I don’t watch as much Food Network as I used to, but I used to be really amazed by the chefs who knew just how much a tablespoon of salt or other seasoning was, or just tossed in ingredients without measuring. Of course, that’s how I cook now, but it took time, practice, and a trust in my skills such as they are. I’ve found writing is much the same way.

Not only do I sprinkle in a few horses, a dash of music and perhaps a dollop of another special interest to create my Radio Arcanum world, but writing in general for me has moved more from a strictly follow the recipe (outline) to going by my senses. How does the story feel? Where do the beats land and do they provide enough spice for the story? How do the words feel when I read them aloud?

To be clear, I used to write detailed outlines and get very peeved if my characters deviated from them. There’s no shame and certainly nothing wrong if this is how you write. And indeed, I suspect that it could save time, or at least be able to tell when a story is about to make a ‘wrong turn’ before it actually happens. Instead, I prefer to write just a few steps ahead of where I’m at, knowing what twists and turns might be coming up next but not quite how everything will wrap up and end.

I also have my favorite recipes, my comfort food, and to be honest, I like to put these into my writing too. Why do you think I write about so many horses ? *smiles* But also this is what making writing my happy place, my comfort, my safe space, is all about to me. Giving me something that I can sink into, work on, and feel like it is utterly, completely mine that I get to share with the world.

Like butter melting on still warm bread from the oven, or that first bite of a comfort food, writing for me is all about making the recipe my own, and then sharing it with people who I hope will enjoy it.

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