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Writing Is LIke Cooking

Thursday 21st November 2013

I've decided writing is a bit like cooking. Everyone has their preferred method and there's different ways of getting there:

METHOD A

If you want to be organised you can chop up all the vegetables into nice neat little pieces before you start. Then you can fling them into the pot at the perfect time for the recipe and everything runs smoothly to a schedule.

The writing version of this is planning everything out meticulously carefully at the plotting stage, so you have a tight synopsis to stick to, with no surprises.

METHOD B

Or, when you're cooking, you can chop the veg as you go along, so that some of them are cooking while you're chopping the next lot. This saves time if you feel like you're up against it. But it does mean the onions might be burnt by the time your carrots are ready.

The writing version of this is like when you don't have time to finish the plot/synopsis properly before you have to start writing it up. So you spend the whole time thinking, 'Uh oh, I’m not sure if that bit really makes sense there now, shouldn't that bit happen first? Ah, no time!' But you kind of have to carry on, thinking, 'I'll sort it out at the end!'

METHOD C

Sometimes when you're cooking you ignore the recipe entirely, thinking, 'this'll do! This will probably be better. Sure it said dice finely, but I think big chunks are nicer.' Then you spend the rest of the time trying to chop the unwieldy big bits of vegetable with a knife while they are floating around in a bubbling pot, and thinking, 'why didn't I dice them when I had the chance! This makes no sense now. It's too late to take them back out again. I've started, they're half cooked. Why did I do this? Why? Why?'

One day I will stop being method C. But evidently not today.

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