In the Swoop Office we are thinking about Christmas, well, Christmas cake to be more precise! We like the way that so much love and care goes into the creation of a Christmas cake and think it is rather like creative writing. In fact, the more we think about it, the more the two seem to resemble one another.
It is best to get baking around two or three months before Christmas. This gives you plenty of time for the cake to mature. You will also need to ‘feed’ your Christmas Cake regularly as the big day approaches. Creative writing often starts a long while before pen touches paper, just as with the Christmas cake, ideas need to mature and experiences are needed to feed our creativity.
The ingredients of the Christmas cake link so nicely to a flavour-some story. The ingredients are like the details of a story. They all need to blend well together.
Plain flour – a good structure
Softened unsalted butter – something to hold it together
Dark muscovado sugar – mysterious event
Free-range eggs – risen expectations
Currants, sultanas and raisins – great characters
Glacé cherries – special characters
Candied peel – perhaps some laughter
Brandy – a shot of spirit
Mixed spice – intrigue
Black treacle – a sticky situation
Orange and lemon – fresh zesty twists
Nutmeg – a good ending
Line your baking tin – get yourself set up to write
Preheat the oven – have what you need to hand
Stir the dry ingredients together – get writing
Combine the butter and sugar – follow your plot
Add one egg at a time – keep the reader guessing
Stir, whisk or beat – remember to pace things
Bake in the oven – take a break
Let the cake cool – read your work
Decoration time – read it again, edit and improve
You could say that making a Christmas cake is a work of art, an act of love or even an annual endurance test. Sometimes it will go well and a delicious offering will be devoured eagerly. This is like writing where you just might create a mouth-watering story, raise a smile and have your reader come back for more.
When a Christmas cake goes wrong, whether it’s too dry, too boozy or not boozy enough, don’t worry as you can always try again next year. The exciting thing about creative writing is that unlike the Christmas cake which is a once a year event you can keep writing all year round!