"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Cooking Shows Can Feed Your Writing Career

Raise your hand if cooking shows are on your weekly "menu" of must-see T.V. programs.
If they are, move to the head of the class. Because you're on your way to becoming a "hotter" writer in the near future.
The reason? Many dynamics of today's cooking shows can impart important lessons on the creative process; creating the perfect recipe for success.

Not convinced? Read on and see if you'll agree.

As a self-professed "foodie" I dig learning new recipes, coming up with variations on the old standard ones, and discovering useful tips and tricks to "wow" my family and friends.

Which is why I was so elated, in recent years, to find yet another benefit to being a culinary cutie: Cooking relaxes me and feeds my creative spirit too. Who woulda' knew? :-)

In fact, there are many similarities and parallels for these two creative arts.


  • Good cooking and good writing both involve incorporating many of the basic senses: touch, sight, sound, for the ultimate experience.
  • Both require following directions properly for optimal results. For cooking it could be a Betty Crocker recipe; while for writing it can come in the form of submission guidelines provided by a targeted publication. 
  • Good writing and good cooking call for the right balance. Have you ever over seasoned something in preparing a meal? If so, you know why too much of a good thing can be bad. The same holds true for writing. Not having a "balanced" perspective and objectivity can cause others to doubt your credibility and your writing ability. For proper balance, (particularly when doing feature pieces, informative posts and interviews) keep an open mind. Consider all the facts. Read different sources. Research. 
  • A clean, organized work area (with both crafts) enhances the creative process and de-clutters thoughts.
With these observations in mind, here are a few things to consider:
  • Don't rush results. Quality takes time. When writing, before submitting your final piece to an editor, or releasing it as blog content, let it simmer. Often, if you let things settle for awhile, you come up with new ingredients or modifications that can make your "masterpiece" even better.  
  • Never let set-backs hold you back. They're part of the overall learning process. I think I read or heard somewhere that Julia Child failed at her first few tries to gain admittance into culinary school.
  • Recognize that shortcuts can sometimes have hazardous results. Whether it's skipping a necessary step or skipping an important detail. Be forewarned.
  • Study the masters. They have reached the top of their game for a reason. I often tune into to reruns of Julia Child and Martha Stewart for their expertise in the kitchen. If you're a blogger trying to earn pay for your say, may I suggest Darrren Rowse, Brian Clark, or the bloggers you see as "repeats" on the "Top Bloggers" awards listings?
  • Have someone else "sample" it. A second opinion can often bring greater clarity.

Now, let's chew the fat on Cooking Competition shows, (of which I am also a huge fan), and how they can help us turn up the heat on our writing careers.

Take note of the following key practices and principles...

  • Time Management--Shows like "Hell's Kitchen" and "Master Chef" often include segments where participants have to successfully prepare a unique dish within a specific time frame to advance in the competition. Usually it's about 30-45 minutes. As such, time management becomes as crucial as cooking savvy. A similar undertaking applies to writing and meeting assignment deadlines and demanding blogging schedules. Knowing how to juggle, prioritize, and work efficiently through distractions can make or break your career.
  • Risk Taking--Risk often brings reward. But, it has to be calculated and clever if you're seeking a good R.O.I. (return on investment). For example, on several episodes of these cooking competitions, aspiring chefs try their hand at "experimental' dishes at the wrong time. They don't have enough experience to pull it off, and are ultimately eliminated from the running. Here's the lesson to this...there's a time for experimentation. But it's usually not when the results have great gravity. When it counts, and there's no room for error, write what you know.
 Follow these cooking tips and strategies for the perfect recipe for writing success.


  1. I love this - it's so true. My daughter is my main "sampler", as she often reads my work before submission. Perhaps I need to make her something real to sample, such as chocolate chip cookies, to express my appreciation. :) Thanks so much for this delicious and inspiring post!

  2. Glad it was able to suit your taste. :-)

  3. Yes, this definitely is a practical analogy, that can be helpful, it inspired me to look even more closely at the 'Menu Card' of my Writing Blog, because I do believe that the 'Menu' could use a little more clarity.

    I very recently made some changes, and now it's easier to find the Main Dish, that's represented in a Featured post titled: 'Your Blog as a - Platform - to Work from', and

    As the Side Dish, a post titled: 'Writing Product Reviews for your Blog' to help Writers/bloggers build extra (Passive) Income Streams, and as a Decert you now also can see a clear list of Special
    Service Pages.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 28, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      Congrats on your progress; seems like you're really cookin' now , H.P. :-)