6 thoughts on “Michaeline: Motivation from Twitter

  1. I’m not going to those Twitter links, because…Time Sink! But I enjoyed the posts, and those people would be fun to read, if only I had more time. Alas. I have much to do and now I must get to it. Progress! (I get a sticker for that.)

  2. The idea of treating a WIP like a tired child made me laugh because that’s exactly what I do at time. Maybe not the best of long-term strategies, but often helpful for short bursts.

  3. When I was doing research for The Demon Goes Hungry this summer, I ran across an essay that talked about the difference between being a talented home chef and a professional. It wasn’t ABOUT the different attitude toward cuts and burns, though–it was about he goal.

    A home cook’s goal is to create a delicious meal that wows their friends and family. It doesn’t matter if their turkey divan is a little different this time than it was last time, as long as it still tastes good. Their audience may even applaud a change if it feels like an improvement.

    The goal of a professional chef, on the other hand, is consistency. Customers want to know every time they come into a restaurant and order a dish that it will taste just like it did last time. I have a friend who took a knife skills class from a professional chef. The chef told her the goal of the class was to learn to produce uniformity–diced onion where every single piece is the same size and shape as all the others. Which, of course, is a building block for preparing consistent dishes.

    I kind of think this version of the metaphor still holds for writing versus publishing. Writers, like home chefs, want to create something wonderful and tasty. Publishers, on the other hand, want to ensure that customers consistently receive the dish they’re expecting.

    And I think that tension needs to be there. If artistry and creativity had the last word, readers would never know what to expect. And if publishers had their way, there would never be another breakout bestseller that goes in an uncharted direction. Yin and yang.

    • Oh, that’s an interesting cooking analogy, too! It’s surprising, though, about how many people extol good home cooking.

      I think Sturgeon’s Law may come into play here — 90 percent of anything is dreck (to paraphrase politely). So, there are standouts in the Gentleperson Writer category (the amateur dabbler, if you will), and there are standouts in the Professional category, as well. Distribution is the huge problem, and scaling up.

      Just like a home chef may be able to cook for 10 or even 20, can they handle 100 covers a night, every night? Do their recipes scale up?

      And on the other side, professional chefs may explore their wild sides if the market has enough people to support the niche bits. But by far the largest number of professional cooks are people who work from standardized recipes meant to please most of the people. It’s not exciting, sometimes. But OTOH, they aren’t sending out charred food (unless it’s supposed to be charred) or overly salted soup.

      My cousin is a professional chef who takes inspiration from home cooking, but his craft and his talent makes something like buttered carrots into something really worth eating.

      Interesting twist! Thanks, Jeanne!

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