Truths About Being A Writer

I loathe the blogger cliché of listing “confessions.” Mommy bloggers love over-using the word, “confessions,” as if they are penning some scandalous PG-13 rated memoir, a la Kris Jenner style. I am not a Mommy blogger, and I refuse to call this blog post a “confession.” I am simply going to reveal a few truths about my lifestyle, and what a typical day looks like at Milk And Madeleines.

Some people think that being a writer looks something like this:

Photo from HBO

But for me, a day at work usually looks something like this:


The only similarity is our use of Macbooks. I hate to state the obvious, but I am not (yet) Carrie Bradshaw. I am a food and lifestyle writer, and a blogger. I wear many hats. I don’t have some fancy pants Bohemian apartment in Greenwich Village of New York. I don’t live anywhere near Haight Street in San Francisco. My work space varies depending on my mood. I usually write from a (free, found on a street corner three blocks away from my mother’s house, carried on top of my car while going 5 MPH with my hazard lights on) table I have set up in my back yard, with a citronella candle burning to keep bugs away. If it’s too hot to sit outside, I write at my public library, or at Starbucks, because if I wrote from my living room or bedroom, I would find excuses to slack off or fall asleep. I also prefer to keep a low profile, because someday I hope to become a full-time food critic.

J. Kenji López-Alt, the author of The Food Lab, a column on Serious Eats, stated in a recent interview with LifeHacker, “You have to work very hard to make it seem like you aren’t working hard at all.”

This is true, although I hardly fancy myself a party girl to detract from how much time I actually spend working on my career. I don’t go out every night to sip cocktails at trendy clubs and bars. I prefer reading. I have more magazine subscriptions than I’d like to admit, and I am constantly reading books about, well, everything. I am currently reading two books about journalism, two books about blogging, and one book about fashion. I have only been a guest at one Michelin-star rated restaurant in my life, although if funds allowed, that number would certainly be higher. I save money and cook at home 90% of my week, and I only blog about 10% of what I actually cook, because I test and tweak recipes at least twice before I post them on Milk And Madeleines. Most of my time is spent taking notes and editing content. Yes folks, I am a nerd. I embrace it.

I don’t watch a ton of live TV or new TV shows, because I am too fidgety to idly sit. I generally use the television as background sound as I am reading, editing photos, studying, crocheting, knitting, or checking emails. When the television is on, it’s usually something I have already seen: Golden Girls, Sex & The City, The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia…do you see a trend here? I watch empowering female movies and television.

The music that inspires me the most are the sounds of soul, intelligent hip-hop, and R&B. Erykah Badu speaks to my soul. Jill Scott has helped remind me of my own strength. Listening to the Living Legends‘ album, Classic reminds me of a road trip I took alone, in May 2010. Listening to this whole album felt cathartic as I drove along the coast of California, seeking some kind of influence or direction for my next life decision. I had taken this trip as my own miniature version of the book, Eat, Pray, Love. I’ll admit-most of my time on this trip was spent eating, which influenced my decision to go to culinary school. Classic served as the soundtrack for the vacation that changed my life forever.

I always carry a tiny pink moleskine notebook with me at all times. I received the notebook from one of my best friends for my 30th birthday. I like to keep track of all of my ideas in one place, because I’m not sure I could function as a part of society if I didn’t write everything down. I am also a calendar junkie. I keep a glass framed daily planner, along with a dry erase marker next to my bed. Sometimes I find myself ruminating on my plans for the following day, and if I don’t write them down-I just don’t sleep. I also tend to abuse the calendar function on my iPhone. Most people feel as though they would die without a Facebook-ready phone. Not me. I would panic if I didn’t have access to a calendar.

After working in kitchens for the past three years, I prefer to wear open-toed flats, my decade old navy blue converse sneakers, or my 5 year old Tory Burch Reva flats over wearing high heels. My favorite pair of jeans, a pair of dark American Eagle jeggings, have been re-woven and re-stitched in several places using my sewing machine. Fortunately for me, the whole distressed denim look is back in style. As per kitchen safety regulations-my fingernails are rarely painted, or long, but they are always clean. My preferred hairstyle of choice is a bun, held in place using Goody Spin Pins. I do not consider myself glamorous, but I consider my style well put-together.

I tend to be a little over-critical of myself. It’s something I am working on. I have spent at least two years gathering ideas for this blog, before I even registered my domain name. The internet provides a layer of anonymity, and I try not to give any attention to internet trolls. Despite this fact, I was still terrified of sharing anything on the internet until recently. I understand that my blog may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but my biggest project…one that I will most likely work on for the remainder of my life, is to gain greater confidence in myself. To me, this means learning to stop taking everything so personally, growing a thicker skin, and believing in myself.

Next week, I will begin an unpaid internship for a local media company. It was a huge life decision for me, but I am thrilled. This internship is about to become my new relationship. There will be a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of time commitment-but I welcome it. This does not mean that I plan to abandon Milk And Madeleines. It means that my posting frequency may slightly reduce, but that the content and quality will increase as I gain more practice and work to develop my own distinct voice.

Right now, a lot of changes are taking place in my life. But isn’t that what life is about?

There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.


4 thoughts on “Truths About Being A Writer

  1. I love what you had to say and I think I could very much relate to your aspiration – to grow a thicker skin.
    I tend to take things personally and some times it I really really wish for myself and for you to improve on that side 🙂


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