I read somewhere recently that no one who says he wants to write really wants "to write." Instead he wants "to have written." I'm not sure I entirely agree with that--I do actually like to write. By the same token, I can see how it does get frustrating to write. Sometimes, things just don't flow.
Lately, as I've mentioned, I've been preparing to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. So far I have a plot and a bunch of characters whom I am trying to get to know better. It's a little odd to me, never really having gotten this deep into noveling, that the characters are creatures of my imagination, yet they're starting to have ideas of their own.
In order to get a better feel for writing the main characters, I decided to interview them. I wrote out some questions and I'm having my characters answer in their own voices. It's a really interesting experience. I started with the main male character, since I figured he'd be the hardest for me to get a handle on (never having been male myself). I definitely have seen a difference in the way I would explain his answers than the way he needs to do so. I keep running things past Adam to make sure my character has a strong enough masculine identity. I've started writing a few of his answers and had to stop, go back, and begin again because I was using my own voice and making him sound too prissy.
As for the dinner aspect (from the post title), I made a discovery the other day. Writing a novel is like making Thanksgiving dinner. To make a real, traditional meal from scratch, you need to start at least a couple days before the holiday, spend hours chopping and stirring and baking, getting everything just right. Then the meal is served and your houseful of guests eats everything up in 45 minutes. To make a good book, so you need to choose just the right ingredients, spend days (or weeks or months) letting everything simmer together, then when it's finally done, your readers gobble it up in a few hours.