by Marianne Evans
My family has this thing about homemade, fresh-baked onion bread. It’s a staple that’s been passed from my grandma, to my mom, and now, to me. I love being the one to carry on the tradition of baking bread because, as I’ve often joked with my kids, it’s a sure-fire way to get them to pay a visit, and I turn into a genuine rock star once I hand them a loaf to take home. Besides, is there a more beautiful aroma than that of baking bread? For me, when wisps of onion-zested steam carry through the kitchen, I know I’m home–not just in a logistical sense, but in an emotional sense that stems straight from the heart.
But just like the process of creating one of those heart-tugging, engaging books that grace store shelves and e-readers everywhere, my bread doesn’t just conveniently materialize into those four delicious loaves. Making bread from scratch requires time, patience, and yes, even some physical effort.
Making bread, like the process of crafting a book, is a commitment.
The way I see it, creating the proposal for my book is like mixing the opening ingredients: the yeast, sugar and warm water. My goal is to activate, and coax that combination into a healthy rise…think plotline and character development. Next, I turn that story into words. That’s the elbow grease. That’s the mixing of flour, the kneading, the pushes and palm presses that stretch and form the dough into something that, given just a bit more patience and refinement, will become something cohesive…and delicious.
But we’re not done yet. There’s the rising–and the baking. In my writing world, that’s like the process of editing, proof reading, all the final details that lead to the production of a finished and worthy product. I’ve learned writing, like bread baking, is all about layers and the way each step in the road, each component of creation, is vital to the overall result.
Because after that comes the reward. Upon removal from the oven, when I see those golden brown loaves laid out on a cooling rack, my heart always quickens. Warmth and tantalizing scents fill the air; there’s a visible promise of nourishment.
Within the pages of my stories, I hope readers find moments to savor, moments that leave them feeling full and in some small way satisfied. I savor the continuity of the creative process just as much as I love that process and flavors of fresh-baked bread. Both are hard-earned but fantastic treats.
And the time spent? It’s so worth it – on a number of levels.
Marianne Evans hopes to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Her books have earned wins in the Booksellers Best Award, Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Selah. Marianne lives in Michigan and is an active member of ACFW and Romance Writers of America. Connect with her at www.marianneevans.com.