On Monday, I wrote about my hummus recipe.  I love publishing recipes, and even more, I love writing about why I’m publishing the recipe, so one of the things that I decided to do with my blog was to give everyone more food for thought (pun intended).  Let me know how you feel about them!  I do realize that writing and eating don’t have much in common, but they are also the two things that I love most in this world, aside from the people that I adore.  (They are very closely followed by coffee, sleeping and gardening.)

Which brings me to today’s topic: giving yourself a unique voice.  Writing, like cooking, is all about your style.  It’s what makes you, you.  Developing your style takes time, just like learning how to cook.  It takes experimenting, on a regular basis.  It takes practice, everyday.  And most of all, it takes courage, the courage to open up your cookbook of writing ideas, find a recipe that you want to write, and then bake it.

Lots of times, I run out of an ingredient, which means that I either (a) have to look up a substitute on the internet or (b) modify the recipe.  Taking this analogy a bit farther, writing is like that too.  You look up things on the internet, like grammar, spelling or synonyms.  And then you modify your writing when an inspiration hits you.  Lots of my recipes are like that, and so is my writing.  I read a great book, and then an idea sparks.  Or you are doing something, and all of a sudden, you get an inspiration.   What if …?  What would happen when …?  This is what writing is all about.

Take this blog as an example.  The other day I was making a sandwich for lunch, my Basil, Tomato, and Mozzarella Sandwiches.  This was one of those recipes that my writing inspired my cooking.  I love these things, and I found out about them at Starbucks.  Starbucks is my regular haunt for my novel writing (I never go there otherwise).  So, me being me, I was attempting to recreate the Starbucks-environment at home, because it’s a lot cheaper than going to Starbucks.

Coffee, check.  Sandwiches, check.  Light jazz music, check.  Annoying people who want your seat and are so rude they give you dirty looks while you are writing, check (I have teenagers in the house, so this one is aplenty).

So a revelation hits me while I am trying to find the recipe in my recipe box.  Every single one of these recipes (I have over 400 of them) has a special meaning.  I can write a story about each one of them.  My recipe box has turned into my built-in writer’s prompt idea box.  Why not combine my recipes with my blog?  Not only can I drum up over 400 blog posts, but it’s also an interesting twist (my own voice) on a blog about writing a novel.

Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwiches.

1 long Italian loaf
6 fresh basil leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper-flakes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Slice loaf in half length-wise.  Place each basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in a single layer.  Combine red pepper and balsamic vinegar for dipping sauce.

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