I like to watch the Food Network. This is especially true if I’m home alone because I don’t have to worry Mark is bored to tears as I hold my breath waiting for the judges to announce the next winner of Cupcake Wars, or as I cheer for Chef MacMillan in The Next Iron Chef.
Plus, they almost never show commercials for scary movies or previews for the homicide that will be covered on the nightly news – both of which are enough to send me to my Aunt’s house down the street until Mark gets home. Yes. I’m really that much of a wimp.
Watching the Food Network has taught me a lot more than the latest cupcake frosting technique. It has taught me what makes creative professionals great, and how to translate those items to my passion for writing. What have I learned?
Be inspired by your past.
There are some chefs you can always count on to make a dish inspired by their heritage, upbringing or home town. The ingredients are so familiar, they almost always prepare them perfectly.
I view the world through a lens that is shaped by where I came from and 100% unique to me. When I write, I draw on these past experiences. They are so much a part of me, I’m not sure I could do otherwise.
To win, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. Playing it safe almost never ends well for the contestants. The chefs/bakers who take home the biggest prizes are those who blaze new trails with challenging techniques and daring flavor combinations.
The first few minutes after I post a blog article, I go into a bit of a panic. I get very self conscious. Am I sharing too many personal details? Does this make me sound ridiculous? Will everyone think I’m crazy?! Then I remember, if I don’t put myself out there on this low visibility blog I may never be strong enough to submit my first novel for publication. Some risks are worth taking.
A little spice goes a long way.
Too much of any particular spice can trash an otherwise delicious meal, and too many details can kill even the best story. I try to remember that less is more when I find myself getting lost in the writing weeds. Be clear, be concise. The end.