"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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Brain Food for Bloggers-Thoughts and Lessons on Writing, Cooked up from my Kitchen


To some folks, the notion may seem a little bit "half-baked." That spending time in the kitchen could conceivably help to enhance the creative process. But it has for me, and it can for you too.
As a writer and a proud "foodie," I find that expressing myself in the kitchen is just an extension of my overall creativity.

Much like writing, cooking appeals to the senses. It's visually stimulating. It feeds the soul and the spirit. It calls for following directions and steps. And successful execution requires just the "write" balance and blend.
Accordingly, here are a few things I've learned from my culinary experiences to date.
See if you agree with the correlations here.

Jen's Homemade Brownies

1. Tastes differ.
You can't please everybody all the time. Here's a case in point. Years ago, I made a pasta salad that met with "rave reviews" when I unveiled it at a backyard barbeque at my place. I was tickled pink. Weeks later, I excitedly decided to share it with my honey. After sampling it, he made one simple suggestion. His recommendation? That I remove it from his future menu options. He hated it. Oh well. Who woulda' knew?!
Writing can be that way too. You receive a bad book review on something you've published. A Blog reader lashes out at you through comments. An editor is critical of your ability. Don't let it define or diminish you. Keep cookin', baby!

2. Mastery requires practice.
Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. Becoming a "hot" writer, much like being a good cook, takes time, patience, experimentation, a willingness to improve, and an adventurous spirit. Keep at it. Try new things. Laugh at your mistakes. Modify as you learn. Season to taste.
Jen's Fruit Tray

3. Passion produces "sizzling" results.
Without "passion," your writing is missing a key ingredient. And it shows. If you don't enjoy what you do, quite often your blog will come across as bland, unoriginal, and perfunctory in nature.
Which is why it's crucial that bloggers choose a topic that they feel connected to and inspired by.
To maintain the momentum, and provide quality posts, some background knowledge in the subject matter helps as well. I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. I also dig helping people.
This has definitely fueled my efforts here at Pen & Prosper.

4. Left-overs can be "re-purposed" for those seeking to "work smarter, not harder." 
For me, Friday night's baked chicken often becomes Saturday's Macaroni Salad, or chicken sandwiches. The same principle applies to creative projects.
Revisit and revise pieces that are tucked away in your old files. Give them some new flava'.
Take a "retired" poem, add a little historical information, and submit it for National Poetry Month, for April. Reslant an old article for a new market.  The possibilities are endless.

5. Organization leads to greater efficiency.
Too much clutter can cloud thinking and waste time. Have you ever eagerly sat at your desk to create an article, interview, or book chapter and been frustrated because you couldn't locate important notes? Or find a needed phone number? Most of us have. Whether it's in the kitchen or in your office, being orderly and having good systems in place enhances your efforts. Since Spring cleaning is on the horizon, don't forget to tidy up your office area and files, along with your kitchen.

Jen's Peanut Butter Cookies
To sum things up here, for me, cooking has provided the "secret sauce" to a better writing experience.

...Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a breakfast platter.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Your turn.
Thoughts? Agree or disagree? What would you add?


  1. Great analogy!
    My son's the kitchen magician in our family, and one thing I've always loved is how he can take random ingredients from the fridge and make something not only edible, but delicious.
    So, I would add something like that to the list: "There is a feast waiting to be found". You just have to be open to the possibilities, experiment and try it out, even when you doubt whether the result will be palatable. Sometimes, that's when you'll be most pleasantly surprised.

    1. Hi T.O.,

      Welcome back. :-) Your son sounds like a chef in the making. How lovely. I agree with your statement. In fact, I think life itself can be a "smorgasbord" for writers! Thanks so much for connecting here.

  2. I agree with T.O. Weller. That entire post was a super analogy. Final thought: Finishing a delicious meal is just like completing an article. Both make you feel satisfied and happy! Susan

  3. Susan,

    Thanks so much for your "warm" thoughts! How true. I also find both to be very relaxing. :-) It was a pleasure hearing from you.

  4. I agree, and suddenly for some reason, I am hungry...:) These are excellent points. So much of our lives translates to our writing. As my friend Nancy used to say, "Living is learning." And that applies to the kitchen too, as you pointed out so well. I will be up tomorrow for some of those brownies, okay?

    1. Hi Karen,

      You know you have an open invitation. LOL And don't forget to bring the tea, dear. :-) Thanks for sharing.

  5. One comment - Gimme a brownie! Okay, one more comment. Excellent post. Mmmm.

    1. Sue,

      Looks like I might just have to throw a "dessert party" soon. You in?!
      Thanks for adding to the "mix" today. :-)

  6. Great post. I don't care for cooking, but I can cook, and you're definitely onto something here. I'm going to try my hand at some cooking this week and see what I come up with creatively.

    1. Hi there, Angie,

      Thanks so much for the feedback today. I believe that there are favorable conditions to cooking as well. Why not try playing music in the background? Or having a glass of your favorite adult beverage while you tinker away? Try something simple to prepare. It can even be a dessert or a salad. Get help with the clean-up. :-)
      I have some cookie and brownie recipes that take a small amount of effort, yet "yield" huge taste! Let me know if you want any recipes. Keep me posted! :-)