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Nailed It!

Netflix has this show called “Nailed It,” where amateur bakers compete to see who can create the most passable baked goods. Elaborate cupcakes, cakes, gingerbread houses, and even watermelon carvings are what the contestants try to recreate. The cast and crew are great, and it’s evident that this is a show that has fun and sometimes doesn’t take itself very seriously. There’s only two seasons so far and I’m definitely hoping there will be more.

Obviously, the challenges are timed and you can tell that some of the most complex desserts would never be able to be done in the time frame that’s allowed. Of course, that’s part of the challenge, to see how the contestants do with managing their time between decorating and baking something that’s edible. They’re not going to be on par with the professional creations but, dammit, these contestants try.

The whole premise of the show — aside from trying to win 10k with edible, semi-pretty cakes — is to learn. The judges critique not only the taste of the desserts, but they also instruct and help the contestants figure out where they went wrong and give tips on how they can improve.

My favorite episodes are where you can clearly see the contestants take the advice to heart after the first round and apply what they learned to the second round. With that said, the challenges give the constants room to add their own touches to their cakes. They are beginner bakers, not pros, and they need to improvise and put their own spin on the cakes in the time they have.

Being another creative pursuit, it’s a lot like writing.

You do not improve before making some mistakes. You first draft is not going to be at the same level as a professional. More experienced writers can and should give you well-meaning advice, but never forget that your writing is your own. Like baking, you need to put your own style, your own flair, into your work.

And, yeah, maybe your work won’t be the prettiest. Maybe it won’t be to everyone’s taste. But that work is yours. Be proud of what you have created in the time you created it, because you created something out of nothing and that is a fantastic feat to be proud of.

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Posted by on October 2, 2018 in Home

 

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Write Shit

Someone on Tumblr asked, “What do you guys do when you feel down about your ability as a writer?”

Write shit.

Seriously. Write whatever comes to mind, make it deliberately bad to torture that little niggling pest in your head that keeps whispering to you that your writing sucks. The further along you go, the more you practice both writing and ignoring that inner pest. There are parts in my WIPs where I felt myself losing steam so I just hit the enter button a couple of times and go off the rails, talking to myself through the page and the story until I’m ready to go back to the actual novel.

Alternately, write something you want to read. Write something that only you will read (unless you later choose to share it), something that is completely and shamelessly self indulgent to get more comfortable with your writing. Try out new styles while writing these self indulgent stories or just use them to practice and bolster your confidence with your current style. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with self-insert fanfiction that will most likely never be read by anyone else but me, and I have a great time writing and rereading them whenever I need a boost.

Breaks are good too! Don’t forget to stay hydrated, to take a look at the sun once in a while, to talk to someone else beyond your computer screen/notebook pages.

We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again. Self-doubt is the permanent neighbor to creativity because you’re inventing something that has never been seen by anyone else in the world, and it’s downright scary to think that others may believe you’re just crazy rather than seeing what a brilliant gem you’ve just shined. Eventually, though, self-doubt will be like that old neighbor that spouts out conspiracy theories that you’re sometimes forced to hear, and you’ll learn to humor this neighbor, even if they make you a little uncomfortable, before taking a deep breath and going back to do your own thing.

You got this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, least of all a whispering pest that’s all in your head!

Now I gotta practice what I preach.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in Home

 

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That “Something”

I heard once somewhere that in order to find your passion as an adult, do something that your parents never let you do as a child.

Please note that I’m talking about safe and legal “somethings” here!

Obviously, awesome parents are supportive of their children and do their best to indulge their child as much as possible as they’re growing so the child is exposed to new activities and ideas. However, there were probably a few things that fell to the wayside as you were growing up.

Perhaps there was an elective class in high school on the art of desserts, but you didn’t take it in favor of continuing a foreign language class, since that would look better on college applications. As an adult, you have the ability to go and sign up for a baking class.

Your parents didn’t want you to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outside of Halloween? Go find a martial arts program to join. Sure, you won’t have a cool shell as a built-in shield, but the “ninja” part of the title is better than nothing, right?

Do you remember having a little Polaroid camera, even a toy one, and how excited you were at showing off the pictures of your dog, your doll, your favorite tree in the backyard? Do you remember the last time you enjoyed the scenery enough to take a picture so you can show it to your friend later? What’s stopping you from getting a new camera, from making collages of your favorite shots, from finding that passionate feeling again?

Day jobs are important. Getting together with your family and friends is irreplaceable. But when was the last time you indulged your inner child, your past self, and were really excited about one of those “somethings?”

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Home

 

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Creative Urge

I’ve been sucking with my writing lately.

Generally, the only writing I’ve been doing is handwriting little one-shots in a notebook for a bit before going to bed. It’s a nice way to wind day after a day of staring at a computer monitor and numbers and math and taxes at work. Sometimes, though, I find myself staring at my phone — which I use to play some music for writing — while blank pages from the notebook stare back up at me.

I’ve been feeling a bit mentally drained lately, probably due to the changes at work. A coworker left to pursue another opportunity, and I was the closest one to his position. I got the promotion, which is great, but it obviously came with a bit more work, most of which is familiar. The extra work is no problem, especially since it tends to fill up my work day and keep me busy. When I get home, though, I tend to just veg.

I have the urge to create, though. This job does not fulfill that urge and I want to get back more into drawing along with writing. Losing myself in the art and stories of video games, to connect with others about those, is another passion of mine that I want to pursue.

It’s funny. Often enough, I hear coworkers speak about what they are doing after work, especially on our late day. Considering I like sleep, I tend to go home and get into pjs before going to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s a wonder if I stay in my work clothes for a while after getting home from the day job if I’ll keep that work mentality…

Then again, I tend to work while on my bed, so that may not work at all, haha!

Once I get more used to the workload of my position, I should be able to focus more on my creative pursuits. Anyone got any tips for doing that?

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Home

 

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Motivational Music

When I’m writing or working on other creative projects, I almost always have something playing in the background, be it music or YouTube videos or streams. Once in a while I get into a little funk because I’m not exactly where I would like to be in life with my more creative pursuits, and while I’m still working towards those goals, I decided to whip up a little playlist on Spotify full of music that I like to blast for some extra motivation.

(Of course Spotify didn’t have all the songs I would have liked to add to the playlist, but what are you going to do?)

Thought I’d share the playlist here in case anyone else would enjoy the music. There’s fifteen tracks, just a little under an hour’s worth of songs that range from softer songs to hard rock. All of them are lyrical — I’ll probably create a playlist full of instrumental music at a later time — and I’m sure I didn’t involve anything with explicit lyrics.

Share some of your favorite motivational music with me too!

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Home

 

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Multiple Projects

Rachel saw my post from yesterday and said (not unkindly), “Oh, it’s another picture!”

I’ve thought the same many times, especially during this month.

While I genuinely like the pictures of advice and quotes that I find, and I hope that any readers do as well, I have fallen a bit behind when it comes to actually having written posts. It tends to happen during NaNo months where I’m more focused on my word count than preparing blog posts in advance.

I tend to do that with many things — I’ll focus on one project and forget about the rest for a while. I could definitely be better organized, give myself a small schedules and time frames to work on certain projects, but then I feel as if that stifles said projects. I don’t want to spend only a half hour sketching out a drawing before having to switch my mind’s gears over to reading. Perhaps I would do better with designated days, or pledge myself to spend a certain amount of hours each week, with free hours, on projects.

I just need more deadlines looming over my head, I think.

How do you deal with multiple projects?

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Home

 

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Best Writing Advice

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Posted by on April 18, 2017 in Home

 

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