Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reasons Why Writing Is Bit Like Cooking: Part Two

On Monday I posted three reasons why I think cooking is a bit like writing in that to have success in either you need to have the proper ingredients, a good sense of timing, and a willingness to realize that everyone makes mistakes.

If you're like me, your always first in line for seconds. With that in mind, here are a couple reasons why a good writer isn't that different from a good chef.
  1. What we create for ourselves is consumed by others:  A good chef cooks because food inspires them. It's what they're passionate about. If you don't believe me, just try shopping with a chef. They don't see the individual products on the shelf, they see all the possibilities that such ingredients hold. A chef creates because cooking makes them happy. But the product they create isn't for them, it's for their customers. The best meal ever prepared doesn't mean anything if there's nobody there to taste it. The same goes for writing. We write because it's what we love. We look at the world and see plot lines and characters where others see the mundane. But at the end of the day what we write, hopefully, will be consumed by someone else. Both cooking and writing are art forms meant to me shared.
  2. As soon as it leaves the kitchen, it's not ours anymore: Like I said, for both writers and cooks the products of all that hard work are meant to be shared. The thing is, as soon as that dish leaves the kitchen, it isn't yours anymore. Everyone interprets food a little differently. Take a food that 10 people love and you'll get 10 different reasons why they love it. And of course there are 10 other people just as ready to tell you their 10 reasons for why they hate it. A chef can create a dish with a certain flavor profile and dining experience in mind but as soon as it reaches the consumer there's there's no way to know how any given person will interpret it. The same goes for writing. As writers we create characters and worlds for specific reasons that make sense to us but as soon as someone else gets their hands on it, all bets are off. I once had a reader explain to me why he was certain that a scene I wrote was actually a thinly veiled commentary on barriers to social mobility in America's ghettos. Seriously, I just let him talk because it made me sound so much smarter than I actually am. 
I think I said in Monday's post that I was going to make this a three part series but...I have a short attention span so I think this will be it. I hope you like what I've prepared.

Bon appetit!


  1. Point number one is so true. Writing is about sharing. If only I wasn't so scared of it. I guess I have to remember point two to remedy that.

    1. Getting over the fear isn't easy. When your ready, I recommend checking out the writing community over at http://onfictionwriting.com/. They have critique and discussion boards that are a pretty great first step for sharing your stuff.

  2. Oh... that's smart. "As soon as it leaves the kitchen, it's not ours anymore." Great analogy.


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