After Page One
A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire…
As a mother, and cook of the family, I am asked throughout the day by my children, sometimes as early as breakfast: “What’s for dinner?”
It’s an infernal question, loathed by many parents, as if kids need to brace themselves for a surprise casserole of hidden vegetables or hold out hope for a fried, greasy mess that resembles nothing in the food pyramid.
“Whatever the refrigerator produces,” I say because most days I don’t know. I write like I cook. Some days lack a recipe and I manage to produce a whimsical and creative meal; other days the lack of direction produces a taco bar with expired sour cream and limp lettuce. However, my very best writing is like my Sunday pasta sauce. It simmers in the afternoon, leaving no doubt as to what’s for dinner. The recipe is simple, learned long ago from muscle memory, then tested and tweaked throughout the day for the right amount of garlic and seasonings. It’s intentional and will be presented to a table of people hungry for quality that is achieved only through time and instincts honed by years of practice—and, perhaps, a dash of Italian heritage.
Like the Sunday sauce, I have learned throughout the years to be more patient with my writing, to allow each story to breathe and simmer. Sometimes a story is only realized upon reflection and introspection. I will write a draft or two, take a walk, and ask myself: What is this story really about? Sometimes only a sentence is salvageable, but it is the pulse that leads to something bigger, and what starts as a taco Tuesday might just become a Sunday sauce. Other times I get lucky and nail it straight away. However, even with those stories, the idea or characters have secretly simmered in my head for months, or even years waiting for direction. Just like honing your craft, just like parenting itself, the secret ingredients in writing aren’t so secret, they’re just habits formed with hard work, muscle memory, luck, and a lot of patience.
Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects. Read more about submissions to the blog here.