Writing without a Recipe by Deborah Lytton - November Theme

Writing fiction is like cooking without a recipe.  My sister is a wonderful cook.  Everything she makes is truly delicious (seriously, just thinking about Thanksgiving at her house makes me hungry).  And whenever I ask her what recipe she used to make a certain dish, she gives me the same answer--she didn't use one.  My sister cooks by instinct.

This is the way I write.  I don't like to follow the rules and add just a pinch of this or a dash of that.  Because I want my writing to have a uniqueness that belongs to me.  If you have ever read any of my posts about outlining, you already know that I don't outline because it limits my creativity.  I also don't like to follow rules.  In my day job, I am a practicing attorney so I have a professional responsibility to follow rules.  This is why I look at writing as an escape, and with that escape, the freedom to break rules.

So if you are like me, and you are a rule-follower by day, I challenge you to break rules in your writing.  Play with fragments, made up words, even mixed metaphors.  See where your creativity takes you.  Maybe you will stir up something delicious!


  1. Once I heard poet Sharon Olds speak. If you don't know Sharon's work, it's wonderfully bold. She said during her reading that she's actually a timid person, but when she writes, she gets to be brave. Sort of like the rule-bound writer tossing out the recipe. Go, you!

  2. Love the metaphor. Happy Thanksgiving and happy rule breaking!

  3. This is so cool. I agree. At the keyboard, ANYTHING goes.


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