Restore Your Baking Inspiration
Ever heard that quote by Confucius: “Choose a job you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”?
He was lying.
He may have been a deep genius, but he was still lying.
Truth is that no matter what work you do, there are some days when you just won’t feel like doing it.
My high school Math teacher had this hilarious line she pulled out of her archives whenever we complained about our schoolwork: “Ons is nie in die hemel nie, ons is in Afrika.” Which translates to: “We are not in heaven, we are in Africa.”
But whether you live in Africa or not, ANY work will inevitably be difficult on some days. And some days are worse than others.
- There are always random days when the inspiration is low and your pillow is just SO FLUFFY.
- Then there are other days where you have energy, but just feel a bit “meh” and baking doesn’t seem so great and before you know it it’s 3 hours later and you STILL haven’t started (because you just keep scrolllling and scrolllling on Instagram – like me)!
- And those days a client asks you for something new and NOTHING comes to you.
- If you’re like me, you may even have had weeks where you just keep steam rolling on, FORCING yourself to keep going… Please tell me I’m not alone?
So even if you work on a rose plantation, some days just aren’t that rosy.
Today’s post is all about sharing practical tips to help you on such days to get you out of Baker’s Block and restore your baking inspiration!
Warning: Some of these tips may be quite confrontational and intense (especially the first 2), but I’m sharing what has undeniably worked for me.
Freedom and Inspiration usually involves laying down our pride in one form or another.
More often than not, baking inspiration returns after applying tips number 1 & 2, but I’ve included 4 others as well for desperate times 😉
So here we go 🙂
1. Rest and W(h)ine
Because we are bakers and we overwork ourselves (more often than not), I simply HAVE to start with this tip.
When we are tired and worn out, we can’t push ourselves to keep going for too long. It’s so weird, but over time, society has started branding REST as “laziness” or “idleness”, but that is completely false. I read this amazing article by The Guardian about rest and productivity.
Alex Soojan-Kim Pang wrote a book about the importance of rest and its power to actually BOOST productivity beyond belief! Here’s a quote from the interview that hit me straight between the eyes!
“’More hours equal more productivity.’ This is an assumption – a mistake – that we’ve been making for a very long time. And now there’s more than a century’s worth of research that OVERWORKING ourselves is bad for people, organisations and also BAD FOR PRODUCTIVITY. It’s something that can be sustained for periods of a few weeks but after that you start creating more problems than you solve.”
When we are overworked, there is zero inspiration.
Important note: Intentional rest is not watching Netflix or playing Xbox. Stay away from screens. Research has shown that physical hobbies help our minds to recover from exhaustion much faster.
Due to my physical reality, I am not able to do any exercise, but talking a leisurely walk in our neighbourhood does WONDERS for my mind and mood! Barefoot is even better!
When I take a walk, I also try to focus on what I SEE, rather than what I think. I’ll focus on the delightfulness of the breeze, the beautiful singing of the birds, the movement of the trees in the wind, etc.
If I stay inside my head for the whole walk, I don’t feel any better by the time I get back to our apartment.
Other options can be reading a good novel, playing cards or a board game with friends/family (laughter is the best rest!), a picnic, a nap, playing with your cat/dog, drinking a glass of wine while listening to your favourite music, a walk in nature or even just in your neighbourhood…
If you have more ideas, please share in the comments below!
2. Processor (Mind) is Overloaded
I’m busy reading a psychology book called “I’m ok, you’re ok” which deals a lot with our thought patterns about ourselves and others. (I’m quite a nerd yes, but bear with me – I promise I have a point!)
Dr Harris likens our minds to computer processors. When there’s too much for our minds to process (conflict in relationships, harsh self-criticism, bitterness, unforgiveness, overwhelm of emotions) then we LITERALLY CANNOT BE CREATIVE. It is impossible, because there’s no processing power left at all.
In fact, we can actually only be efficiently creative and inspired when there’s nothing negative and overwhelming for our minds to process.
You may have noticed that I’ve been totally absent on my Instagram Account the last 2 weeks. It was not intentional at all. I just had some conflict going on with a friend.
This conflict was occupying my mind 24/7! Constant analysis – back and forth on repeat. As soon as it was sorted out, I had the ability to start experimenting with my baking again and resuming my writing and posts 🙂
- Sort things out with your loved ones. Forgive.
- Have grace for yourself in every area of your life – let your thoughts about yourself be kind.
