Saturday, March 10, 2018

Embrace the Creative Life by Fighting the Recipe

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

When it comes to cooking and using a recipe … well, I’m not the most strict follower of outlined steps.

Oh sure, I buy the recommended ingredients. But when it comes to measurements, I tend to eyeball a teaspoon of salt or a cup of sugar. Close enough is good enough, right?

Follow the recipe to a point … and then freewheel a bit. That’s the fun of being a “creative.”

Don’t you love that word creative? It gives you permission to push the rules back a bit so you can try new things … explore … and enjoy the unexpected results.

When it comes to writing, I am a creative. Yes, I’ve learned the craft — and I’m still learning new ways to be a better writer. But when it comes to story, this is where I fight the recipe. This is where I dare myself to try new things, to up my game, to set aside the literary measuring cups and spoons and follow the story down unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes I allow my characters have their say, rather than putting words in their mouths.

Fighting the recipe … daring to embrace life as a creative … and allowing the story be more than I ever imagined.

In Your Words: How do you live your life as a creative? Where do you fight — or follow — the recipe?

Embrace the creative life by fighting the recipe - @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (click to Tweet)

Thoughts on living life as a creative - @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Now Beth believes God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." A women's fiction novelist, Beth's first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there's more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers' groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at


  1. Thank you for such encouragement Ms. Beth. Often, we have to "test the waters" many times to find the right recipe for success. My recipe-fighting consists of writing how I feel in my heart (what I feel)rather than the Strunk & White method drummed into my head. Strunk & White has its place, but am learning to trust the One guiding my heart more. That's why God made editors; to make what comes out of my heart make sense to others. God's blessings ma'am.

    1. Hi, Jim: I always look forward to your comments. And I applaud you for trusting God to guide your heart as you write. Interestingly, in the book I'm writing now, the theme is trust. My imaginary characters are learning a lot about the topic -- and God is making certain that I am, too.

  2. I'm a recipe the letter. I'm a horrible cook, and even when I do this, the meals sometime turn out horrible. Luckily my hubby will eat anything and not complain.
    Now with writing, I also tend to follow the letter, edit mercilessly, tweek, and rewrite. And somehow... these turn out okay. Go figure.

  3. Jackie: Cheers to your husband! And, as a former editor, I also tend to edit my writing mercilessly. I've learned to let my creative side run free-(er) during my fast draft -- and I'm enjoying that more and more. But I am a bit of a "just one more read through" writer, too.

  4. Beth i love this post so much! we are birds of a feather - recipe? what recipe???

    1. So glad to know there's another "close is good enough" recipe follower out there, Robin!