Lasagna and Other Creative Endeavors

Yesterday I made lasagna.

Most of the ingredients sat in the refrigerator for almost two weeks: the homemade tomato sauce from the last of last summer’s tomatoes, the ricotta cheese, the eggs, the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and the Italian sausage.

Except, then—when I spent so much time on blogging that I never got around to making the lasagna—we had pasta with Italian sausage and tomato sauce a few days ago. So, last weekend, I had to go to the store and buy: more tomato sauce (the garden sauce was almost gone) and spinach (this time the lasagna would be all veggie).

As I mixed all the cheeses together in a large aluminum bowl, I thought about how much I love cooking. Aside from the obvious reason: that I love to create delicious, healthy food for my family, I also like to cook because, for me, it is a highly creative endeavor. I usually don’t cook from recipes, but even when I do, I take liberties based on my own experience and sensibilities.

After I put the lasagna in the oven, I went back to my computer to continue writing. I felt energized and more creative, and I was incredibly productive! As blogging becomes more-and-more incorporated into my daily schedule, I can start re-incorporating the other creative things I like to do, like: photography, knitting, sewing, gardening, and cooking, too. And this will only help make me even more creative in my writing.

What are some other non-writing creative things do you like to do? Do you find that doing these activities make you more productive in your writing? Or does it just cut down on the writing time you have?



  1. I go through phases with things you mentioned. I was just thinking yesterday how I never paint anymore. I used to love experimenting with all the faux finishes on my walls. But since I rediscovered writing, I’ve left painting on the back burner. Cooking…? I often view it as a chore when it’s for my immediate family every day. But when I host a holiday, or b-day celebration, I absolutely love to get creative and fancy up my food–and even just enjoy the process and exploration of each ingredient. I go all Big Fat Greek Wedding on everyone. 😉

    I’m so impressed with how prolific a blogger you are while doing other activities. I aim for two posts a week, and even that cuts into my WIP. I’m stingy with my time for other creative pursuits these days b/c all too soon my kids will be out of school and home for the summer, and then I’ll have to kiss my uninterrupted writing time goodbye for a season.

  2. Hi Barb, Thanks for the comment! I know what you mean about limited time; when I decided to start blogging (something I had resisted for a long time), I made a commitment to blog everyday. It has taken a toll on other things, but it’s the one thing that I won’t budge on. It seems paradoxical at times, as my WIPs gather a little dust, but little by little, it’s actually getting me writing more and more of everything–which was the plan. Thanks for the visit and the comment. p.s. I wish I were a painter, but all I ever paint are the patches I need to make in my old house’s walls!! 🙂

  3. Leah says:

    As I’m sure you’ve seen, I LOVE to cook. I love creating dishes and knowing exactly what’s in it and using the ingredients I want. Aside from writing, it’s one of the other creative things I do that gives me such joy and satisfaction. And your lasagna looks tasty. I want a piece now!

  4. I LOVE making lasagna! Something about making the sauces, mixing the cheese, and then layering everything really relaxes me. Who knows, maybe it reminds me of writing? I love how the ingredients build upon each other, and the repetitive nature of putting one layer on top of the other lets my mind wander & destress at the end of a long day.

    Even though I’ve only recently started making them, it’s one of my favorite dishes to make. It might also be because back in February, the day that I got “the call” from an agent, was the first time I ever made one. My husband had an evening class, so I was home alone, the house was quiet and yet I was so excited and jittery, I needed to find a way to keep my hands busy. It’s weird but I know that years from now, when I look back on that day, I’ll remember that lasagna and how soothing it was to create something so delicious out of so many different ingredients.

    Lasagna as writing therapy–I’ll have to add that to my list of “things Julia and I are always on the same page about!”

  5. Leah, It’s nice to know that others see cooking and writing as similarly creative endeavors! You’re right, it’s so satisfying to create a food and know exactly what’s in it!

    Natalia, Yes, lasagna is on the list, too funny! The layering and repetition of making the lasagna was exactly what I was thinking as I made it. And I’m exactly the same way needing to keep busy when I’m excited and jittery–hard to sit still. That’s so cool that you have that tie to lasagna!

  6. Angela Scott says:

    Cooking–bluck. Not a fan. My husband and children sure wish I was was a better cook than I am. Unfortunately, I take after my mother who never enjoyed cooking. My sister and I picked up on that and so our poor families suffer (I mean, they’re not starving or anything. they just get half-butted means).

    For me, the problem also lies in the fact that my husband is a Vegan, my 7yr old daughter is a vegetarian, and both my boys will not eat a vegetable to save their lives. How am I supposed to cook for a family like that? See? Cooking is not fun for me. I have been known to ruin microwave brownies. Seriously. When I have a sick neighbor that I’m to take a meal to, I usually just buy them Papa Murphy’s Pizza and a bag of salad. I should try harder I guess.

    Now, other creative things I do enjoy, which I do feel help aids my writing, is reading, photography, and art projects with my kids. Does that count?

    Consider yourself stalked 🙂 You are officially put in the BEST DARN BLOGS EVER file!


  7. Angela, So sorry I didn’t respond sooner — we had an unexpected trip out of town come up so I got a little behind. I so appreciate your HUGE compliment! I also cook for a variety of vegetarians/meat eaters, so I know your challenge well. I often think I’ll just become a veg. too, so much easier to cook one thing! However, I must say I LOVE cooking unlike you, so it would be more fun for me! P.S. I welcome the stalking! 🙂

  8. CMSmith says:

    I’m with you on everything except the cooking. Cooking is just okay.

  9. And you more than make up for it with your gardens!! I love gardening, too, but you carry it to a beautiful artform! (I’d happily trade cooking for garden consultations! 🙂

  10. Aisha says:

    Its so strange you mention this- I feel the more I get in touch with my writing creativity the more creative I get with my cooking- my husband was recently telling me that he finds my new dishes cooler than ever before- and I do the same, I take major liberties- interesting perspective, will be sharing this post with him!

  11. Aisha, Thanks for the comment! I think it is true that energy begets energy and creativity begets creativity…. but for me, I’m not sure which comes first, the chicken or the egg. For instance, if I’m at a low emotional point, my writing slows down to almost nothing… So interesting! Thanks for dropping by, Julia