Guest Author Post: Allison Snyder. Ah, the Writer’s Craft. It’s Like a Good Zabaglione.

Guest Author Post: Allison Snyder. Ah, the Writer’s Craft. It’s Like a Good Zabaglione.

Guest Author Post: Allison Snyder. Ah, the Writer’s Craft. It’s Like a Good Zabaglione.
December 10, 2014

Bonjour! I am so excited to introduce you to Allison Snyder -- Author, and one of our extraordinary Kitchen Team members at C'est si Bon! In this Guest Post she warms you with her tale of how she became a writer, tickles your funny bone and shares the recipe for a delightful sweet - something for which Allison is well known. 

Allison Snyder, Team Building Coach, C’est Si Bon Cooking School

I’ve recently completed a manuscript and proposal for a middle-grade fiction cat memoir. The working title is Laddie: A Story about Landing on Your Feet. Dorette graciously asked if I’d like to pass along some thoughts and experience about the writer’s craft. I am honored that she asked and surprised I accepted, since I have an aversion to getting up in front of people. Here are seven things I’ve learned along the way so far. Happy reading and writing!

Ah, the writer’s craft. It’s like a good zabaglione.

Both sound wildly creative and mysterious, with overtones suggestive of real consumption.

I’ll be honest. That is what all writers hope for – consumption, readership - because all of us, writers or not, are relational beings. We are hard-wired to share ourselves with others. And sharing always involves risk, putting yourself out there, whether navigating the waters of friendship, marriage, dating, parenting, writing, publishing, cooking or baking a new recipe. Living is risky business. As my dad used to say, the alternative is so much worse. I think I’ll take the risk. How about you?

Mom & Dad outside the Officer’s Club; Waco, Texas

Me? I have always been a late bloomer. I had my daughter a few days shy of my 38th birthday. Depending on whether you believe Time (ca. 2002) or The Atlantic (ca. 2013), she was something of a miracle baby. Not that every day at home with her was a 100% barrel of laughs. Any human being out there – never mind mothers – knows that life never works that way. As writers, we are taught to avoid the never statement. This is one case where we should embrace it.

Like all first-time parents – especially those nearing geezer age for first-time parenthood like my husband and I were - we had to get over the shock-and-awe hurdle. Yes, no going back. Fortunately, we all get nine months to get used to that fact, right? In most ways it is like waiting for Christmas to come, a beautiful gift to look forward to. In other ways it is like getting a diagnosis of a chronic condition - I’m sorry, ma’am, you’ve got parenthood.

 But I really did like being a mom and being in the home. Part of that had to do with loving being at home with my mom when I was small. Maybe it was also because I’d been a corporate type and came to realize that while money is a lot of things, it really is not everything. But you have to unload half your income to really test that theory.

So I gave up clothes that had to be dry-cleaned in favor of poop-stain-resistant wash ‘n’ wear from the Target sale rack and Goodwill. I gave up expense account lunches in favor of spoon feeding strained peas to a little human who was a great eater. A different form of client services to be sure.

I came to appreciate – even adore - the heretofore-despised, climate-controlled predictability of walking in the mall. Hip, sketchy neighborhoods with bumpy, historic sidewalks are less than ideal for strollers, not to mention Mama’s peace of mind.

And speaking of predictability, I enjoyed the nap times. I enjoyed the ritual of every day after lunch, taking off the chunk-laden bib (speaking of which, when we relocated to Hillsborough when my daughter had just turned 10, a petrified, dirty bib revealed itself upon moving the washer. Aww…memories), chasing my chubby-legged little one around for a while to tire her out while enjoying her squeals. This along with the full tummy would cause her to nap for a good two to three hours.

It was during this time that I began to write.

Upshot #1 -Take for your writing time whatever predictable opening that presents itself.

Let’s face it. As far as books go, one person’s life-changer is another person’s appliance manual. That’s the nature of reading. In fact, many of you may have stopped reading this blog post, and that’s OK. And I will keep on telling myself that as I face the mounds of rejection that will surely come as I enter this new phase of finding an agent or publisher.

 Yet selling a book is surely a little bit like selling a house in a challenging market. For those of us who have ever undertaken this project, we know that we only need one realtor (literary agent) and one buyer (publisher) to close the deal.

Upshot #2 - Get over thinking every agent or publisher will love your writing. Do you love everything you read? No. The good news is you’re not looking for every agent or publisher, just one of each. So take heart.

You already know this, but it bears repeating: writing comes from reading. I come from a long line of compulsive readers on a vast array of subjects. From my dad, I get my love of Civil War generals and uppity news magazines. From my mom, my proclivity to be guiltily (not my mom – me) but inexorably drawn to The National Enquirerwhile standing in the checkout line at Walmart. Oh, I should be reading about Mother Theresa or at least William Tecumseh Sherman. Too bad they’re not in the Enquirer. I am a terrible person. At least I never buy it. Oh great, that means I steal it.

Upshot #3 – Keep reading for the joy of it and let it shape what you write.

And stay tuned to this blog. Check in soon for more upshots. Code word: zabaglione.

Read Part Deux of Ah, The Writer's Craft is Like a Good Zabaglione.