This past week I devoted my time to making a wedding cake for a friend. This was my very first attempt at a wedding cake and I was just a little stressed about it. Okay, a LOT stressed. Thankfully the lady I made the cake for was not a total bridezilla and she was happy with the finished product! PHEW.
Much like writing a book, this cake needed a plan.
First: I had to decide (or in this case, agree on) an overall concept. For this cake it was three tiered and each layer a different flavor. The cake would be covered in white fondant and accented with silver trim and Sapphire blue flowers.
Second: I had to execute that plan in a step-wise process; baking the cakes, whipping the frosting, rolling the fondant, creating flowers.
Third: I had to prioritize my time. Segments of my day needed to be dedicated to working on specific phases of the cake. Some days I only accomplished a few steps, other days I tackled something huge, like the 3 F's - fill, frost and fondant! Honestly, the 3 F's are a lot like the muddy middle in writing...it's boring, tedious work but it needs to be done - and executed correctly - otherwise the whole thing flops, slides or tips!
In the end, if I've followed all the proper steps, my cake will be a success. Sometimes it doesn't exactly turn out as planned, usually with a pleasant surprise or happy accident which changed the course of the final outcome. Other times it comes out exactly as I had envisioned.
Every single time I've made a cake (or written a manuscript) one phrase repeats in my mind, "What did I get myself into?! I'm never doing this again!"
But then I step back, admire my work and think, "It was worth it."
Months later when inspiration for another cake (book) strikes, the only words I hear are, "It wasn't so bad last time. I can do it again!"
And I do!
How about you? Do you ever wonder what you've gotten yourself into when you start another manuscript? What keeps you pressing forward?