Over the past several years I’ve enjoyed coaching clients who want to write their first cookbook. They come to me in all stages of cookbook desire, but what they all have in common is that they’ve never written a cookbook before and they have a ton of questions about where to start and how to get published. In my programs and private coaching we work through the questions and the obstacles they face. Most of them make good progress on their projects and hone in on their cookbook concept and content. I’m so proud that an attendee of a recent program signed her first cookbook contract. Through the program they learned the essential ingredients of writing a cookbook and when the request for a proposal came she kicked into action and wrote her proposal. Now that the proposal has been accepted, she’s working on a deadline to complete her manuscript.
The secret to her success has been all about taking action. She took a class, wrote a proposal, and is now writing a manuscript. She didn’t sit back and talk about her project and hope it would happen. In honor of my client’s cookbook contract, I’d like to share my 3 sure-fire ways to NOT write your cookbook:
1. Wait for inspiration
One way to not write your cookbook is to wait for inspiration before you write. This means, if you don’t feel inspired, just go ahead and take a break from writing. Instead, wait for the rush of ideas to come and the words to flow – wait for the magical writing fairy dust!
The problem with this is that those times seldom produce a large quantity of work and they don’t come frequently. Dedicated writers know that they can’t wait for inspiration before they write. They commit to writing whether they “feel” like it or not. Then, once they show up at the computer or notebook, inspiration pokes its head in the door and the writing gets done. In the end, it’s impossible to tell the difference between work that comes easy to an author and those paragraphs which an aspiring author rewrote numerous times. For that reason every aspiring author must make a habit out of showing up to write on a consistent basis, whether they feel inspired or not. Without a habit of writing, or creating content for your book, your project won’t move along.
2. Wait for permission
Another way to not write your cookbook is to wait for permission before you take action on your idea. In fact, be sure to try to get approval from everyone that you think matters – your friends, your spouse, your sisters – before you move forward. If for some reason they don’t like your idea then put your cookbook dream on hold. Ignore the excitement you feel about your idea because it’s not good enough. Others said it’s not good and because they know better, go ahead and stop.
The problem here is that there are really no new ideas in food, cooking, or baking. But, what IS new is your perspective on the topic, your ability to write about it, and your ability to attract readers to your work. Stop waiting for permission to proceed with your idea. If you’re excited, and have the energy to move forward, that’s all you really need.
3. Don’t focus on your project
Because you’re not getting paid during the writing phase, and money coming in seems to be a long way off, be sure to make your cookbook project low priority. And, because there’s not a direct relationship between how hard you work now and any immediate monetary payoff, don’t schedule any time to work on the project. Instead, in your extra time be sure to shop online, get lost in social media, or play games on your iPhone. You’re not getting paid for the work you’d do on your cookbook project anyway, so be sure to let everything else in your life take priority. And, don’t forget not to schedule anytime to work on your cookbook project early in the morning or for a few hours in the evening. If this cookbook dream is going to become a reality, you shouldn’t have to schedule time to work on it.
Again, the problem with this method of not writing is that nothing gets done if you don’t schedule time to work on your project. Most of my clients have full-time jobs. In the end the ones that move forward with their cookbooks are the clients who schedule time on a regular basis to focus on their project. They’re good at managing their distractions and they work consistently and regularly on writing content, building their platforms, developing their recipes, and writing their proposals.
There’s no one more interested in seeing aspiring cookbook authors succeed more than me. With regular, consistent writing, focus, and giving yourself permission to get started, you might just be like my group-coaching client – on your way to writing, and having published, your very own cookbook.
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?”.