Are you a cook writer, or chef writer?

Every writer is in a different place in their journey. It is important to remember that none of these places is the wrong place. We are where we are and we should not apologize for it. Rather, we should put the pen to paper and write miles. To me, it is very much like evolving from a cook to a chef. Every chef begins as a cook. A cook knows how to follow a recipe. The cook writer can competently chop plot, add a dash of character, let it simmer in a rich broth of adventure and combine these ingredients into a satisfying story. The chef writer, on the other hand, knows the value of an ingredient and how to manipulate it to achieve the desired effect. A chef writer knows when to add adventure, how much characterization is necessary, why some exposition is needed, how long this scene should be for the right pacing. The chef writer, in contrast to the cook writer, can begin with all the same ingredients , and combine them to make anything they want.

This evolution simply takes time. One must necessarily start as a cook to become a chef. There is no shortcut. Just as one cannot read cookbooks and become a Michelin star chef overnight, one cannot read books on writing and presume to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Unless you're one of those preternaturally gifted people, in which case, we secretly loathe you. So it's ok to be where you are. You're still making something vitally important: food for the soul.