On Sunday night, I made lasagna. I called it "faux lasagna" because I cheated: I used lightly grilled corn tortillas as a substitute for noodles. See, my wife and two of our kids deal with celiac (an original driver of the current "gluten-free" movement), so unless we get (or make) gluten-free noodles, we're out of luck for pasta dishes.
Corn tortillas, thankfully, are gluten-free, and I figured, "Well, why not give it a try?"
I've never made lasagna alone, before. This was a new adventure for me. I did a bit of internet research for general ideas, but for the most part I just relied on my own "culinary engineering" skills, developed from years of feeding myself during bachelorhood.
The result? Everyone asked for seconds. It was awesome.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, not much on the surface, but if you dig a bit deeper, my making lasagna is very much like being a first time author: I've never really done this before. And yet, I had the skills from the past to actually make a go of it. Have I published? Sure. Self published, but it was a "print on demand" set up that charged ridiculous rates, and I went into it with no intent to ever make money off it--it was just a nice souvenir to put on my bookshelf and give to a few friends and family members.
This time, though, is for real. No more microwave burrito writing, this is a full-on family meal. And you know what? I do believe that after launching this book, readers will come back for more, the same way my wife and kids did with my lasagna.
I've learned a ton from this process, and grown in some really cool ways. Just like the lasagna, I've found that alternatives exist for doing something the "right" way. I tend to be "results oriented," and while I don't believe the ends always justify all means, I do believe that often, the final product matters more than how you reach it (unless you're Miley Cyrus, then it really is all about the climb; I like that song).
I would rather have used lasagna noodles for this, but it turned out great anyway, and now I have another option for the future. Likewise, it's awesome when a huge publishing house picks you out of the slush pile and sells it to the masses, making you an overnight success. That may yet come. But these days, there are so many alternatives for publishing, and regardless of who I publish with, The Cinderella Project is great fun to read. It can sell itself (though I intend to help it along).
Maybe I'll try gluten-free calzones next time... hmm...