Posted by: nancyisanders | October 26, 2021

The Perfect Metaphor for Writing

Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board.

Say what?!

For years I believed that writing was like baking a cake.

I mean, this metaphor is everywhere. Writing is like adding all the ingredients into a bowl, mixing the right amounts together, and then popping it in the oven and hoping it comes out perfect.



Maybe it’s because I’ve had too many cakes come out of the oven burned on the bottom. Or sunk in the middle. Or tasteless and nobody wants to read, I mean, eat it. I’ve been so STRESSED as I wait for them to bake in the oven, feeling like I can’t do ANYTHING to fix them after this point.

I’d write my story, think I had gotten it mixed together to perfection. But then, I was so stressed out. What if in the end it wasn’t perfect?

Now I’ve found a better metaphor for us as writers. Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board.

The first draft is like when you arrange all those yummy bits of meat and cheese and olives and pickles and crackers and crusty artisan bread on the board.

Whew! The first draft is finished.

But now I have FREEDOM! If I want to add baby carrots, I can. If I want to add slices of cheddar cheese next to the Swiss cheese, I can. If I want to take away the crackers and replace it with artisan bread, I can. In fact, if I want to take off the slices of meat from the right side of the board and rearrange them on the left side, I can!!!! If a guest arrives with tasty olives and pickles, I can add that on the board, too. I can keep rearranging and tweaking and improving that board up until it’s time to eat.

That’s how it is with writing.

I can write my first draft. And then the fun begins of tweaking and changing and throwing out stuff and adding in better stuff. And then the editor sees it and want to put in her valuable input. And in the case of a picture book (as has happened to me) the illustrator sees it and wants to throw out one page and add in a completely different topic because it’s a topic he’s always wanted to illustrate…so we do.

With this metaphor in mind, I’m not as anxious anymore about the manuscripts I write. They are a continual work in progress and team effort until we get them ready to send to the printers and out to our beloved readers to enjoy.

Okay, at that point I have to admit, a book’s launch day and release day can be stressful, lol. But that’s a different metaphor for a different day!

For now, as you write your manuscript, relax. Have fun! Writing is like a charcuterie and cheese board!

(Image by matticasco from Pixabay)


  1. OOOOOOO! I love this metaphor. Thanks.

    • Yay!!! So glad this resonates with you!

  2. I actually prefer savory to sweet. There’s something for everyone, right? Write on, Nancy 🙂

  3. Love this metaphor! Thank you for a clever way to think about the journey of a work in progress!

    • Thanks!!! So glad you like this metaphor, too!

  4. Interesting metaphor Nancy! I like to think of my manuscript as a smorgasbord. I can pick and choose what works and what doesn’t. Others can add their flavor combinations.

    • Love the smorgasbord metaphor!!!! Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You have such great ideas, Nancy! Thanks for sharing.

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