Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Easy-Bake Writing

What does an innocent comment and an easy-bake oven have in common? Not much. But hear me out.

I forget specifically what we were dishing about yesterday over lunch but a friend of mine said to me, "Oh, you don't have to worry.  Writing comes easy to you." 

My fork stopped in mid-air, a cherry tomato dangling from the tines.  Her statement, although said with innocence, stuck in my craw like a peach pit.  It niggled at the nerve endings in my brain.  And like I do whenever something bothers me, I let it fester until I can find the right words.

Here goes...

While writing has become easier with time, it has by no means become easy.  Ever.  Although I may be able to spot the difference between an adjective and an adverb with the best of them, I still agonize over the first sentence in every novel, point of view, verb tense, metaphors, world-building, narrative, too many adverbs, dialogue tags--you name it!  In short, I can easily stress over every sentence in any one of my novels for hours. Days. Months.  Even years.

Writing a novel isn't like cooking in an easy-bake oven which, by the way, was a toy that I wanted desperately as a kid.  I envisioned cooking luscious brownies and cookies in the privacy of my bedroom but my mother envisioned me burning down the house.  It was not to be. 

And I think that's one of the cool things about writing novels.  Every one is different and it's never easy.  It's always a challenge to produce the best work possible, and I think that's the way it should be. Every time.

What about you? Do you think writing is easy? Bonus question: Did you have your own easy-bake oven?
If yes, were the brownies as good as they looked on the groovy box??


Colette Martin said...

Oh, I loved my easy bake oven!

Writing, easy? No, it's not. I have the occasional moment where words just seem to flow, but that is rare.

Unknown said...

Oh, writing CAN be easy, but that's probably not the norm. The brutal part, of course, comes in the REwriting, the editing, the tweaking, etc.

I personally did not have an easy-bake oven, but my boy has eyeballed a DQ Blizzard-making machine and there may be some chance he'll get one for Christmas.

My sister-in-law apparently had such an oven when she was younger though and made all kinds of things with it.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Colette,

Great to see you! I wish you had been my best friend way back when! I wanted that dang oven so bad.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Tory!

That is an excellent point--rewrites! And more rewrites! That's when it can get super ugly.

Donna Cummings said...

People always seem to think something is "easy" if you do it well, or succesfully. So it's a compliment, in a way. :) They don't realize how much effort goes into making something look easy!

A few years ago when my sister was visiting I tried to make these biscuits that came out ROCK hard, and we had a great laugh about my lack of cooking skills. A couple months later she sent me an Easy Bake oven as a joke Christmas present. I had no idea you could cook with a lightbulb! Maybe that's why those biscuits didn't work! LOL

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Donna,

I think my girlfriend meant it as a compliment but it didn't quite come out that way!

A lightbulb?! A dang lightbulb? My mom, I suppose, envisioned it coming with gas burners or something.

The Heartless Gamer Girl said...

I think comments like that sometimes stem from a little envy or jealousy too. I'm completely jealous of people who make housework look easy. :oP

No, writing isn't easy. It's an agonizing process. Agonizing.

I never had an Easy Bake Oven. Honestly, I can't remember ever wanting one either.

Joanna St. James said...

Of course writing is not easy talented authors only make it look effortless, so I believe your friend meant that in all sincerity.
I never wanted an easy bake oven I was a tomboy who liked to play with fire i really dont know how I morphed into Posh Spice the 2nd

Talli Roland said...

I never had an Easy Bake Oven! Sigh! Maybe that's why I can't cook...

Oh, if only writing DID come easy. I've been angsting over every word lately!

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Jaimey,

Great to see you! If you knew my girlfriend, it wasn't jealousy. But it did come out a little weirdly. A back-handed compliment, maybe? Not sure. And....You.Never.Wanted.An. Easy.Bake.Oven?! You have not lived, woman! :-)

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Joanna,

I could so totally see you as a Posh Spice! You're just like her, only prettier. Truthfully. :-)

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Talli,

That's what I tell my mom, too. If only she had gotten me the dang easy-bake oven, my cooking skills would span beyond crock-pot cooking!

Sherri said...

Writing...easy? :snort:

Easy bake oven...remember having fun with it but I don't remember the food being all that good. Of course, I'm a bit of a food snob. My mom made everything from scratch so brownies from a mix...blah! LOL

For REAL brownies :grin:

Sherri said...

oops...try this link:

Marianne Arkins said...

Yeah ... I get that, too. HATE it. Work is work -- just because I might have the mechanics down better doesn't mean it's easy. Sheesh...

And, oh the Easy Bake Oven days. I remember them, and cooking with a light bulb, fondly.

Liz Fichera said...

oooooh, brownies! Thanks mucho, Sherri!!

Liz Fichera said...

Hey, Marianne,

Amazing that it only had a lightbulb. Jeez, my mom had me so brainwashed...I think she thought I'd be lighting matching to get the oven working. Oh, well.

Maria Zannini said...

I think I would have forked your friend for saying such a thing. LOL.

It is never easy.

Ref: Easy Bake Oven
This made me laugh. For over a year, I begged my mother for a chemistry set.

What does she get me?
An Easy Bake Oven.

Obviously didn't help since I am still a terrible baker.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Holy crow! No, indeed. It has gotten harder. When I didn't know anything, I coasted on ideas. Now, knowing more, I deliberate.
Perc. Stew. Simmer.

I'm a coffee and soup person. Could never bake worth a damn. The Easy Bake Oven was as big a disaster as the burnt Plasti-Goop Creepy Crawlers.

(Still into heating things up, tho. Yeah.)

Liz Fichera said...

Maria & Taryn,

I can honestly say the lack of an easy-bake oven made me who I am today! In so many ways. Jeez, that's scary. ;-)

Lou Archer said...

I'm finding writing torture...... sweetest feeling ever. Maybe I'm nuts.

Even rejections are good, they make me better.

You can put that tomato in your mouth now.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Lou,

Great to meet you! You're far from nuts, especially here! And thanks so much for the chuckle. Love it!

Liz Bass said...

I never got an easy-bake oven, either. My mom always told me I didn't need one, since the house had a perfectly good normal-sized oven. (Completely missing the point of having something small, potentially dangerous, and of limited use!)

Liz Fichera said...


And to think that the lightbulb in the easy-bake oven barely had enough power to charge a night-light! It's a wonder it cooked anything! I still may have to buy one off e-Bay sometime. Just because.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of conversation I once heard about that Margaret Atwood had with someone she met randomly. He was a brain surgeon and he said to her, "You know, when I am ready to retire, I'm going to be a writer, just like you!". When he then asked Ms. Atwood what she was going to do when she was ready to retire, forever the quick wit, she replied, "I think I'll become a brain surgeon." - G

notesfromnadir said...

I wish writing got easier but it doesn't, not really. Nor does my typing speed increase!

Was Easy Bake Oven deprived. Mom told me if I wanted to bake I could use the real oven but I would be supervised.

Liz Fichera said...


That. Is. Perfect!

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Nadir,

Needless to say, I can so relate! :-)