I love cooking, especially for friends. Seeing people happily eating fills me with joy. And there's nothing more flattering - or frightening - than someone requesting the recipe. I don't make my own recipes. They all come from cookbooks, friends, or internet sources... and I'm really not good at following them.
Take my chocolate holiday mint cookies for example. The recipe from Netsle looks like this:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
But somehow the the 2/3 cups of sugar becomes a whole cup, the eggs become milk because we're out of eggs. The Toll House morsels becomes Ghirardelli dark chocolate and the local mint brand. The flour is probably more than two cups.
By the end I have a fabulous cookie, but following the recipe won't get you there.
Right end result. Wrong path.
Sounds a bit like publishing, doesn't it?
Everyone tells you they have the One True Path Of Publishing Success. There are people who swear by the Snowflake Method, or outlining to the n'th detail, or pantsing it all the way. Everyone has their own recipe for success.
And you know what? All of them result in some really awesome books.
Don't get discouraged because you can't master someone else's recipe for the perfect book. Take what works for you, add what you like, and write what you love.
Oh, P.S. my favorite recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies comes from Two Peas And Their Pod, although I've never followed it exactly either.
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