Thursday, November 6, 2014

Challenge Accepted

Front cover of the Sibbald Family Famous Recipes Cookbook
More than two years ago, I decided to turn our hand-written, heavily soiled family recipe book into a proper cookbook with photos and stories and personal notes. Since then, I've encountered corrupted files, obsessive perfectionism, and loss of enthusiasm.

Recently, my friend Aliza told me about a "creativity challenge" Facebook group that's inspired by the NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month) which challenges authors to knuckle down and write an entire novel in the month of November. Although I've toyed with the idea of getting serious about fiction, this cookbook is the writing challenge that has bothered me the longest.

The original cookbook.
I considered taking up the NaNoWriMo challenge, but this Facebook option is more my speed, partly because it's less about word count and more about tackling a creative project.

I'm so hungry for this now.
So I'm on board. My goal is to have the book finished by the end of November, so I can order copies for my children (and me!) as Christmas gifts.

Here's the current work plan:
  • update Blurb software - complete
  • check that I still have the files! - complete - files are available and not corrupted!
  • if not, should I start over with Shutterfly? - N/A
  • inventory what recipes and photos I have so far
  • list what's missing per existing draft
  • any new recipes to add?
  • any photo reshoots necessary?
  • start cooking, shooting, and writing!
  • table of contents
  • index?
  • proofread, edit
  • get someone to proofread, do random tests
  • send to publisher, order copies
Since my original list of recipes is more than two years old, I'll have to go through all the recipes I've added on this blog that need to be included in the cookbook, such as Queen Elizabeth Cake. Or recipes I've bookmarked elsewhere, like my niece Diane's Sopa Mexicana, which is now a family favourite and must be included.

So far, I've concluded that there are 36 recipes for which I need to do a photo shoot. Looks like there'll be plenty of cooking going on around here!

I'll keep you posted on my progress.


  1. My mom and I were recently talking/wondering about your recipe book. I am so honored my very own recipe will be in there! When your cookbook is complete you'll have to share it! I'd love to see the finished product, and maybe even purchase my own copy (if that's an option as it has been with some of your other Shutterfly projects).

    1. Oh, and Drew would love the maroon cover of the cookbook. ;)

    2. I'm hoping there will be some way of sharing it, though I don't know Blurb that well. I may look for a way to e-publish it.

  2. what a great idea!! And I love working with Blurb - I made photo books for the grandparents last year. it was so easy. And I am currently working on a poetry book myself instead of doing the NaNo challenge (which I find ultimately stifles my creativity.)
    good luck! I hope you'll show us some of the completed product.

    1. I think I like Shutterfly better -- I've used it many, many times. But I started this one in Blurb, so here it stays! Good luck with the poetry book. Have you set any goals?


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