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Hand-in-Hand: What Creative Writing Can Teach Us about Baking

Just as creative writing is an expression of artistry, so too is baking.

When we enter the kitchen, we put our imaginations to work. We call upon our passion and ingenuity. We want to engage our “audience,” if you will, and we want the finished product to inspire people.

If those analogies aren’t enough for you, consider the many books that address how to develop as a writer. They offer plenty of prudent advice on how to write effectively, and this advice can easily be applied to baking as well. Here is a quick look at three such books:

"On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King. Aspiring writers (and bakers!) can mine a lot of helpful nuggets from King’s reflections on how he struggled at the beginning of his career. He also includes input on how to organize a workspace — important for artists of all stripes — and structure one’s day.

"Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. The impetus for Lamott’s book is a memory of her younger brother as a child and his struggle to write a book report on birds. Their father wisely advised him to “take it bird by bird.” Bakers who aspire to lemon merengue and baked Alaska would also do well to start small (cupcakes or muffins, anyone?). Lamott encourages writers to find support groups, and bakers too can benefit from a community (even a virtual one) of like-minded culinarians.

"If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland. Ueland’s timeless tome advocates that we should free our imaginations of anxiety and fear of failure. Not only that, but she says everyone “is talented, original, and has something important to say.”

Indeed.

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