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Day 25 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Anne Zimmerman

I made an exception for Anne Zimmerman to participate in the giveaway because her new biography, An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher, is about an author mama. I was pleased to meet Anne at the recent Terroir Creative Writing Festival when we were scheduled to give a reading together. Please help me welcome her!

Anne Zimmerman was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and received a Master’s degree from San Diego State University. She has written about food and drink for Culinate, The Kitchn, Tasting Table, Diner’s Journal, and Zester Daily and taught the art of biography writing in Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio. An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher is her first book.

In An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher, Anne Zimmerman seeks to illuminate the most colorful years of famed food writer and gastronome M.F.K. Fisher’s life. Relying on unpublished letters and journals, Zimmerman explores Fisher’s time in Europe with her first husband, her re-marriage, her second husband’s suicide, and the pleasures of cooking and table that made Fishers’ life transcendent. An Extravagant Hunger reveals the personal story behind some of M.F.K. Fisher’s most beloved gastronomical writings: Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, and The Gastronomical Me.

1. How has writing (either just the act of writing or writing this book or both) impacted your self-confidence?

I left a career in PR and marketing to write my biography of the food writer An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher, and the transition was occasionally daunting. Working from home as a writer can knock your self-esteem around a bit: I’m constantly comparing myself to other writers/ creatives and wishing I was more creative, productive, etc. Thus, what writing has really inspired is determination — the idea that I’m committed to my creative projects, no matter what.

2. What are three words that describe your creative book-writing process?

For me, much of writing happens in my head before I ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I’m inspired by daily tasks: cooking, walks in my neighborhood, pretty vignettes of blooming flowers, stacks of books, the perfect cup of coffee. Seeing all this inspires my thinking and writing process which I would describe as: manic (it can be thoughtful and frenzied all at the same time), confused (I always write multiple drafts), and exhausting (sounds like fun, huh?).

3. What good has your book created in the world?

I hope my book, An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher has taught readers more about a remarkable writer and woman who’s work helped create the genre of food writing. I also hope my book inspires creativity, travel, and encourages readers to really live each exquisite moment of life.

• • •

Anne has brought up one of my favorite topics about writing, the great determination you need to have to succeed in this crazy publishing business. Anne says, “Thus, what writing has really inspired is determination — the idea that I’m committed to my creative projects, no matter what.”

How about you? Are you committed to your creative projects no matter what? Can you tap your great determination and use it to tackle the writing projects that matter most to you? Tell us what great determination means to you.

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! Thanks for spreading the word!

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  • Suzanne Kamata May 25, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Since I am not writing under a contract, the only person putting pressure on me to write is me. No one other than me would suffer if I did not complete a short story or novel or essay. I am determined to finish what I start, even if I have doubts along the way (which I’ve come to understand are par for the course), even if it means saying “no” to lunch with my friends and letting the dust bunnies accumulate.  

  • Jan Udlock May 25, 2011, 1:52 pm

    I think what helps me the most is knowing that writing is hard work. Just plain hard work. When I first started writing, I thought there were natural born writers and it was simple for them. Now I know better. When I freak out which are fear or lies going off in my head, I turn to a notebook of mine where I’ve taken notes on an article. I remind myself that those notes were just words on a page that I kept sculpting and now they are an article printed in a magazine. If I did it before, I can do it again.

  • Jane Wells May 25, 2011, 1:54 pm

    For me determination means forging on inspite of my husband’s lack of understanding – drawing on my extended family’s support and the admiration my children express for their mother the author. My 2nd-grader’s Mother’s Day poem which describes me in part as “awesome writer” hangs prominantly on the fridge!
    My first non-fiction book will be released this summer, and two novels books are now in the works. 

  • Preitz May 25, 2011, 3:00 pm

    “Great Determination” is a quality I would
    like to have in my life in a big way. Because of my position in life—wife and
    mother—I tend to focus on those roles first, and everything else comes after
    that. So my writing career, fledgling as it is, comes near the bottom of the
    list. This makes me sad, but with frequent life changes in the past two years,
    it’s difficult to move writing to the forefront. That said, if I had more
    determination, perhaps I’d be further along than I am. I do not mean to whine,
    but to quote my military friends, “it is what it is.”

  • Diane J. May 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I’m committed to the creative. Although revisions are torture…but they work. Weird how the part I am the least fond of results in a publishable piece. I love the high I get when I’m revising and the piece clicks into place. Yet, every single time I go to revise I grumble.
    I’m committed, even when I’m grumbling.

