Writing Is Like Making Cookies · 7 January 2012

No matter how many times you make cookies following a recipe, you can always mess it up. Or at least I can. The last couple times I have made Nestlé Toll House® chocolate chip cookies, I have not done the greatest job. One time I did not have enough brown sugar and another time, I measured wrong and had to try and fix the mixture. The cookies were passable, but the experiences got me thinking about writing.

No matter how often I write, I am still just a hack with a website. I might make somebody laugh or even cry from time to time, but I am not setting the writing world on fire. Which of course makes me wonder why in the world I have a website in the first place. If I were the blaming type, I would blame my friend Tim for my website. (If you do not like my stuff, you can blame him too. But then again, if you do not like it, why are you reading this?) Tim is one of my friends who likes to ask “Why?” or “Why not?” He is what some people would call a “troublemaker.” Or at the very least a “rabble rouser.” He helped me to take my writing seriously and helped me set up my website. Just by asking his dumb questions. But in all honesty, Tim helped me go from dreaming about writing to being a hack with a website. And I thank him for that.

I will thank Tim even if I never write a best seller or even get more than my current 281 Facebook fans. I will thank him because he got me to get serious about doing something I love to do. I am still just writing for my small audience (both real and imaginary) and for my personal satisfaction, and as I finish up my fifth year of weekly writing, I marvel that I have had the modest success I have had.

I also thank Tim not just for being my first official Facebook fan, but because he has helped me see a different recipe for success in the world of writing. The old formula of writing a manuscript, sending it off to either publishers or agents, getting rejected, and then sending it off again to somebody else is certainly not dead. Most people use this method to get a book deal. But when writing short columns or essays, corralling newspaper editors or syndicates is not the only way to go. The new recipe is to use Facebook, Twitter, and of course, websites to put content out to the readers. It is like the old recipe, but you do not need a newspaper to hire you to get writing out there. The recipe still includes lots of writing and rejection, but the fact remains, this is a digital age and we writers need to use digital tools to garner readers.

I know that I have not always followed the plans laid out for me in terms of my writing. I break writing rules and conventions all the time. However, I do write and edit and put my writing out there for the whole world to see every week. I do accumulate hours and experience writing my blog and other projects. And as I said I would do long ago, I am producing a large body of work for people to read. In short, I am writing and loving it. Just like I love baking.

As I keep writing and baking, I know I will eventually get a large bundle of writing (hopefully, with a few gems included) and dozens of batches of great chocolate chip cookies. Whether or not I always follow the exact recipes.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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