[Book Ends] The smell of laser ink

Book Ends is a new series where I share a bit about the cookbook writing process. For even more behind-the-scenes information, subscribe to my newsletter.

Something happens when you write a cookbook. Or, I should say, something happens when you write a cookbook and a blog. You can't do both, at least temporarily, because for weeks you're in the thick of it recipe testing, writing, thinking, tasting, and almost all your meals are for the book, so you can't share them. Any stray recipes that aren't from the book might not be recipes at all (hello, almond butter and toast).

I think most of us cookbook writers/bloggers hope this doesn't happen. I know I did. But between work and baby things and this very important project with a looming deadline, I haven't been able to sift through new poems or develop new recipe pairings or finish new literary city guides (there are three waiting in the wings!). It's all book, all the time over here. But only for about fourteen more days. 

On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, I did something monumental. After I got a massage (every new mother's dream gift), and after I made a cake for the fourth time, I printed out the first draft of my manuscript. The whole thing, all five sections, all hundred-and-something pages, all on my laser printer that I absolutely love the smell of. As my husband eloquently pointed out, it smells like progress. 

The manuscript isn't done yet, but it’s close. I’ve managed enough writing and note taking and tinkering to have a comfortable, fully formed draft to start reading through. This is the good stuff now, when I can step away, be objective, read on paper instead of my computer screen, and get a real sense of things. I'll be doing this with a red pen in hand and a slice of toast with almond butter nearby, naturally.

If you're interested, here are a few sneak peeks of some recipes I'm working on. More to come!