The Lasagna Writer’s Journey, by Kristen C. Strocchia

     Ever made a lasagna? Satisfyingly warm layers of noodles, sauce and assorted cheeses. But no matter how deep the dish, every layer is the same as the one before.

     As I’ve reflected on my writing journey to date, I see that it is much like the lasagna. The same essential advice on writing, revision and market that I heard at my first writer’s workshop keeps repeating in some form at each new event that I attend. Write often—everyday if possible. Just sit and keep writing, don’t try to revise each sentence as it comes out. Find great critique partners and mentor texts. Know your genre. Read more to write better. And endless tips on agents, querying, synopsis writing, pitching, et al.

     But the repetition doesn’t in any way diminish attending another conference or reading another book on craft. On the contrary, it enhances the experience. Because each time I hear the essentials reiterated in a new way or from a different perspective, I come to understand craft at a deeper level, which in turn adds depth to my writing. But also because I am in a different place. I can more fully see the intricate facets of craft advice. A more detailed understanding missed, at first, because of focusing on mastering the basics.

     Think of it like a favorite vacation spot. The first time you visit, something about it grabs your heart. When the memory draws you back for another visit, you see the same sights you loved, but learn more about them as well. You can also step back and see other things around them. Things that were always there, but which escaped attention when your carefully planned first visit itinerary held your focus.

     Eventually, if you keep visiting, you truly get to know this vacation destination. You can avoid long lines and traffic-filled routes, know who serves the best of each local specialty and how to dress to be most comfortable. You know where to park and how much to budget.

     You get the picture. The more you sit under accomplished writers and publishing professionals, the better you will navigate the writing journey.

     And perhaps I will have the opportunity to enjoy a piece of lasagna with you along the way.


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9 Responses to The Lasagna Writer’s Journey, by Kristen C. Strocchia

  1. fspoesy says:

    Mmmmmm! Lasagna!

    Either this is something most writers think about a lot or you have read my mind. I have recently been asking myself “How much advice seeking/writing research/conference attending is too much?” And I love your answer, that just like lasagna, you can never have too much!

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      From the other replies in this thread, it seems like this is a place that many of us writers have come and are coming to. Glad to have been an encouragement along the way. Best of luck! =)

  2. rosecappelli says:

    Thanks for this great post. Your analogy to lasagna is perfect! The more I learn the more I realize how much there is to learn. And the layers of learning make it all worthwhile.

  3. Karen Lawler says:

    Thank You for that comparison but I have to admit sometimes the lectures and talks are really just repeating themselves and it does get a little mundane. I never vacation in the same place and enjoy always experiencing NEW places and cultures so maybe I am really missing the boat here.
    I’ll keep attending and listening and hopefully one day I’ll have a story published. 🙂

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      Yes! I love to vacation in new spots too [but I know many in my family who always go back to the same place for the reasons stated here.] I try to keep a current WIP with me in the repeat talks and workshop them while I listen. This often helps me come out of the “same old” with something new. Good luck with everything! =)

  4. It’s true! There’s no way to take it all in the first time around. But with each workshop, I do believe I’m getting one step closer. PLUS, I always meet someone knew and the friendships alone are easily worth the registration fee. Thank you, Kristen!

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      Writer friendships are like lasagna too–they deepen with each meeting and they become the sounding boards for enriching craft. Not to mention face time with agents and editors. The industry alone seems like a bottomless dish to dig through! =)

  5. Chrissa Pedersen says:

    Truly a perfect analogy Kristen 🙂 I always think lasagna is even better on day 2 when the flavors have time to mingle and deepen just like friendships and good advice.

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