Yesterday, a little spare time at the office found me (as it so often does) on pinterest. As I perused the unending selection of cute animal pictures, gorgeous architecture and DIY ideas, I came upon a recipe for something called Chocolate Cobbler. Thoroughly intrigued, I gave the recipe a read through and pinned it to make that very night.
However, my kitchen had other plans. When I opened my cupboards that evening I found them bare, and the countless ingredients I'd been positive were in there just a few short hours ago, were gone. It seemed my pantry had grown thoroughly neglected.
At first, I thought I was just out of brown sugar. Determined to make a go of it anyway, I searched the web for substitutions. Then I ran out of white sugar, followed shortly by the realization that I didn't have any cocoa. Suddenly my chocolate cobbler seemed pretty impossible.
Filled with despair, and with a half finished recipe sitting on the counter, I grabbed a spoonful of ice cream and slumped down on the floor to pout. But the ice cream just wasn't doing it. Dammit, I wanted that cobbler! It was time for more substitutions.
By the time I was done, it was a vanilla cobbler made with icing sugar. And you know what? It was yummy. My husband doesn't even want me to try the chocolate version. He likes this one. Which brought me to an epiphany about writing.
Perhaps you've heard the quote by Erin Morgenstern, "When in doubt, just add ninjas." I have it pinned above my writing desk. Well, last night I really understood how to put it into action. (Not that I added tiny ninjas to the cobbler. Although that would be interesting...) When things aren't working out and you're afraid your work is going nowhere, just make a few substitutions. Play with the recipe and add a twist or two to fit your needs. Because guidelines are helpful, but when you throw a few rules out the window, you wind up with something totally different. And maybe you'll like it a lot better than the original.