Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recipe for Writing

My friend Cherie at Herbivore Meals is doing thirty-one days of meal planning on her blog.

Sound great?

It is, even though it's been hard for me to embrace new meal ideas. Just so you know, I have a long standing feud with meal planning. Well, it's more like I have a problem with trying new recipes. We're like strawberry ice cream with chili topping--we don't go well together. Why? Because the new recipe is new. It's different. It takes work and thought and effort. It takes me out of my comfort zone, and my comfort zone for cooking is pretty narrow.

I've never loved cooking. Ever. It's like cleaning the toilets. Really. Why? Because it has to be done or things go south. It just gets stinky if I slack off in the bathroom, but if I skip making dinner a few times people die of starvation. Ack! The pressure!

I have about ten things I cook on a regular basis, from homemade spaghetti to wheat bread from scratch. And what goes on the table tastes pretty yummy, if I do say so myself. (I never said I couldn't cook. I just said I didn't like to.) The only problem is, when you eat spaghetti every week for twenty years you start to think: Meh. Or even: Double meh. Or even: Maybe I'll go clean the toilet.

So, lately I've tried to branch out, add new things to the old rotation, because who wants to be thinking about toilets while they eat? And in my efforts to branch out, I've--shock of all shocks--experimented with new recipes.

Some of them have resulted in a chorus of yums. Others...yeah, not so much, especially the time I ACCIDENTALLY dumped a cup of brine into the casserole I was making. Just so you know, brine doesn't taste good. EVER. Who knew that the people who make roasted peppers bottle them in brine instead of water? I mean really. This was so not my fault. Oh, and you probably shouldn't cook when your mind is off conversing with characters from a book, just saying.

The point of all this is, it's been good to get out of my rut. It's been good to try new things. And even if the family is a little hesitant when something different shows up on the table...and even if they all ask me if there is brine in it, they've liked the change. And I've liked the change.

What does this have to do with writing? Plenty. How many of us are in a writing rut? Do you sit down to write and think: Meh. Maybe I'll go clean the toilet?

It's time to change things up, to get a new recipe. Grab your computer and leave the house. (Yes, you can do this. It's called living.) Go to the library, bookstore, or park and spend a couple of hours working there. The change in scenery will do you good.

Go somewhere without internet access--you might go into withdrawls, but Google will not die without you. And, no, you won't die without it either. I promise.

Call a writing buddy and arrange a writing date.

Start a new project, or pull out an old one.

This doesn't mean you can't eat spaghetti anymore, it just means sometimes you need a change. And yes, sometimes you might eat some brine as you try new things, but the yums are worth it.

What are you going to do to shake it up today?


Cherie said...

I have been impressed, well slightly shocked, with your recent culinary adventures. I'd been meaning to ask you what prompted your sudden bravery in the kitchen, but the threat of thinking about toilets while you eat explains it all, lol.

Jonene Ficklin said...

Hm. Brine. I'll bet somewhere in the world it's a delicacy - but probably not for humans. I just might have to try the writing adventure! Great post, Leisha!

Irene B. Gardner said...

You are like totally awesome. I think we've all made the proverbally mistake of using salt instead of sugar or vise versa. It gives us something to talk about over the dinner table--right? Or even create a blog. :D Keep up the good work, Leisha.



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