Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Song of Fire - In The Kitchen

When I was in elementary school I won a blue ribbon for my peanut butter blossoms. In high school, I won first prize for my chocolate revel bars. Yes, I know these are some major bragging rights (not!), but that isn't why I've continued to bake for all these years. I bake to share my concoctions with others, and it wasn't until recently that I realized baking is actually very similar to writing. In both cases you pour your heart and soul into your creation, and you get to experiment and try new things. But, it all boils down to sharing your creation - including the journey. So, today I thought it would be fun to share some baking and writing life lessons I've learned.

The Mangler: Okay...this is slightly embarrassing, but I probably hold the world record for mangling the most meat thermometers in a given month via garbage disposal mishap (see photo below).

  • Lesson learned: Always pay close attention to detail. Sometimes you get in the habit of doing the same thing over and over again and something pretty significant can slip by and wreak havoc.

Up in Smoke: One day I was baking chocolate chip cookies for my hubby and set down my Mrs. Field's (Yum!) cookbook on top of the burner, which I didn't realize was on. The entire thing went up in flames. I was fine, and so was the rest of the kitchen, but it wasn't until years later that I was able to find a replacement copy of my favorite cookbook.
  • Lesson learned:  It's nice to be thoughtful and take care of others, but don't forget to take care of yourself, too.
Shut Up Already: Long before I wrote Strange Luck, I wrote another novel and showed it to a zillion people for feedback - friends, fellow writers, forums, family, editors, you name it. Every time someone suggested a change, I made it. I eventually re-wrote the story so many times it completely buried my voice and the original story I had once been so passionate about. I began to hate the manuscript and made the difficult decision to walk away from it. Lesson learned: Be confident and true to yourself. If it doesn't feel right, it might not be the best decision. In some cases, this could mean walking away and starting anew, which isn't always a bad thing. For example, if I hadn't walked away from that old novel I hated, I wouldn't have gone on to write Strange Luck.