As a writer, writer’s block is no new thing to me. I have always written short stories and, yes I’ll admit it, some embarrassing Elijah Wood fanfiction back in high school, but sometimes months or even years will go by where I cannot think of a single thing to put down on paper.
This past week I finished my third edit of my novel. It is such a proud feeling to know I’ve worked so hard on this book (I started it in 2007!), and now I’m anxiously forwarding it to a few close friends and relatives so they can read through it and tell me what they think. I’m pretty nervous, as this is the first time a single person besides myself will have access to my most precious piece of work. What if they hate it? What if I’ve wasted 5+ years of my life on something that is just “ok?”
Then I realized how similar cooking and writing are.
For a food blogger, I’m surprised I didn’t come to this conclusion earlier. How many times have I sat in front of my blank computer screen, cursor blinking annoyingly as I try and try to come up with a clever way to start a blog post? How often have I stood in front of my empty refrigerator, waiting for inspiration to hit and tell me what fabulous, creative dishes to whip up that week?
Writing and cooking are both extremely passionate, personal experiences that must be endured alone, and yet the final product is meant to be shared. It’s a strange juxtaposition, and it leaves you feeling vulnerable as you present your work to the world and say, “I made this. I hope you like it.”
For the novice cook or writer, failure is inevitable. A smart person knows this, learns to laugh at the failures (I’ve had my fair share), and attempts to learn from them. Only a fool thinks that their initial draft or first souffle will turn out perfectly. You have to keep practicing, always go back and edit, and you have to graciously accept constructive feedback. It’s pointless to get defensive, chances are you did use too many semi-colons, and your steak was charred on the outside and raw in the middle. Laugh it off, figure out what you did wrong, and try again.
I plan on completing the best manuscript I can personally write, and getting it published. Whether I chose to submit it to publishers or self-publish it as an e-book, I don’t know yet. I have time to research my options while I wait for feedback from my volunteer editors.
But now for the part I’ve been avoiding. It feels like my creative juices have run dry trying to complete my novel, leaving me timid and uninspired in the kitchen. Hopefully this passes quickly, because the last few things I’ve tried to cook have turned out horribly. I’m getting fed up, and not to mention hungry!
But I will keep getting back onto that horse and trying new things until I get back into my regular cooking groove. Then I will post them here for the whole world to see, and say, “I made this. I hope you like it.”