I'm getting tired of being known as the girl who loves to eat all the time. Yes, I love food and I love to eat, but it's becoming a little disheartening. There was a time when I really enjoyed cooking. I used to bake when I was younger. I never formally learned how to cook, but I could fake bake my butt off! "JIFFY" mix was my best friend, especially the blueberry and banana nut flavors. I'd make muffins, cookies, pancakes and I loved it! So what if my baked goods pretty much came out of a box. I was just happy to find things I could cook on my own and partially satisfy my insatiable sweetooth. I remember baking a lot and then I remember not baking. There's really no in between of why and when I stopped. It's the same way with my writing. I remember always writing and then not writing.
I started thinking about baking and writing the other night while I was reading this book about writing short stories. The author used this analogy:
An idea is to a writer as flour is to a baker.
A story idea, like flour, is simply the first of many essential ingredients when it comes to creating a story. To make your bread or pastry--be it a novel, short story, screenplay or poem--you need to combine other key ingredients...characters, voice, plot, structure, setting and lots of perseverance to stick with your story until the end. Just like a cake can't bake itself, an idea alone can't make a story. Somebody's gotta know how to bake that idea into art. I've been slacking on my job as a baker.
Most of my ideas have been sitting inside my head, some for years. No wonder I feel crazy all the time. I don't even know if they're bakable anymore, they're so old. Do ideas have an expiration date? But, I hold onto them, knead them around in my subconscious. I still want to see my ideas grow into something. But an idea plus desire isn't enough. I'm the one responsible for whether these ideas continue to die or if they see the light of day.
Cooking is not about being a perfectionist and I know that. I remember burning the bottoms of muffins and making some really crunchy cookies. It happens...and then I kept baking. I kept experimenting. Everything didn't always turn out good, but they didn't always turn out bad either. I want to be a perfect writer, so much so that I barely write at all. I think if I start baking again I'll remember that perfect writing doesn't exist. The best writing is what's written, not what's hiding on the shelf of my mind.
It's been months since I've gone grocery shopping (sad, but true), but next time I go I'm buying some "JIFFY" mix. And brownie mix. And cookie dough. I'm getting back to my baking! The girl who loves to eat will be the girl who loves to write, too.