stutter, see their stage fright, empathize with their writerly struggles. That, more than entourages and material trappings of success, is more inspiring. Authors are flawed, human, hard-working people. Once you see and meet them, it's easy for you to imagine yourself as one of them.

And if you can't, just fake it. As the wise Lady Gaga said, “When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.'"

What are other tips that help you with your writing?


Dave Pasternack's scallop ceviche