At CookIt, we get to work with some of the most amazing influencers. Michelle Lopez of Hummingbird High is one of them. She’s a real pro at what she does, something we got to witness recently when we saw how she managed to write her first cookbook, Weeknight Baking, while keeping her day job as an influencer humming along (no pun intended!). Although she pulled some all-nighters (with her adorable cat) to meet her cookbook deadlines, not once did she turn down an aligned partnership, miss deadlines, miss emails, miss anything. Michelle’s professionalism and motivation in her career is truly aspirational. And her cookbook, filled with recipes for quick and easy weeknight treats, is a must have.
So how does Michelle do it all? We recently asked her about that, about how she came up with the concept behind Weeknight Baking, the writing process, and what it was like to balance creating a cookbook with all of the other time-consuming aspects of her career and life. Here’s what she had to say:
Our Q&A With #CookItCrew Member & New Cookbook Author Michelle Lopez
CookIt: Did the idea for the book come to you when you were baking? While driving? While crushing a HIIT class? Had you been thinking about it for a while?
Michelle: Sort of, but not really. Throughout the years, I’d been approached by various agents and publishers about writing a book about Hummingbird High. I always turned them down because a Hummingbird High cookbook, while lovely, seemed like it would just be an extension of my blog and nothing new. I felt bad turning down the opportunities, but was adamant that I wanted my book to have a specific story beyond what I was already doing.
It was only when I was talking to a friend who’d asked if I had a cookbook in the works that the idea of Weeknight Baking actually came to me. I was telling her about all the things I did to my recipes to make baking fit in my schedule, and I sort of had an “ah-ha!” moment. I was like, “Wait a second—this would be a really good book!”
C: Once you had the idea, what came next? We’d love to know more about the process!
M: All in all, it took about two and a half years from when I had the idea for the book to when it was finally published. This is typical: Most authors spend 3 to 6 months working on a proposal for publishers. After a publisher accepts the proposal, the author is given a year to come up with the initial manuscript, then another year to edit and design the book.
C. We’ve been so impressed with the way you’ve managed writing a cookbook with all you do. How do you find the time for it all, while maintaining a balanced life? Any tips or tricks you learned along the way?
M: Hahah, I’m not sure if I’m the right person to answer this! My boyfriend claims I work ALL the time, but to me, it doesn’t feel like work since I really love what I do.
If I had any advice, it would be to prioritize: Pick 3 to 4 things you consider the most important things in your life, and spend all your time/energy on those things. You can’t do it all, and less is more.
C: What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that might be helpful to others looking to write a cookbook? How did you actually get it done?
M: I think a lot of people think that writing a cookbook is a dream job, but it was a LOT of work. For the two and a half years I was working on Weeknight Baking, I didn’t take weekends off, and my hours were pretty much 7 to 7 everyday. After that, I would work on Hummingbird High, too. It’s a lot more time-consuming than you expect it to be!
I’d definitely suggest talking to other cookbook authors if you can. The publishing industry doesn’t really encourage collaboration, so you’re left in the dark a lot—it can be a really isolating experience. Luckily, many authors are forthcoming about their own experiences and can help you navigate through the entire process.
C: We’re sure everyone and the mailman has asked you this question. HOWEVER, of all the recipes in the book, which is your absolute favorite? The one you make over and over again because it’s just too ooey gooey good.
M: Probably the Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies! I’ve been making a batch every year since like 2013 or something. They’re the fudgiest, most chocolatey brownies ever.
Thanks, Michelle, for taking the time to chat with us! We are SO excited about the publication of Weeknight Baking and so proud to have her in our #CookItCrew! If you haven’t yet, head to Amazon to purchase your copy of this irresistible cookbook! Happy baking!