29 Comments

That graphic is EVERYTHING. I'm going to print it out and put copies of it everywhere.

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I keep it on my computer desktop but I really should print it out and put it right behind my computer!

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So true, it's brilliant.

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

I love this so much "My creative flame is more like a low lit burner under a skillet on a stovetop. For the first ten minutes, you could touch the skillet and you’d just feel a bit of warmth. But after an hour, touch the skillet and it’s going to burn the shit out of you! My creativity needs time to warm up." and can also relate to the need to sometimes start creating something outside of your usual lane to reignite the spark. Thank you for this, Caroline, you're a real inspiration. And I do want to ask you what helped you learn to handle online criticism? Was it just time and practice? Or did you do something consciously to get better at it?

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Re: handling online criticism - honestly, it's mostly time and practice. I wish I had a different answer. There's a famous quote that warns online creators to "never read the comment section" but that's entirely against what I'm trying to do here -- make cooking easier and more joyful for my readers.

Also, just deleting really negative comments instead of engaging with them! I used to always always respond to any negativity and try to justify myself. It NEVER made it feel any better. So now if I see a really nasty comment that gets past my thick skin (for instance: nasty internet people can insult my recipes all day and I truly don't care bc I know they're great, but when people insult me as a human or me as a parent, I'm not cool with that) I just delete it straightaway and do something to distract my mind if it was hurtful. So delete, go for a walk. Delete, make a cup of tea. Delete, play with the baby.

I also think not only am I protecting myself, but I'm also protecting my supportive fans who get SO defensive of me and often engage in comment section battles with trolls. That is not a positive experience for them either!

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

This is actually encouraging to know that it gets better with time and practice. And I'll adopt the "delete and do something nice for yourself" practice. Thank you!!

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It's been so freeing to see a nasty comment and just immediately delete it and never think about it again.

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

Caroline you are such a treasure!! Yours was one of the first newsletters I was truly impressed with when I fell into the Substack universe a little over a year ago. I love your style in every sense of the word. Oh and I think you took the metaphor just far enough :)

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Thank you so much Erin! That is an incredibly kind compliment.

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Love all of this, Caro! Thanks for the Magnolia Parks addiction. I really loved your friends advice, and it applies to so much! Appreciate all you do!!

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I'm so sorry / you're so welcome for the magnolia parks addiction

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and, I appreciate you!!!

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

Such fun! The Risotto recipe looks amazing and the Creative Process list is going onto the bulletin board above my desk. ❤️

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the traitorous risotto is SO GOOD!

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

It looks good. I had to laugh over the fuss about the pronunciation of risotto, as well.

Life is too darned short!

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right? like guys I'm from North Carolina, you'd hate it a lot more if I tried to say risotto with a fake Italian accent.

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🤣🤣🤣

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The graphic Caroline shared made me laugh! I can relate as I approach #6. I’m glad she has a friend like that to keep things real. When I get stuck writing my food fiction (a novel about a burned out chef who starts over) I cook! Cooking is like taking a shower or a hike. I relax, trust my hands and tastebuds, create something tasty, and usually come up with a few new ideas.

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I want to read this book when it's ready!!!!!

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Yay! I’ll make sure you get a copy 😊

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The internet knew that I needed this today! Your confidence is wonderful- love your risotto anecdote

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I'm so glad it felt helpful today!!!! xo

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Feb 19Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

"But after an hour, touch the skillet and it’s going to burn the shit out of you! My creativity needs time to warm up." This got me thinking about what my creativity is like in relation, and then the extended analogy to the gas bill cracked me up! Thank you for that. I have a great short story writer friend (great writer and great friend) whom I once turned to when creativity left me for a few months and she sent me this fantastic description of how she views her creativity and his assistant, Lois, who when he's disappeared from the office just plays Minesweeper until he gets back.

This was lovely to read. I do frequently walk when I'm stuck, and suggest it for everyone (I do, after all, write about walking), but I really enjoy the reminder of other activities. If I feel a craving for another activity, I like cooking a time-intensive stew. Nothing fancy, just lots of chopping and searing and stuff. It does feel like it gives the creative subconscious a rest from all the pressure. Thank you for the reminder and this fun interview!

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All my cooking spidey senses jumped up and down a bit when I thought about the goodness of tackling a hearty stew. Cooking squeezes a certain creative muscle for me. When I’m in a space where I feel like recipes slow me down (Sorry, Caroline!), I know I’m turning to cooking to open up a different honesty channel inside me. This makes me want to add my comment and ask if there are any “writing” recipes we crave when we’re in a juicy creative zone… be right back … 😋

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OK I have another question (sorry not sorry).

What is your (and everybody’s!) go-to recipe to shake up their writing voices. I’ll share mine:

I love a decadent fried egg. In my cast iron pan I drizzle some avocado oil and slow cook the freshest egg I can find. I top it (while it cooks) with Himalayan pink salt, chopped chives and a dusting of white pepper.* Before serving with buttered sourdough, I put some fresh grated parmesan on top of the egg. You have NEVER known writing inspiration heaven like this. 🍳

*If you haven’t given white pepper

a try, I highly recommend. Also, it needs to be in a jar that has small openings so that it comes out like a true “dust.” I recently visited my aunt and uncle’s house and my aunt was adamant she didn’t like white pepper. And when I investigated this travesty, I discovered the lid to the white pepper was basically POURING onto the food. I would not like white pepper if this is how it was put on my food either.

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Caroline, I love what you say about creativity and the low lit burner. So well expressed. And I must check out your risotto recipes!

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Feb 20Liked by Amanda B. Hinton

Hi Amanda. I am mostly a technical wroiter as a high-energy astrophysicist but I might try other.

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OMG the graphic!! I love the tough love that goes with it lol. That's a good friend. Also, the description of your creative flame is fantastic too. I can relate to that because my creativity isn't as glamorous as I wish it was sometimes, but I've made piece with that.

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I was for sure the kid running around outside barefoot. (I loved this question, and her answer!)

i live a blissful substack existence where I did not think trolls existed! then i realized the link is to her instagram post. ah-ha. shame on the haters. Caroline, way to go with believing in yourself and having the mindset to control your reaction and thoughts thereafter.

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