Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Lessons on Writing Served up Straight From the "Kitchen"!
If you’ve followed this blog for more than a hot minute, you know two things for certain: I love writing and I’m a true “foodie“.
Yep. Though I’m a modern woman who has no problem with making my own way in the business world, and being fierce, I‘m unapologetically “old school” when it comes to being domestic.
I love trying new recipes, watching food shows, creating kitchen crafts, and impressing the male species through my culinary skills.
Name a cooking show, and it’s likely it’s on my weekly line-up.
From Simply Ming, to Katie Brown’s Workshop, to America’s Test Kitchen, to Rachael Ray, to old episodes of Julia Child.
Oddly, I also find them relaxing.
Which is why I’m a huge fan of the weekly Fox 32 hit show, “Hell’s Kitchen”.
Any other “customers” out there?
For those who are not on board, here’s a quick run-down.
Essentially, Hell’s Kitchen is a popular, reality show that engages cooks from all areas and backgrounds in a culinary competition of sorts; with the winner earning bragging rights, cash, and the opportunity to be a head chef at a designated upscale restaurant.
Think of it as the American Idol for “food performers” .
Though you typically won’t find recipes you can quickly whip up at home for the family, the show has great entertainment value, and an assortment of lessons it “serves up” for today’s writer.
Here are a few I culled from a recent episode. See if you agree.
1. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!
Master Chef, Gordon Ramsay, is insanely wicked when it comes to critiques of contestants.
He makes comedian Andrew Dice Clay sound like a Boy Scout comparatively. (Hence the name, “Hell’s Kitchen”.) So be forewarned!
The point here?
Sometimes rejection letters, commentary provided by editors, and even general blog comments by readers, can be brutal and unfair.
Don’t let it permanently burn you. It comes with the territory. Apply what you can. Pass on leftovers.
2. Don’t discount expert experience.
Generally speaking, experts in any field, are designated experts for a reason.
They’ve done their homework. They’ve traveled where you’re trying to go.
They know some things that you don’t. Hello?
Each show, I’m amazed at how resistant some folks are to the advice of their mentors.
Though confidence is an admirable trait, confidence should never come before competence.
It doesn’t even in the dictionary.
3. Be careful not to “stir the pot”.
Let’s face it: You won’t always like a client, collaborator or colleague--but it’s important to strive to get along and to be professional. Don’t wage silly word wars through social media and online bulletin boards. It can mean career suicide.
4. Organize your work space for greater efficiency.
We all love our corners of clutter, don’t we? Sometimes it seems easier to let the piles grow, rather than to sift, file, decide and discard--as the situation dictates. We simply put it off, and ultimately toss needed organizing to our mounting to-do list.
But, I’ve found that clean desks and orderly quarters often contribute to clearer thinking and a sense of balance and peace. Not to mention, the easier it is to put our hands on desk calendars, valuable interview notes, ink pens, stamps, etc. the better we function, and the more time we have to write!
5. Appearance is important.
In cooking, delectable dishes are made more appealing through a technique called “plating”.
Plating involves the balance of colors and textures, arrangement of food, and general cleanliness.
For writers and bloggers, we can compare this concept to the way our sites are designed, images used, sidebar content, and formatting of text. It should also include a presentation void of typos and grammatical errors.
6. Good cooking, like good writing, takes time.
Let it simmer. Recognize that there is a learning curve and a discovery process.
Experiment. Prepare with love.
These six tips are intended to provide food for thought for writers of all levels and genres.
Embrace and enjoy...
Thoughts? Any comments brewing?
Image Credit: SPFF