The thing is, I don't love to work out. It's ok. It helps me keep my girlish figure. But the main reason I go to the gym is to support my true love and addiction: FOOD!
I love food. I love to eat. I love to buy food. I love the Food Network. I LOVE FOOD!
And I also love to cook. There is no better way to wind down from a long day than to crack open a beer (another thing I LOVE), bust out some pots and pans, and get to cookin'. My specialties include pad thai, vegi burritos, stuffed cheese burgers, fried sage winter squash soup, spaghetti squash and grueyere, pumpkin roll, and my award winning key lime pie. Mmmmmmm...
I love to cook so I think about it a lot. Because of this I've noticed some definite parallels between cooking and something else I love to do and ponder: writing.
I started out intending to post five reasons why writing is like cooking but I kept coming up with more. Instead of doing an insanely long post, I'm going to make it into a three part post.
So without further ado, here are my first three reasons that writing is a bit like cooking:
- Ingredients Matter: I love the TV show Chopped. If you haven't seen it, basically it's the cooking version of MacGyver. World-class chefs are given baskets filled with crazy ingredients and instructed to make world-class meals. Stuff like "You have 20 minutes to make an appetizer using pig testicles, licorice candy, shoe leather, and some fruit as yet undescribed by science." Seriously crazy stuff. And sometimes they fail. Even though these are very talented cooks with years of experience under their belt, sometimes their dishes turn out terrible. The moral of the story: it's a lot easier to make a quality product if you use quality ingredients. The same goes for writing. We all know the basic ingredients of a good story but just being aware of them isn't enough. You have to get intimate with these ingredients (bow chika bow wow). You have to practice with them. Use fresh plot lines instead of dried out cliches. Avoid bland at all costs. Spice things up! Bring in outside influences and expand your boundaries. Use high quality ingredients.
- Timing Matters: Good cooks manage time well. You can't start your scallops 45 minutes before it's time to serve or they'll have the texture of a Goodyear tire. If that rice doesn't have enough time to cook your guests will need dental work. Cooking a quality meal means starting things at the appropriate times, giving them the time they need (and not a second more), and then picking the right time to finish. Sound familiar? A common writing mistake (I know I've been guilty of this one) is starting a story at the wrong point. Knowing when to start can be just as important as knowing when to finish (which is also super important). A good writer needs to manage the timing of his/her story so that everything starts at the right time, is given the proper amount of time, no more, no less, and finishes when it should.
- You Will Make Mistakes: The first time I cooked on my own I was seven. I woke up early one Saturday morning planning to make my parents pancakes. They came out golden brown and fluffy, just like good pancakes should. So why did my dad look like a penguin regurgitating food for its young? Simple, I used baking soda instead of baking powder. And I used extra. So basically I made salt cakes. My mom and dad assured me that they weren't that bad, added more syrup, and ate them with a smile. What good parents. They're lucky the extreme sodium content didn't result in an instant heart attack. "Boy kills parents with pancakes!" Anyway, the point is that everyone make mistakes when cooking and when writing. My first writing efforts were probably even worse than those pancakes. But if you love it then you stick with it. And you get better. And you add bananas and walnuts to your pancakes.