- Journal, take a walk, talk to a friend or do whatever you need to do to PROCESS your emotions and not ignore them.
- Our emotions don’t magically disappear, we need to deal with them in order to free up our minds’ processors for creative productivity.
3. Go Eat your Favourite Dessert
Weird little fact… I hardly ever eat anything I bake. Sure, I taste the cake scraps (which is not much since I figured out how to bake perfectly level, flat, cake layers), or a bit of left over ultimate frosting. But I sell all my goods in batches so there are never extras.
And on top of that, things just taste better when someone ELSE makes them for you, am I right? 😉
When I’m in DESPERATE need of inspiration (because I'm super frugal and don't like spending money when I can make something myself), it does wonders to go and eat one of my favourite desserts that remind me why I’m baking in the first place…
For people to experience the euphoria of sensational FLAVOUR & QUALITY.
In general I’m more into simple bakes, done exceptionally well. Unless it’s a cinnamon doughnut… I’ll eat it ANY way I can get it. (Fresh and warm is obviously best, but fortunately I’m obsessed with them so even yesterday’s cold cinnamon doughnuts will still make me happy. I’m cheap like that and it’s fine by me!)
So my go-to favourites in Cape Town are Pasteis de Nata by Hoghouse Brewing Company (totally mentioning it first for a reason!!), Flourless Chocolate Cake by Fork Tapas & Pincho’s Bar, a fresh croissant by Woodstock Bakery or Rosetta Coffee Ice Cream by The Creamery.
Every once in a while we need to spoil ourselves with an amazing treat that makes us SMILE involuntarily. It tends to spark our inspiration back into flame!
4. Watch Unique Sweets
I’ve mentioned Unique Sweets a hundred times before and I’ll mention it another hundred times! You seriously cannot be an Artisan Baker without watching this show at least every 2 weeks.
There are few things that make me as excited about baking as Unique Sweets does.
Every episode inspires me so much! There are always such unique eateries on the show with the most amazing passion, ideas and creativity. I always keep my notebook handy when I’m watching an episode because I know that I’ll be inspired with at least 10 new ideas – without a doubt!
Of course it’s also inspirational to watch bakers that are inspired themselves. It’s so contagious!
5. Go Buy Amazing Seasonal Ingredients
We all have our best-selling bakes. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but baking the same things over and over and over again can definitely throw a wet towel on our inspiration.
I bake for 3 local coffee shops every week, so I play brownie-brownie quite a lot in my kitchen. Needless to say, it does become a bit monotonous at times.
The best antidote for this inspiration sucker is to go out and buy amazing, fresh, seasonal ingredients. Go to the grocery store; take a good look at all the seasonal fresh produce. Pick one type of vegetable/fruit and commit to baking something with it.
An even better idea is to go to a local farmer’s market (WAY more inspirational than a grocery store!) and chat with the vendor. They are SO passionate about their fresh produce! By the end of the conversation you’ll be excited off your rocker to bake something with the fresh blackberries you just purchased.
New, fresh ingredients bring back the wonder of baking in moments.
6. Stop & Smell the Cookies
This is a tip I try to apply every single day – even when I’m not lacking inspiration.
It’s quite shocking how many days you can just carry on, on auto-pilot, without appreciating the incredible BEAUTY of BAKING. And when that happens, our joy and inspiration quickly flies out the window.
Fellow Home Bakers, let us never forget how profoundly blessed we are to be ABLE to bake.
Let’s not take it for granted; whether we bake full time, part time or just as a hobby. We are BLESSED to be able to enjoy the wonder of baking.
Whenever I forget this and start complaining about the long list of things I have to bake on a particular day, I try to intentionally focus on the beauty of baking.
Like that moment you pour the thick, gloopy, shiny brownie batter into the pan. Or the moment that chocolate ganache comes together and you realize that there isn’t anything else this luscious on earth!! Another favourite is the sound that baked goods make when they come out the oven.
And the aromas we get to inhale… All day… Come on… WE ARE SO BLESSED!!
Name another job that satisfies all of our 5 senses on a daily basis? We get satisfied on every level: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
Whenever I turn into a spoiled, ungrateful brat in my head, I just remind myself of these facts and focus on them throughout the day. It does not take long at all for the inspiration to return when I start paying attention and being grateful.
Those are my 6 favourite tips for restoring my Baking Inspiration 🙂 Let me know in a comment if you have a favourite tip or any other tips that have helped to restore your baking inspiration!