Cooking for Nine

You may know I have an acute fear of failure. The kind that makes me terrified of stupid things--like small talk or mowing the lawn--just because I might fail at it. This, of course, makes writing and getting critiques rather difficult. Anyone who's been writing for a while knows you can't please everybody--even the best books have haters, and the unpublished more than most.

Turns out cooking for my family is good practice then. For a sufficiently large family,* somebody will always hate whatever you cook for them. And they're kids, which means they're just as honest as if they were hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.

For someone who's afraid to even play a friendly game of soccer, you can imagine what this does to my ego.**

But here's the bright side, and hopefully something you can use in your writing: no matter how strange or bad my cooking is, there's always at least one person that likes it. See, the converse law of "You can't please everybody" is "You will always please somebody."

It might be only your mom or your best friend, but it will be somebody. In order to get past the crotch-kicking that is rejection, you have to focus on that person. Internalize their opinion. Believe them. Honestly, it's the only way to keep moving forward when you feel like everyone else is cranking your soul through a sausage grinder.

Mm, sausage. Maybe everybody will like that...

* I don't know for sure, but I'd bet "sufficiently large" might even mean "two."

** It doesn't help that they're all Thai, so the foods I actually
like to cook are generally frowned upon.


Ken Lindsey said...

Great post, Adam. I had the same failure worries last night when I made the family pad thai for the first time.

Went over really well, though:)

I guess if we never try, we can't get lucky huh! (gee, maybe that goes for writing too, haha)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Criticizing the cook (which is me) is greeted with a withering stare and threats to cut off the supply of food. For three growing boys, this makes them extremely well mannered even about foods they despise, which has come in handy at friends' houses where the food is not always tailored to them (which I do make an attempt to do).

I'm a lot more tolerant of criticism in my writing. :)

But the look on their faces when it's pancake-feast-for-dinner?

jjdebenedictis said...

So an extra thank you for being the first person brave enough to submit yourself to the query goblin's gnawings. :)

[T]he converse law of "You can't please everybody" is "You will always please somebody."

This is a great point! I shall have to work harder at remembering this.

Victoria Dixon said...

Well said Adam. And I so feel for you on the cooking thing. I really don't like to cook anymore - not because I'm not good at it but because no matter what I do, it's usually disliked by either the hubby or the daughter OR we had it the previous week (because we all like it) and now we're all tired of it. LOL

I'm starting a new track: Cook to suit myself. It's what I do in writing and works there, but I'm meeting with more resistance in the kitchen. ;D

Myrna Foster said...

My most enthusiastic reader is a teenager. I thought he might be going easy on me because I'm his aunt, but then he told me my pumpkin pie looked like baby poop.

Nancy Thompson said...

Thank you, Adam. Your post is timely & much appreciated. And I try to do just that, focus on those who love my writing. They always get me through what seems like countless rejections.

Anonymous said...

"cranking your soul through a sausage grinder."

I wonder what you taste like on the other end?