I Write Like I Cook
It gets messy, it happens in spurts, and there is no recipe.
Writing is like cooking.
I’ve often said of my kitchen creations, “If all of the ingredients are edible, the end result will be edible.” Does this translate to writing? If all of the words in my story are readable, will the end result be readable? Yes and maybe. In a literal sense, yes. People with a command of the English language will be able to read the words. From a literary perspective, maybe.
The story will be considered readable depending on personal taste. Readers may be intrigued by a headline only to abandon the story when my content doesn’t grab them. It’s the same with cooking. What I produce will not suit everyone’s taste. Some people don’t like poetry and some people hate papayas. Potato, potata. Do you like alliteration? If not, you’re probably finding this unreadable.
It gets messy.
Thinking about two of my passions, writing and cooking, I noticed my approach is similar. Both are creative endeavors and when I get in the zone, I am in the zone. Many kitchens have been destroyed and laptop batteries depleted because I was in a whirlwind of creativity. “Can’t stop, won’t stop” could be my motto.
There are differences, to be sure. Cleaning up the kitchen after a cooking session takes more effort than plugging in my computer after a writing session. And the end results? The food is much more photogenic and colorful than my writing. Insert pun about using colorful language... Plus, I get to eat the food. Writing may feed my soul, and while that’s poetic and all, I can’t actually survive on words alone. If only…
It happens in spurts.
When inspiration strikes, I like to strike while the iron is hot. In either situation, cooking or writing, I do not want to be interrupted. Demanding my attention when I’m cooking could lead to burnt food. Disrupting my writing flow could lead to… Well, insert that colorful language here.
There are few things more frustrating than having an idea float just beyond my reach because I didn’t write it immediately. Like hot food that doesn’t get eaten right away, the idea trail cools quickly. I’m left with either unappealing eggs or a dead-end story. Interrupting my creative process is not recommended.
There is no recipe.
I enjoy creating when I don’t have to follow tedious rules or instructions. Sometimes it’s necessary. If I were writing for an assignment with specific criteria, or baking a cake I didn’t want to fall flat, I would need to be more methodical.
Generally, though, I’m cooking or writing for myself first. If someone wants to eat food with me, great. When people enjoy my writing and follow me, wonderful. But I’m most motivated when it comes from within, happiest when I’m led by my own fervor — however messy it may get.
Who am I writing for?
When I wrote, “I’m most motivated when it comes from within” I meant it. That doesn’t mean I never write to gain approval or earn money. Key word: most motivated. Intrinsic motivation (from within) has a stronger pull than extrinsic motivation over the long term.
When I am writing because I love to write, I am motivated by the process.
When I work to get desired results (followers, claps, money) it can be demotivating when the results don’t materialize. When I am writing because I love to write, I am motivated by the process. It is often necessary for me to pause and reflect on my intention. This helps avoid putting energy into overcoming feelings of rejection. Focusing on writing because I want to write is the surest way to feel satisfied, just as cooking my own food satisfies my appetite.
Author’s note: All photos are mine, featuring my own culinary creations.
Rachael Ann Sand writes about life’s lessons and experiences including educational, humorous, and personal pieces. Thought provoking, informative, and often entertaining, her writing style is infused with personality. Rachael earned a B.S. in Elementary Education, MN Teaching Licensure, and Parenting Coach Certification. Her passion for the next generation extends to all living thing. As a cyclist dedicated to a sustainable lifestyle Rachael rides through the world on two wheels. ~“For my health and the health of the planet.”