While eating cheese all last week and counting down to Mockingjay, I realized my two passions are the slowest things ever. Obviously, publishing is slow. You have to put in the time in crafting the story, sharing it with others, tweaking, more crafting, and then waiting and waiting and waiting to see the book on shelves. And, as I savored a piece of 8-year old Wisconsin cheddar, I tried to imagine having a wheel of cheese sitting in the aging room for eight years, being turned and checked several times a week. That’s a long time to wait for a tasty result!

And the final results can certainly be tasty. Some are big and bold (a bestselling thriller or really stinky, strong cheese), some are sweet and subtle (a beach read or fresh, milky cheese), and some are so deep and complex you just have to take your time and savor them (The Book Thief or Tarentaise).

To create these “flavors,” both writers and cheesemakers need an understanding of the process and how things come together. With words, it’s balancing description with dialogue, action with narration. With cheese, it’s managing the temperature and cook time, the ingredients and aging. You have that end product in mind, you know the emotions you want to evoke in your readers, the taste you want to leave lingering in the mouth.

And all these skills require practice and patience, both with words and with cheeses. Luckily, it’s also recommended that you experience what else is out in the marketplace, so my to-read shelf will keep growing and my cheese-drawer will stay full, because nothing rewards patience like a great book or delicious piece of cheese.

How are you guys at patience? Have you read or eaten anything inspiring lately?