Writing your novel is like baking your own bread

This is how I used to look at bread-making. And novel writing:

Hey! I love bread. It's good for me and it's important to me. Eating bread is something I do all the time. It sure would be nice to bake my own. But I'm intimidated. I never took a class on baking bread. There are fancy people pictured in magazines who bake bread. They use words I don't understand like "sourdough starter" and "high-protein flour." 

Maybe I should just buy their bread. That's worked for me until now.

But--wait! What am I so afraid of? Those bakers of bread aren't smarter than I am. Okay, they can't ALL be smarter than I am. Right? (Right?) And if I bake a few loaves and they are terrible, nobody has to know... 

Well, reader. I bake excellent bread these days. And the first loaves weren't so great. In fact, I got pretty good at baking bread and then I stopped. The problem was that I couldn't figure out how to get my timing right to end up with a fresh loaf during a time of the day when people were ready to eat it. Guess what? I sort of forgot how good it was, and the process began to seem intimidating all over again. 

But this winter I decided to go back and bake some more. I somehow realized that mixing my loaf together between 6:00 and 7:00 AM was a sane thing to do. Usually I was hanging out in the kitchen during that hour anyway, saying things like: "The school bus will be here in 17 minutes." And, "Have you brushed your teeth?"

So now I do my nagging while I'm measuring ingredients into the stand mixer. By the time the bus picks the kids up at the end of the driveway, the first rise is underway. 

It took me a while but I figured out how to work bread-baking into my routine. And writing is just the same, people. If you care enough to write your book, you might wrestle with the process for a while. But intimidation is a useless emotion. Just give it another whirl in the mixer of life, and maybe this time you'll conquer the process.