Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Delicious Mistakes

One of the things I find difficult about writing is making progress.  I know that sounds strange because I’ve finished projects.  One of my favorites is an MMP publication entitled The Snow Maiden.

However, I make progress in fits and starts.  I tend to go back to correct the mistakes I make as I’m writing instead of writing forward and worrying about mistakes later. 

Several people in my writing group have expressed the same concern: slow progress because of writing while editing. As assistant organizer of a local writer’s group, I discourage this practice, but I admit to engaging in it, too.

I attribute it to detesting seeing my mistakes in print. It’s like a white glove to the face. I’m afraid to answer the challenge. Afraid to fail. So I edit while I write. And make slow progress.

I’ve recently discovered being in my kitchen helps my writing. So I am once again baking.

The result of my efforts was two dozen vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with Tuaca icing.  (If you’re not familiar with Tuaca, find out about its deliciousness here.)

When baking, I’m fearless. I don’t worry about mistakes in the kitchen for three reasons:

-       I can fix the mistake
-       If I can’t, it’s probably delicious anyway
-       A mistake doesn’t mean I’m not a good cook (baker)

So when I’m spooning batter into the cupcake liners and see some of the ingredients didn’t fully combine, I scoop it into the pan anyway. (The brown sugar and butter didn’t fully mix with the flour and baking powder.)

And so began my experiment. In two of the cupcake liners, I spooned dark swirls of brown sugar mixed with a lighter whipped honey-colored batter.  Beautifully marbled in the cups.

They imploded.

Or exploded, I wasn’t looking in to the oven at the time. But I did hear a noise.

Once I looked, I had to make a decision: take out the entire pan to remove the not so-perfect cakes at the risk of hindering the baking of the ones I knew were right.

I’ve been baking since I was “knee-high to a duck”. (Yes, I’m a Southerner.) So I knew not to remove the pans. Let the ones that are not-so-perfect finish their time in the oven and deal with the unsuccessful ones later.

The cupcakes finished baking and I took them out of the oven to cool and they were gorgeous frosted. I took them to a friend’s for dinner.

As for the exploded cakes, I scraped off the caramelly sugar-butter crust on the edge of the pan and removed them, too. Fluffy, sugar-crusted, buttery, melty goodness.  They were the first ones to disappear.

So don’t fear your mistakes. Don’t edit your writing as you go or you might sacrifice losing your vision for the whole work.  Or get stuck in an endless editing loop.

Fix it later.

Or don’t.

It might be delicious.

Eden Royce A/K/A The Dark Geisha loves a good ghost story, a good mystery, and a good romance.  Preferably a combination of the three.  Check out her other ramblings at

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