Last Sunday I baked a batch of jam tarts that failed spectacularly.
I rolled the pastry too thick, didn’t put enough jam, and proceeded to overcook them. My boyfriend kindly described them as “interesting” — I’d show you a photo if I wasn’t so embarrassed.
It’s rather ironic, therefore, that one of my most viewed posts is this delicious analogy comparing fiction to baking cakes.
The truth is, I consider myself both a good baker and a good writer. Not brilliant at either, mind, but certainly past novice level.
Writing credits aside, I’m a brownie queen. A chocolate chip cookie ninja. I’ve successfully made jam tarts numerous times.
Yet last weekend I screwed up. My skills are rusty. I’m cake-deprived!
Before you start questioning my sanity and/or blood sugar levels, I’ll get to the point:
Writing — and baking — take practice.
I’ve no qualms about throwing a failed cake into the bin. I didn’t let those jam tarts prey on my mind, or give me baker existential crisis.
There’s nothing wrong with having an “off” day: I know I can do it, I’ve learnt my lesson, and I’ve moved on.
Yet when it comes to writing, I take each failure personally.
I come away from an unproductive writing session with nothing to show for it and feel DEFEATED. Plagued with doubts.
It was only when I was surveying the desolate landscape of overcooked crumbs, that I remembered to stop beating myself up.
While writing means a lot more to me than baking does, the principles are the same: practice makes perfect.
Instead of letting my failures knock my confidence, I should treat each writing setback like that batch of jam tarts: learn and move on.
Eventually, I will write cake.