Today I’m making bread… and analogies.
All books begin with the same basic ingredients: words. By themselves, words are only minimally interesting. Have you ever eaten plain, raw flour? Ew. Even plain sugar isn’t all that exciting. And although sometimes we might throw in a word that’s unexpected and intriguing–the fennel seeds in today’s recipe–most of what we include are those mundane, workday words. Just like every loaf of bread I make includes flour, fat, liquid, salt, and a leavening agent. All very simple. yet we can combine them in so many ways!
So we combine those words and get something new and different. A big ball of dough. And that dough looks interesting. If you poke it, it feels nice and bouncy. It probably even smells really good. It may be a little tempting to take a nibble. After all, those words are nicely mixed together, right? But don’t give into the temptation, because it’s not nearly ready. It won’t taste good. This is a book’s early drafts. An early draft is definitely the start of something good–but only the start. We need to give the dough time–and a nice hot oven. Our book needs edits.
But if we are patient, if we are willing to to subject our creation to the heat, look what we get! Something amazing–a transformed object that is far beyond the sum of its parts. A delicious loaf of bread. Or, of course, a new book. Mmm!
And to take the analogy further, we can have comfortable, familiar white bread books. Rich, slightly decadent ones made with milk and eggs. Exotic ones. Spicy ones. We can throw in some surprises, like fruit or chocolate chips. We can gobble the whole thing right away, while it’s still warm from the oven. Or we can stretch it out over a couple of days, enjoying it piece by piece.
I’m going to go eat some bread now.