Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Writing is like Mac & Cheese (and I'll tell you why)


Why yes, I am currently eating mac & cheese while writing this post. Moving on.
I've had a thing for cooking shows lately. I don't really know why, but sitting down at night to watch Worst Chefs in America or Chopped on Netflix has become a major stress reliever. But, it has also caught the attention of my inner chef. Who, by the way, is not very skilled. At all.
I can cook, I should say--but I tend to have a lot of "oops" and "fail" moments in the kitchen. So when I watch these cooking shows and see how easy these chefs make cooking seem, I immediately want to rush down to my kitchen and cook an elaborate meal at 11 PM. (I did successfully make chicken terriyaki our of a Ramen noodle pack, once. It was delish.)
Anyway, one of the shows I was watching involved a chef making mac & cheese. Naturally, I had to try to make my own recipe! I had the perfect idea in mind, so one afternoon I decided to try it.
...And somehow I made mac & cheese that had the taste and consistency of potato soup. Um, gross.
So, I tried again. I managed to evade the potato soup flavor, thankfully, but unfortunately the consistency was still very soupy and runny. Again, gross!
So I tried again. And again. And again. And each time I  tried, it seemed that one little detail was always off or wrong. I began to get discouraged. I thought I'd never make a good dish!
Until a few weeks ago. I was home alone, thinking about what to have for dinner. I decided to try mac & cheese one last time, and guys, it was amazing. The consistency was rich and thick, the flavor was perfect, and it wasn't gritty or gross in any way. It was delicious!
So I tried making it again a few days later--this time for my family--and you know what happened? Once again, I got a gross, gritty texture in the cheese sauce! NO!
**Cue the mac & cheese to writing comparison.**
Sometimes when we're writing, we get stuck in what seems to be an endless loop. Maybe you're stuck at a spot in a chapter, or you found a plot hole, or you've edited the same chapter twenty times and it still isn't any better. Whatever it is, you're stuck. No matter what you do, nothing seems to be working. You just want to give up!
That's what I wanted to do while making this mac & cheese, and it's also what I wanted to do when I was first writing Unperfected. It's also what I've felt like doing when I get rejected. If I just keep failing and failing, what's the point of even trying?
Back to the mac & cheese for a sec.
On Saturday, my mom bought this special sharp cheddar cheese that is absolutely perfect for making mac & cheese. She made some, and guess what? It was absolutely delicious! It tasted like something I would've gotten in a restaurant, and she made it with ease! I had attempted to make mac & cheese at least five other times before that, and all I was missing was one simple component. All I had needed to do was ask my mom for help.
And that's how it is with writing! You're going to get stuck--it's inevitable. Sometimes, you can get yourself out of it. Other times you think you can, but it turns out you can't. And sometimes, you need to ask for help--whether it be from your parents, friends, writing buddies, beta readers, etc. You may have to try a few times before you figure out what to do (like I did with my mac & cheese recipe), but if you persevere, you'll always find a way! The only way you'll be stuck forever is if you give up.



"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9

4 comments:

  1. what ingredient did you leave out?

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    1. The kind of cheese I was using wasn't right and was giving the sauce a gross, gritty texture when it was melted down.

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  2. There was that time I messed up my cake batter.

    Box cake batter.

    I left out the eggs twice. Went to put it in the oven -- "Wait! No eggs!" (Wash pans, mix 1 egg into batter, re-grease pans, go back to oven.) "Wait! The other egg!"

    Argh.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I did the same thing a week ago actually.
      I was trying out this fancy chocolate cake when IT happened.
      I forgot the baking powder. It was almost done by the time I realized it. XD

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