Three weeks ago, I read Shauta Grimes’s article about posting every day for a year, and I finally got the inspiration to start writing on a schedule. I am fearful about the everyday commitment, so I figured if I can publish five articles in seven days, that would be a more realistic goal for myself. It would be about a 99% increase from the last year and a half.
I am so worried about working on holidays that I started writing this post over a week ago, so that I could have some writing ready to go.
I have wanted to write about my experiences in the food business for the last ten years. Specifically, I want to encourage more people to cook their food and know where their food comes from. I have worked in both the restaurant business and the small farm business, most recently working at a Community Supported Agriculture farm that sent out weekly vegetable boxes direct to consumers. My work has directly led me to see people that want to eat healthy food but don’t know enough about cooking to make this happen for them. And, most of us have no understanding of what it takes to make food grow and get to our refrigerators.
I figure that it will take me at least a year of writing articles before I am writing things that make sense and are worth reading. My thoughts are usually all over the place. I can effortlessly write, but it is time for me to spend the time editing and rewriting. I have a backlog of ideas that I have spent time writing on, but don’t have the motivation to finish. Learning what it will take for me to do the work between writing and get an article published has been an eye-opener these past weeks.
It takes me at least two hours to write and edit a story, so I will have to work for about 10 hours a week.
I got into the food business because I loved cooking for my family, and I got out of the food business because I loved cooking for my family. Plus, as the resident chef, my weekends and holidays involve work in the kitchen, that is part of who I am.
The idea of working on weekends and holidays is not what I want from a career as a writer. But I am in control of many of the hours in my day, and I can work 10 hours a week so that I can get ahead of my publishing schedule and have time that I need for the other parts of my life.
During these years of wanting to write, I have instead spent them learning about myself. This type of work has been hard for me to complete. I am a classic procrastinator and only want to do the work that has to get done right away at the last minute. By the way, this work ethic is perfect for a chef, with the pressures of creating meals to order every day. The concept of prioritizing non-urgent tasks has been difficult for me to grasp.
I have learned about how I prefer to answer emails all day instead of doing work that will put me out of my comfort zone. And I have perfected the art of reading countless articles about becoming a writer.
I am afraid every time I hit the publish button of what someone will say about my writing. Will I miss mentioning the most critical point? Or, will I forget to tell you to put salt in a recipe?
I used to be proud of the fact that I would always get the job done just in time. But I need to be proud of getting my message out to the world, in a well-written article.
I feel confident that I have finally put together the strategies that will help me to make this happen. I have read so much self-help, that now I can stop reading and save myself so much time during the week.
Maybe I won’t put out five articles a week, but I can commit to working ten hours a week. And I promise Shaunta, that I will be ready to join the club in May. I need to have six months to prove to myself that I can do it, then I can work at becoming a better writer.
Julie Moreno is a chef and writer, now trying to get more people to cook their own food and understand where it comes from. She lives in the middle of California, where she’s learning to landscape with fruits and vegetables. Find her blog at The Wooden Cutting Board on Twitter @juliehouse and Facebook @thewoodencuttingboard