Happy January! Honestly, I think this month (along with December) is the fastest moving month of the year. Really, I still don’t know what happened to the entire month of December. But you know what’s really cool? I’m back in the RADblog for the next couple months! So, we’ll be hanging out for January and February, before Ms. Boehm’s return (isn’t she amazing?!).
This month, since it’s January, let’s talk about resolutions.
More than that, let’s talk about resolutions for writers.
But let’s take it one step further.
Let’s talk about resolutions for writers, which have nothing to do with writing.
Why? Because as writers, it’s good for us to get out and do things, to see the world through a new lens (or two, or three, or four). So, this month, this beautifully chilly January, let’s talk about some things you can resolve to do this year, which have nothing to do with writing—but that I believe will help expand your writing career.
They’re also all things I’ve personally tried, so you know I’m not just talking.
If you’ve been following me at all for the past few years (whether in the RADblog, Too Many Books to Count, or on my social media), then you know how much I love to cook. I love to try my hand at new things, to write my own recipes, to discover new cuisines and try new things both in cooking and in baking.
That’s why I highly recommend it.
Cooking and baking have been mild hobbies of mine almost my entire life, but it’s become more of a hobby in the past few years. My mother and I both greatly love to cook, and we enjoy getting together and trying out new recipes (usually using my father as the guinea pig taste-tester).
I’m sure though, that a lot of you are wondering why in the world I would recommend cooking and baking as a hobby for a writer. It might not make any sense at all, in your mind. But remember, these are resolutions for hobbies, hobbies that have nothing to do with writing (though I do think there are ways it’ll help your writing career, in the long run).
Cooking is an outlet of discovery, the same way writing is. When we cook, we’re discovering which ingredients go well with each other, and which do not. We’re using those math skills we learned in elementary school to help us learn baking times and temperatures, to mix a batter in the perfect proportions. We’re using skills that we don’t often get to use in writing.
Which is why this will help you, in your writing career.
Hear me out.
For most of us, writing doesn’t involve any form of math. If it does, it’s the kind of math we get out a calculator for.
For most of us, writing involves sitting on our bum all day, and ordering in when it’s dinner time.
For most of us, writing takes up all our free time, and we like to think we don’t have any more.
And sure, for that last one, I know you’re right. I know some of you don’t have any free time. But for you, taking on a hobby right now probably isn’t going to be your resolution. So, really, I’m not talking to you right now. If this topic piques your interest, then I urge you to bookmark the link and come back to it when you have time to take on a hobby. The rest of you, stick around, just a couple more minutes.
Cooking, for me, is an outlet to be creative in a different way. To follow instructions and end up with something beautiful and delicious (and hopefully healthy) in the end. It’s like following an outline, through from the beginning to the end of the book. It’s like writing, in that you start with nothing but a bunch of ingredients and end up with a dish that nobody wants to put down.
It’s also a way for us to stay healthy, because of that tendency of ours, to sit on our butts all day. Cooking and baking is a way for us to make sure we know what’s going in our bodies, that we know we’re doing the right things for ourselves, that we know we’re not filling ourselves with toxins and then allowing those toxins to pool somewhere while we sit inactively at our desks.
It’s an art form, something that takes our mind off the task at hand and onto something milder. It’s a routine, a mundane activity (like taking a shower), that often helps us find that eureka moment in our writing.
It’s good for you. And it’s a skill that everyone should have.
Don’t worry; I’m not asking you to be a gourmet chef. I’m not saying that you should start with the most difficult recipe in the book. But I am saying that you can do it. As a writer, you know how to follow an outline. You know how to do what the recipe is telling you. It’s nowhere near as hard as people make it out to be, I promise.
Just make sure you don’t stress-eat what you make. ;-)
Associate Editor, etc.