January 5, 2013

New Year, New Attitude

It's a new year! Everyone woke up to this week with bright-eyed optimism and hope, armed with new resolutions. We promise to lose some weight, learn a new skill, finish patching all the holes in the wall, or what have you. Yet inevitably those resolutions fail. We eat that second donut. We watch TV instead of reading a book. We slip up once and it's so easy to put all our hopes and resolutions away for another year when it will be that much harder to start all over again.

I mention this depressing fact because resolutions are a lot like any creative project. Any time you choose to create something, you're taking a risk that you might fail. It's a hard fact to face, but living a creative life will be so much easier if you give up now. Expect to fail. But then pick up the left over felt and thread and try again!

Above, I posted a photo of my Christmas batch of French macarons (I do have a minor obsession with those chameleon pastries--so be warned that I'll share much more about them). This time, I took a risk. I tried a new recipe for macarons that a fellow Pinner was kind enough to share. The result the first time for these finicky desserts was not up to standards. The brand new gel food coloring that I tried made the macaron pink -- not red, white, and swirled. The macaron shell itself was too puffy, occasionally hollow, with pointy tops. Now, it tasted fine, but the perfectionist in me was quite disappointed. My fellow Pinner's macarons were gorgeous, absolutely flawless! And mine was like a puffy dreidel.

Poor puffy hollow macarons.

So what did I do? I tried the recipe a second time, altered a few details, and produced one of the prettiest batches of macarons I have ever baked.

The moral is that you have to keep trying, whether for a new year's resolution or for any creative enterprise. So what if your craft doesn't look like the one in the picture? Did you have fun making it? Do you like the final results? No? Then keep trying.  And if you do like it, then fantastic! 

I'll borrow from cooking icon Julia Child, who said that "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” (Yes, that sweet lady actually said "what the hell"!). Be content with your projects, and remember that every failure is a lesson learned. Be proud that you dared to try and realize that most of your mistakes are far less noticeable that you think. So give yourself permission to fail. I already gave myself permission, so maybe I'll spare you a few mistakes along the way. Good luck with your projects and enjoy each failure and success!


  1. Ahhh! I love Julia Child! What a great quote! Thanks for sharing it-- I think a "what-the-hell" attitude is exactly the one to have when trying any new thing.

    1. This "what-the-hell" attitude is really getting some great results! Blogging is so much fun and it is such great motivation to get things done. I'm still enjoying all of your blog posts! That last post with a German-sized meal has my mouth watering!

  2. AHH! Look at your macaroons! Mmmm! Such a good reminder. I made terrible mac and cheese this weekend. I burnt the milk and pasta so badly I had to trash the pot I made it in. Yup. This is such a great reminder though. I always put pressure on myself for perfection, but cooking especially is a trial and error thing.

  3. Oh no, Jacki! That's such a bummer that you had to throw out the pot along with the burnt mac and cheese. Was the non-stick scratched off? Hope your new pot yields you a great mac and cheese next time!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...