• How To Write A Cookbook: Don’t Quit Before You Start

    Don't Quit Before You Start2This story is about Felicia and Grant, two aspiring cookbook authors. Both Felicia and Grant think to themselves, “I’d like to write a cookbook. I’m not a cookbook author yet, but I am good at cooking, food messages, and the practice of translating food and ingredients into recipes that resonate with my audience. Plus, I connect well with people, and I enjoy writing about cooking. I love cookbooks and sharing recipes with others. Those I share my recipes with love the food they prepare, and this gives me great joy.” Both of their stories starts the same.

    The next day, they both wake up and think, “Maybe I can write a cookbook. I have an idea and an audience who will love the work I produce. They already love my blog, or are thriving in my nutrition practice and they are always asking me recipes. It seems, though, like writing a cookbook is a massive project and seems difficult. Where do I even start? I feel confused. What do I do first? I’ve never done this before. Who would even care? I’m not a Food Network star, and I don’t write for a major food publication. Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? My cookbook won’t be as good as all those other cookbooks I see for sale anyway, and what if there’s a mistake in the book? I will look foolish, and people who hate my book and my mistakes will laugh at me behind my back.

    The next day, Felicia decides never mind. I can’t do it. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough energy. I don’t know what to write my cookbook about. I don’t have enough money to hire anyone to help answer my questions. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. No one will care. I don’t want to figure the process. I don’t think I’ll write a cookbook.

    That same day Grant goes on to decide never mind about all that. I can do it. I will schedule time to work on the project. I will take care of myself and manage my energy so that I have all the I need to work on the project. If needed I will invest money in myself and my project and get questions answered. I will figure this out. I’m not afraid of the effort. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow. I can develop new skills such as perseverance. I realize effort is part of the journey and with the effort, I can do something new. I’m not going to let my fear of making a mistake stop me. I am committed to this project and to reaching my goal. I am willing to do what it takes and feel excited about the result.

    The End of Their Stories

    The final result for Felicia and Grant is entirely different. Felicia is still not a cookbook author. She didn’t write her cookbook. She quit before she started. She let her thoughts about confusion, looming deadlines, and overwhelm stop her in her tracks. 

    Grant, on the other hand, focused on turning large goals into smaller tasks that were easier to accomplish. He took care of himself and managed his energy. He worked with a writing coach and found resources to help him with his cookbook proposal. He worked with commitment, determination, and perseverance. Grant feels excited when he thinks about becoming a published cookbook author.

    How Are These Two Authors Different?

    With these two aspiring authors, the beginning of their story is the same. The end to their stories is different.

    Felicia gave up before she even got started. Grant, on the other hand, decided to put forth the effort, and focus on the project. He reached his goal.

    The difference between Felicia and Grant is their mindset. Felicia has a fixed mindset. Grant has a growth mindset. Felicia avoids challenges and is afraid to fail. A good analogy is she takes the escalator and not the stairs. She thinks that because she’s never written a cookbook before, and now that she is aware of the scope of the project, that she can’t do it.

    Grant on the other hand was willing to put in the effort to make his cookbook come to life. He wants to use projects to learn more and become a better version of himself. He embraces challenges and isn’t deterred by the fact he hasn’t done this before. He sees writing a cookbook as an opportunity to grow and develop skills of perseverance, commitment, and energy management.

    My Hope For You

    My hope for you is that if you want to write a cookbook that you never quit on your dream. I will admit it’s hard, a big project, and may leave you feeling confused. And yes, others may judge you and evaluate your work. But just because something is hard, confusing, or puts you in a position where others may judge you, doesn’t mean you should stop and quit on your dream before you even start.

    Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

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