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Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday Speak Out!: Why Cooking is Like Writing, Only Better!, Guest Post by Karen Guccione-Englert

With my recent down time, I’ve been doing some thinking since I am not doing too much else. I’m thinking writing is a lot like cooking. Now for those of you who know me well, this may seem like a strange comparison considering that I dislike cooking and am rather fond of writing. Allow me to explain.

My husband and I have a blended family of six. Our mixture of his and hers children creates a unique schedule for many meal times. Some nights it’s just the two of us and other nights, we are feeding six. Over the years, meal time caused a certain level of angst for me. Trying to make sure I created meals that were healthy, that pleased everyone, and that were within budget were a challenge. I have never enjoyed cooking but trying to tackle this task made it more daunting. I fretted over meal planning, shopping, preparation, all of it.

As time as passed, I have started to worry less about covering all these bases. I began to focus on creating meals that were a little more fun and different and thought less about trying to please the masses.

And this is why I think cooking is like writing. So often, we are encouraged to write in a genre or style that we are not passionate about or simply have no interest in. As writers, we are sometimes pushed to try a new category because it is what’s “new” and “popular” but when it comes down to it, we may not care a bit about it.

I love writing children’s stories and short stories. I am also working on my memoir about my battle with heart disease. My focus is narrow and I am okay with that. I could try to write paranormal or horror but I promise, it would not worth anyone’s time. I think it is better to stick with what makes you happy. In my case, I write because I enjoy it rather than it being my job. Since I have that luxury, I can be picky. And as for the cooking, I fortunately married a fantastic chef!

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Karen Guccione-Englert fell in love with words at an early age and now shares her love of reading with students at Orchard Farm Elementary. Outside of the classroom, she primarily writes children’s stories and short stories. Karen enjoys entering a variety of writing competitions to practice and refine her craft. In addition, she is an active member of Go Red for Women with the St. Louis chapter of the American Heart Association. Karen resides in St. Peters, Missouri with her husband, four children, and loveable pug.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Karen--You're right. When we concentrate on what we love, what we're interested in and what we excel at...Well, everything is more satisfying.

  2. I learned this lesson last year after completing a manuscript for a novel I would never even pick up and read! After a couple of months off to regroup and look inward, I'm back on a writing track that suits my interests and gifts much better. Thanks for the affirmation.

  3. Thanks for the comments ladies! I know that I hit the wall fairly early when trying to write when my heart isn't in it. I think it is important to try new things but at the same time, I know where my passion is and what drives me.

  4. Hi Karen:
    I think you are write about not being able to finish a project if our heart isn't in it. So maybe it's okay to start new things or try new things, but give yourself permission to not finish it if you don't think it fits you. :) Love the photo of you in red, by the way! :)

  5. I know writing is a business, but I still think we need to have passion in our projects to create truly masterful work. So I agree with you, Karen! And how wonderful you're married to a chef. :)

  6. I'm with Margo. It's a challenge to try something new, but if you don't believe in it, it's ok to give yourself permission to put that project aside.

    P.S. Love the cooking analogy. But most of the WOW women know I cook all the time!! HA!


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