An Egg-Poaching Pep Talk That is Definitely Not a Metaphor for a Writer’s Career

Every time I sit down to write or make something, I have a brief panic attack where I think, OH NO, I USED UP ALL THE IDEAS LAST TIME, IT’S OVER. I’M DONE. I CAN’T DO IT. One morning, while I was trying to poach an egg — which I had just done the weekend before effortlessly — that same feeling bubbled up in my brain. Thus, this pep talk was born. It’s for anyone who has ever worried they can’t make lightning strike twice, everyone who doubts themselves, writers, artists, and makers of poached eggs. It runs today on Brevity:

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

MLP_0096 (1).jpgBy Mary Laura Philpott

You will poach this egg.

OK, yes — you’ve ruined eight eggs this morning already. But this is it. You can do it. You poached an egg last weekend. You weren’t even trying that hard — you just followed the instructions from the first Google result for “how to poach egg” and it worked. A perfectly shiny little white blob, like a newborn albino jellyfish or a still-wet cloud on a painting. It sat right on that English muffin, pretty as you please. It was so good, you ate it in three bites. You didn’t even photograph it because you figured, “Well if I did it once, I’ll do it again; I’ll take pictures next time.”

And now you’re having trouble repeating your poached glory, even though you’re swirling the water in circles. You’re adding the spoonful of vinegar. You’re keeping the water just below a boil…

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