Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creativity and Cooking - Mary Burton

For those who know anything about me, they know I love to bake. On any given day you can step into my house and there will be bread rising on the counter, cookies in the oven or a cake on the stand ready to be iced.

A friend of mine asked me recently why I bake so much. “Just buy the cookies or cakes and get back to the computer so you can keep writing,” she said. I thought about that because baking from scratch does take time away from the computer. Toss in trips to the grocery store and hours at the gym to burn all those extra calories…well, you get the point.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized baking not only feeds me (and most of my neighbors) but it also feeds my creativity.

Somewhere along the way I’ve learned that plot problems are best solved in the kitchen. When I hit a snag, I push away from the computer and start pulling out the pots and pans. Just yesterday I had a P.O.V. problem in a scene. The more I stared at the computer the less answers I had. So, I headed to the kitchen, knowing mixing and stirring always shakes something loose in my subconscious. Sure enough, the pieces of the story came together in surprising ways I hadn’t thought of before. I’ve often joked you can gauge my writing day by the number of iced cupcakes on the counter. Never fails I’ll be halfway through icing when the story answers hit and I abandon the baking to finish the writing.

My heroine in Dying Scream shares my love of baking. She’s often in the kitchen baking, worrying, and trying to figure out how to handle the closing of her late husband’s estate, the creepy notes she keeps receiving and of course the return of her old love Detective Gage Hudson.

Most writers I know have figured out what unlocks their creativity. Some craft, some sew, scrapbook, paint or sculpt. We all have our different paths to creativity. The trick is finding the right one for you.

Mary Burton


Michelle Monkou said...

I don't think it's fair that you mention how much you bake when I'm snowed in and can't get to those cupcakes.

Your tip must work because your stories are always fantastic.

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the great post.

runner10 said...

Great post!!

Pat Cochran said...

Your story of how you deal with being "blocked" recalls a problem
I occasionally encounter. I'll be
going to do something and all of
a sudden I can't remember what I
was about to do! I've found that
if I go back to where the process
began, (like at the computer or in
the kitchen) I am able to remember
what I was going to do! LOL!

Pat Cochran

Mary Kirkland said...

I love baking so I can relate. Great post.

Martha Lawson said...

Hey, If baking helps you write these incredible stories - keep on baking!!! I love your books.

Linda Henderson said...

I know a lot of people that love to bake. A friend of mine is always baking bread and I always tell her I don't understand why she doesn't just go buy a loaf.