Cooking Up a Story

I love my Sunbeam Slow Cooker and as I was preparing a meal with it recently, it occurred to me the process was much like that of writing.

1. Gather ingredients.  I am a more systematic cook than I am a writer.  I like to collect the ingredients, lay them out on the bench before beginning to cook, but with pen and paper, I dive right in without such preparation often pausing to research or edit as I go.  I am learning that a little preparation before hand can make the writing process smoother.

2.  Leave it alone.  This is the key to good slow cooking.  Once the first draft is completed, let it sit for a few days.  Let the fragrance of your story linger with you like the smell of a good stroganoff gathers in the kitchen.

3. Add cream.  Towards the end of slow cooking my favourite recipe requires a tablespoon or so of cream stirred through.  Now return to your writing. Editing and rewriting will change the colour and add flavour to your manuscript.

4.  Keep warm.  Once the slow cooked meal is ready, I keep it warm until it is time for the family to gather.  As for my manuscript, I keep it warm by sharing it for feedback and criticism.  I read it in hard copy, sometimes tweaking it here too.

5.  Serve.  I serve my manuscript by submitting it to a competition or posting it on a blog and as in completing a good meal, I am satisfied.

What about you? What is your writing process?