Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Real You

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I love Gordon Ramsey...you know, from Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and now Master Chef.

not that I'm a cook or anything...I just like the way he lays it on the line.

Anyway
, I was watching the most recent episode of Master Chef and there was a woman whose family was of Mexican heritage and she was cooking some fancy schmancy dish for Gordon.

He made her go home, get stuff from her cupboard and come back to cook him something authentic.


She made chile relleno and passed on to the next round.


The point?
She wasn't being authentic. She was trying to impress...trying to do what she thought Gordon Ramsey wanted her to do.


But what made her a good cook was just being herself


trusting her instinct

nothing fancy...just good old Mexican cooking.


It's the same with writing, or whatever our passion and pursuit is.

We shouldn't write to the trends.


Shouldn't cater to what we think agents or editors want to read


We should just be authentic.


In the end, that is what will make our work shine.

Questions: Have you ever been tempted to sway your work toward the trends? Has it worked for you? How do you find that balance...or do you not worry about that? And, is anyone else out there a Gordon groupie?
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14 comments:

L'Aussie said...

Yeah, that sounds like Master Chef. Our red-hot successful show just finished and I'm so having withdrawals. Anyhoo, there was a similar scenario when this season's started over here. They made an Asian lady (Po) go home and grab authentic ingredients. She ended up being the runner up.

Point? Yes, I agree our writing needs to be authentic. I think we need to write a lot and long until we find our uniquenes. Not an easy journey..:) Good post.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Not my writing, but the way I market. Yep, I'm guilty and working hard to stay true to moi.
~ Wendy

Scott said...

The best writing I've ever done - at least in my own delusional little world - is when I wrote soley for me, with no other audience in mind. The words spewed forth at a crazy pace. I lost weight because I was too busy writing to eat. Boy, could I use some writing like that right about now! Ha!

Trends are all fine and dandy, but . . . they change so quickly. I think when we write what we personally want to read, following our hearts and instincts, we write the best stuff ever.

S

storyqueen said...

Yes, it is easy to get sucked in to writing what you THINK people will want. But when I do that, it always sucks.

Shelley

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Amen! This is exactly what I needed to hear today, Tess. Thank you. Full steam ahead!! :)

Amy

Davin Malasarn said...

Sometimes I feel like have to resist a lot to keep from following trends. And sometimes I think I start to follow trends even when I don't know I'm doing it. But, the more I write, the better I am at sticking closer to what I like to do. What has helped is doing my best to detach my publishing goals from the writing goals. I want to write what I want, so I have to be content with the idea that publishers might not be interested.

Tess said...

L'Aussie: ah, another groupie...wonderful! thanks for coming by and for your comment. You're right, it is not an easy task and takes some trial and error.

Wendy: yes, me too. Cuz I'm generally a boring person so have a hard time fitting into the social networking scene at times,you know? I mean, who cares if I am doing another load of laundry. I'll tell you who cares... no one ;)

Scott: haha! our little delusional worlds are the best places to be :D

StoryQueen: but what they really want is true characters and a piece of heart, right? they don't want the fancy schmancy meal...just some really good chile relleno.

AL: I needed to remember, too.

Davin: I think if we naturally write something that happens to be popular, then there is nothing wrong with that. but, it's when we start to write to please others instead of writing what comes from our heart that we will lose that authenticity...that realness that will make our work great. And, I agree with you...there is something about the separation of craft and publishing that frees us.

Susan Fields said...

It's hard enough to write what I'm passionate about, I can't imagine trying to write something I didn't have a passion for. I imagine that would be pretty obvious to anyone who read it as well. Great post!

Heidi Willis said...

This is a GREAT comparison! I watched a few of the Master Chef shows and saw that a couple times... the ones TRYING to impress him never did. The ones who were authentic in what they cooked, and cooked from their hearts, passed through.

You're absolutely right about writing being like that, although I never thought of it that way. I know that I never like what I write when I'm trying to write to fit a niche instead of writing what's in my heart. I think readers, like Ramsay, can sense that too.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Love this post! Yes, I do find myself tempted by trends now and again. It's always been momentary, but still. I'm not sure I could actually write something to fit a trend and be happy with it. I think I'd smell the lack of authenticity. At least I hope so. : )

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post, Tess! You are right. You must be true to yourself. It's about the writing...If your write lovely words and stories good things will eventually happen, right....right! I think you have to write what is in your heart.

I am not a "cook" but I am totally addicted to cooking and baking shows. I DVR 4 different ones....sad I know. :(

Mary Aalgaard said...

Being authentic and true to your own muse will always be the best choice. (I don't really like to cook.)

Amy Saia said...

Yes, I let it happen to me. And now I've gone back and really thought about what I want to say and how I want to say it, and I'm also trying to trust myself as a writer. But that last part is hard as I still have to find an agent for my book, and that whole thing makes me feel tired.

Tess said...

Susan: You're better than me, then. I surprise myself at how I'm sometimes willing to go on tangents w/ my writing.

Heidi: yes, they can sense it. I really do believe that.

Cynthia: you have enough experience that I am sure you would feel if you ever went off track. those of us who are newer to the game need to work at developing that inner sense.

Sharon: me too! Almost all my tivo stuff is cooking related....and I don't like to cook. but, I do like to eat :D

Mary: yes, but do you like to eat too?

Amy: I get what you're saying. It is a long road and we are allowed to feel tired and overwhelmed at times. That is what makes the successes that do and will come our way more sweet. No one can say we didn't earn them, right?