For me, writing fiction is much like making a dish to take to a potluck dinner. I create the best possible product, using all the skills I’ve acquired to date, with the intent of bringing pleasure and satisfaction—from start to finish—to whoever wants what I’ve produced. My potluck dish is usually a cake because cakes are what I make best. Chocolate cakes with homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting are what I get asked for most, so I often make those.
I bake mine in a simple, disposable foil pan. I know that there will be other cakes at the potluck, maybe a fancy one with fresh fruit across the top or a delicate five layer torte served on a glass plate. That doesn’t matter to me. At the potluck, I set my cake on the table alongside the others and leave it unattended. Not everyone will reach for mine; some will take a piece of the one covered in fruit or a slice of the torte. Their preferences are okay with me; different people like different things. When it comes to mine, I don’t care who eats it; I only care that they enjoy it, that it satisfies, that it is what they wanted it to be.