As a writer, I see metaphors everywhere, and one of the lenses through which I view the world is that of writing and words. So, it’s not a surprise that when I’m cooking a meal, my mind goes inevitably to writing… and tries to make connections.
(One definition of writing could be “finding connections between like or unlike things.”)
Here are some examples of how writing is like cooking, along with a few concrete tips.
Remember forgotten items. Looking for a utensil in the big mash-up drawer, I saw things I forgot we had, like corn-on-the-cob holders. Now they’re in my consciousness, and I’ll remember them next time we have corn-on-the-cob. Same thing with your content… take a gander through your content and remember what you have – so that you can repurpose, re-use, or reinfuse. Or go through your idea file and see which one is ready to bloom into something more.
Kitchen-to-writing tip: Make time to refresh yourself with what’s in your virtual writing drawers every now and then. Think of this as creative time and idea generation. It’s valid!
Try something new. Do you have a ton of cookbooks you never open? I bet the minute you do open one up, you find all sorts of new recipes that excite and inspire you. I went through our Hot & Spicy cookbook and immediately marked a dozen dishes I want to try. With your writing, try new methods and writing styles. It builds your writing muscles as well as stretches you mentally.
Kitchen-to-writing tip: On your next blog post (a “safe” place to experiment) try a new way to open your blog (dialogue, a quotation, a story, short staccato phrases) – something you haven’t or rarely used before.
Use your fail-safe, trusted recipes. We all have that list of trusted recipes, our go-to meals when we need comfort food or just something familiar and easy. (Mine happens to be chili!) This idea translates to writing in that there are times that it’s absolutely appropriate to reuse something you’ve already written. Most of your tribe won’t remember that you published that article three years ago. Heck, some may not remember that it’s the same one you published three months ago.
Kitchen-to-writing tip: PLAN on reusing your content. If you know a busy time is coming, then re-use and re-publish older articles in your ezine. Make it part of your business systems.
Purchase that tool you always meant to get. My husband mentioned egg salad sandwiches, and I went looking for the cool egg slicing tool in the kitchen drawer. I couldn’t find it, as it must have been a loss in my divorce a few years earlier. I need to get it soon so that I actually have it (and don’t keep thinking I do). In the writing world, this could translate into getting a notebook or journal that’s perfect to take with you (or pull out at any time) when the urge to write comes upon you.
Kitchen-to-writing tip: ALWAYS have something with you to jot down notes. You never know when the great idea will come whizzing by!
Keep your shopping list up to date. Most of us usually have a shopping list going so that when finally make it to the grocery store, we can get out of there as quickly as possible (unless we actually like grocery shopping – I don’t!). With writing, have a list of questions, an outline, or a “Where to next” prompt so that when you pick up your current writing project, you can jump right in.
Kitchen-to-writing tip: When you end a writing session, end with a question or end your sentence prematurely or with a fill-in-the-blank. That way, you’re poised for a quick start next time.
Whether you’re cooking or writing, set yourself up for success so that you can ease right into the meal!
Dawn Goldberg Shuler has been working with writing and the writing process all her life, from teaching English to working with companies to improve their communications and marketing. As an online business manager, she creates systems, procedures, and, oh yes, lots of marketing material for her clients. In addition, she works with private clients in her coaching practice to help them create and maximize the content that is going to get them noticed and create connections with their communities.
Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. To learn more about Writing From Your Soul, visit her website.