Abandoning the Box

I made coconut muffins today. They taste horrible. I used condensed milk instead of regular milk, so the muffins turned out sickeningly sweet and sticky. But I have no regrets because I tried something different.

One of the things I rediscovered during my summer trip back home was my love of baking. Since I’ve been back, I’ve spent every Sunday afternoon baking, experimenting with recipes. I’ve got my basic muffin recipe that I’ve been using since I was twelve, and then I just experiment with what to add to it. My favourite recipe so far is for my Pineapple Muffins. I use condensed milk and pineapple juice instead of just whole milk and the results are pretty awesome.

Why am I telling you this? After all, this is not a food blog. Well, while I was baking this afternoon, I realized that I hadn’t used a box mix for baking in over a year and in that time, I’ve experimented with different recipes, trying all sorts of things that I never would have thought of when I had the box mix. Abandoning the box has freed me to experiment. It’s given me more control over how much sugar is in my muffins (I’m trying to cut down) and it’s made baking fun again.

So now, I’m going to try and see if the same principle works with other things, namely my writing. Taking writing classes and reading lots of books with writing advice has left me attached to prompts. Now that I’m not in a creative writing class, I’m feeling lost. It’s been a while since I haven’t had to write with a deadline looming over my head. In workshop, you know who your audience is, and that helps you decide what to write. But now, I’m just writing. The box is gone. There is no word limit to aim for, no professor to please and no grade to get. Just me and an opportunity to experiment, have more control over my work and hopefully find the fun in writing again.

Do you have any boxes you’ve been faithfully stuck in that you might need to abandon too?

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