Why Baking is Like Writing

I love baking. Give me an armful of ingredients and step back as I whip up, or stir, a frenzy in the kitchen.

Baking is like writing. Both begin from nothing and result in a hopefully finished product. Both are often the result of chocolate. At least they are in my house.


Why Baking is Like Writing - no ideaI’m not one of those bakers who can throw things together and hope it all works. I have to follow a recipe and measure my ingredients carefully. This appeals to the plotter writer in me.

Every piece of fiction demands the finest ingredients of many different elements.
Add a sprinkling too much of characters and your main character will be bitter.

A splash too much of description gives you a less than scenic soggy bottom.

Respect your ingredients and use them well. If you’re going to be a pantser in the baking department you better hope you’re not going to make someone throw up. Probably best to hope for this when they read your novel too.

Plotters, maybe let go a little and veer off the set ingredients track. The finished product might be extra special.

Add more flavouring and make that cake tastier. Add more dialogue and build characters.

Try adding nuts to your cakes. Also try adding nuts to your fiction. I do, every time I write. I write what I am. Nuts.

The Method

Whether you’re a slap dash baker or a meticulous maker, find your method and never apologise for it.

If you produce amazing muffins from whisking them for hours, keep on doing that. If your short stories only come from scribbling for weeks, that’s your thing. Never apologise for your method if it works for you.

Put two bakers in a kitchen and their methods will undoubtedly be different. Their wares will probably taste different too. As long as both produce amazing cakes, who cares? As long as writers produce good works, who cares?

Never mess with someone else’s method. If it produces cakes and books, it’s all good.

Watching it Rise

Why Baking is Like Writing - browniesTrying a new recipe is a nerve-wracking thing. The same can be said of writing a new piece.

We could keep on producing the same old scones but it will soon grow boring.

I need to be challenged in my baking as much as my writing.

There’s nothing like a good old swear at a complicated sacher torte or writing in a new genre.

Don’t be afraid to try a new recipe in baking and writing. Both can be beneficial. Watching them rise can be both agony and joy though.

Many a baker has sat staring into the oven, waiting for that pesky cake to rise. Many a baker has lamented the deflated soufflé.

Many a writer has sat staring at the screen, waiting for all those ideas to rise. Many a write has lamented the deflated BIG IDEA that turned out to be crap.

The First Taste

Never allow anyone to taste your baking before you. As the producer of the goods, you have every right to sample the goodness. The same goes for your writing.

Do not let your writing be consumed by others until you’ve tasted its loveliness. Mix, blend, and stir it into a decent shape before you offer it to others.

Sometimes the first nibble will be rank. If you insist on tasting the mixture before it goes into the oven, you’re not getting the final taste. You’re also potentially getting salmonella.

Thankfully writing won’t poison you but it can put you off for life, ask anyone who ever re-read their first draft.

Scoffing the Final Product

Why Baking is Like Writing - sprinklesWhen your cake or writing is in the best shape it can be, fill your mouths and your minds. Fill the gobs and brains of others too.

Revel in watching others blissing out on your sweet bakes and beautiful novels.

Then start all over again. Get that apron on or that laptop fired up and start making some tasty magic.

Over to You

Are you a writer who enjoys baking? Why do you bake?

Are you a baker in general? What do you enjoy about baking?

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

5 comments on “Why Baking is Like Writing

  1. I love this! As you know, I’m a baker as well, and I employ the same techniques in cakes as I do in writing. That is, I spend ages finding a recipe (or creating an outline), and it very quickly becomes clear that once up to my elbows in raw ingredients I regard such things as suggestions at best…

    Luckily we have editing. And icing. They cover a multitude of sins 😉

      1. Lisa, you’re not alone. While I was editing Kim’s first book, I had an uncontrollable urge to bake shortcake one evening, and couldn’t keep working until I’d done it.

        1. Ha ha! That must have been torture! Baking Bad is fab but should come with a huge cake warning.

          I hope Kim is keeping you in baked goods for your services!

          1. *adds shipping baked goods to editing budget*

            I do apologise for the cake and shortbread cravings. In my defence, though, can you imagine how many baked goods I went through while writing and re-writing…?

            And Lisa – thank you for saying Baking Bad is fab! Writer ego is hereby boosted for the day <3

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