Once a month our critique group meets. We each bring what we are working on – rough drafts of manuscripts, storyboards and illustrations that are baked, half baked or sometimes overbaked. We talk about the work and then we have lunch. We each bring something to contribute to lunch as well; it’s a potluck.
I usually worry a little about the work I am sharing but never about the food.
I’ve been thinking about how to approach writing with the same ease that I approach cooking. I enjoy everything about cooking – planning what to make, chopping, cooking, serving, eating and even washing the dishes.
I am comfortable cooking because I have been doing it most of my life. Sometimes the bread doesn’t rise perfectly or the soup is too thin or thick. But I know that it will come out better the next time. I keep cooking.
With painting I have a similar comfort and a habit of working. Part of what makes me able to paint good paintings is allowing myself to paint some bad ones. Ideas beget ideas.
Writing is still not routine for me, but making writing as common as cooking could be the key to making ideas flow. As I write more the empty page will feel more like an opportunity and less like an abyss. The empty page could be that little pang of hunger that makes me want to cook.
p.s. Here is an attempt I made a while ago to literally bake an illustration for a book. It doesn’t completely work yet but maybe the idea will rise again someday. Bon Appetit!