Secret Ingredient

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I am told that I make good pancakes.

Even if I weren’t told this, I would know it. Because I taste them, and they taste good, and I have good taste.

They’re the perfect color. Golden yellow with light brown edges. Crisp on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside.

I am patient. I wait until the just-right amount of bubbles appear on the surface of the round puddle of mix. A puddle that is not too thick and not too thin. I resist the urge to peek, and I stand guard as they cook. When the bubbly surface begins to look dry-ish, I know it’s time to flip them. Timing is everything. You cannot flip them a second too soon because you must only do it once. Anything more, and the texture is lost.

They look good. But the taste is what really sets them apart. Sweet but not too sweet. Delicate not doughy.

I have a secret.

The secret ingredient is buttermilk, and it makes all the difference.

Writing isn’t much different than making good pancakes.

It starts with good taste. You don’t need anyone to tell you your writing is good except you, though it is encouraging when they do, and it helps.

You need patience. A sense of when a piece of writing is finished, not over or underdone.

But most of all you need a secret ingredient. Persistence. You have to show up and write consistently enough to grow and produce work of quality.

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