  • Kristeen Elizabeth May 25, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Personal success is a part of every person’s great determination, as well as loved ones. Like Anne, I was once a part of the PR and Marketing world. As much as I enjoyed my work, it never gave me the fulfillment that writing does. I treated my writing as a part-time  job while I held my office job, due to a lack of confidence and lack of support from family and friends. A full-time writing career takes so much dedication, that it is often perceived as almost impossible by many. When I had my son, I decided to take on writing full-time. Not only do I make more money in less time than before, but I get to schedule my time around my toddler’s while doing work I actually love.  My little one is what ultimately drives my determination.

  • Lara Krupicka May 25, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Great determination means sitting down at my desk to write, ignoring the buzzing voices in my head that say I’m no good at this. It means sometimes sitting back and asking just why I’m doing this so I can find my way back to what matters most to me. After a self-flagellating binge this week, I asked my husband if he thought I should keep doing this writing thing. His response? “Do you enjoy it?” The answer is, when I’ve swatted away all the nay-saying voices and sat down and done the work, yes. Yes, I enjoy writing. In fact, I love it. That love of writing keeps me getting back in my chair day after day.

  • Jen Henderson May 25, 2011, 7:49 pm

    I’d like to say I’ve got that kind of determination, but I don’t think I’ve developed it yet. And I do think (hope) it’s a characteristic one can develop. I am determined with many things–to go plastic-free, to live sustainably, to love my cats no matter what they track around the house on their paws. With writing, I think my ego is more attached to validation, which feels like a huge weakness; but an awareness of the power I give others over my sense of determination should help me re-commit when I’m ready to give up. ‘Cause it does piss me off when people try to take my power. So perhaps anger or rather, righteous indignation, to borrow a phrase, is a good motivator to stay the course.

  • Cara Holman May 25, 2011, 10:24 pm

    I am committed to my writing projects, and part of that
    commitment is learning to balance my writing projects with the other
    obligations in my life. I have undertaken to write every day since the
    beginning of this year, and to do so, I have had to make some concessions. I
    have had to juggle volunteer commitments, my job, my family responsibilities,
    my fitness goals, and my writing desires. That has meant prioritizing what is
    most important to me, what I can cut back on, and what is absolutely
    non-negotiable. I have learned to narrow my focus, pick those calls for
    submissions I feel are the best use of my time and talents, and then stick to
    my deadlines, whether self-imposed or given to me by the publication.

  • Beth Vogt May 26, 2011, 12:02 am

    I’m committed to the parts of writing I have control over: writing, research, rewriting, learning my craft, rewriting, networking (now very much a part of a writer’s life), rewriting … and then I’m learning to let go of the results. I can’t determine the outcome: whether I land that contract. I can’t determine how many people will comment on a blog post or a tweet or whether people will like what I write.
    But I can determine to do my best.

  • Laura Ackerman May 26, 2011, 1:12 am

    Determination?  YES!  I have often thought about writing the books and articles swimming around in my head, but other things, life for instance, always seemed to get in the way.  It seemed that demands of being an employee, wife, mother, volunteer, homemaker, teacher, etc were always coming first leaving little or no room to write.  This year I was determined to begin my writing career – no excuses!  I’ve journaled, entered a blogathon and blogger daily, written and submitted queries, had two articles accepted, participate in an awesome Book giveaway and won some amazing books.  Determination has paid off and inspired to me to continue!

  • Rebecca Cherba May 26, 2011, 6:46 am

    Throughout my life, I’ve often struggled with having enough determination in any of my pursuits to overcome my traditional issues with discipline. Motherhood was the first major kick in the rear I needed to get over the worst of that hump, because my son’s needs are not something I can rationalize away or postpone. From parenting, I’ve learned that, to be successful with my writing, I need to exhibit that same level of discipline, especially in creating a solid window for writing each weekday and sticking to it. For most of my life, determination was not enough to keep me writing consistently. Now that it’s been combined with increasing discipline, I’m getting closer than ever to becoming a productive writer.

  • Mar Junge May 26, 2011, 6:53 am

    Great determination is embodied in the true story of the 20-something writer who cared so much about his novel that when his father gave him the family home – all the writer had to do was make the payments – the writer turned it down. He had decided to quit his job and go to Mexico where the cost of living was low so he could write full time. He believed that much in his work. His first novel is critically acclaimed.
    Personally, I don’t have that level of determination for my creative writing. What I do have is patience. And a career that enables me to practice my craft.  If I have to wait for retirement to finish my novel, so be it. Living life will make me a more experienced writer.