Jumping, With Chopped

PC: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

PC: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

Weird topic, right? What’s a writer got to do with jumping and what’s jumping got to do with Chopped, you’ll wonder. I’ll get to that eventually. I think.

First though, I have to tell you a secret. I am a huge, humongous, gargantuan Food Network fan. I also love to cook. No, not the everyday things. Those are chores. But even when my schedule goes crazy and I have 20 hour workdays, if I’m given a chance to cook a gourmet meal, I jump at it.

My entire family is like that, down to the youngest member. We’re always on the lookout for an excuse to cook fancy meals. Birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments, friends visiting, friends relocating–we start planning the menu. During those family lunches and dinners, everyone gets a slot at the oven–Gramps, Granny, Mom, Dad, Offspring. Our close friends call it the community kitchen.

Enough of us. Let’s move on to the Food Network connection.

Obviously, if I’m so into cookery, it goes without saying that I love seeing other people cook also. I’m not much into TV, but I love my cooking shows. Of them, Chopped on Food Network comes out on top.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Chopped. In case you haven’t, here’s the lowdown. It’s a competition where four chefs compete in three rounds–appetizer, entrée and dessert–with ingredients from mystery baskets. After each round, one chef is chopped or eliminated, until there is one. It is fun, downright thrilling, and amazing seeing the creativity. I binge watch it often, and on my DVR, Chopped is always the largest stash.

I watch Chopped when I’m low on creative mojo, and I have to tell you, it does wonders. It’s one of my favorite brain rekindling workouts, ranking right next to taking a long walk.

Now, as a writer, I’ve found even more use for it. It’s a miracle pill for switching between projects. Almost all writers, big and small, work simultaneously on multiple projects. In today’s world, and especially in the indie community, people have at least three stews cooking at a time. That is the only way you can have multiple offerings in a year, and in turn be rewarded by the inscrutable algorithms at Amazon. So, I try to do that also.

Trouble is, the brain is not a simple machine. It’s not like you switch the hoses and, voila, you’ve moved from the tank with rainbow water to one with silver sprinkles. It takes time, sometimes a long time, to get into a story and into the heads of the characters you’re writing about. It takes even longer to jump from one set to characters to another set in a completely different world with entirely distinct set of problems.

Right now, I’m finishing up a Lightbound Saga novel, but I know, I’d have to get to working on a present day story my editor is waiting on. I know that right after I’m done with launching The Regency Protocol, I’ll simply sit at my desk and stare for hours before I can write a page of Jumpers. I’ll be in the proverbial “SLUMP.”

Remember the great Dr. Seuss?

“When you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Thankfully, there’s Chopped, the cure-all for my slumps.

Right now on my DVR, I have an all-stars Chopped series waiting for me. Come the 15th, and The Regency Protocol is sent out, Chopped and I will have a long quality afternoon. Post that, I’ll jump into something else. I’ll be back to grinding, on a new project. And so it’ll go on, over and over again.

It’s very important that we find out what keeps us going. It’s even more important that we find those things that help us out of the unavoidable slumps. That’s how we get to go to the places we want to go.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in on writing, thoughtful thursdays

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