Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Don’t self reject. In season 1, episode 4, one of the contestants flubbed his dessert. He was so angry at himself that he threw everything in the garbage or rather the “bin.” So he had nothing to show for himself during the judging—except a garbage can.
Lesson learned: I’ve had a couple times where I’ve felt like giving up on a manuscript or writing because of harsh criticism I’ve received. Thankfully, I snapped out of it. There are other ways to reject yourself too—like not sending your work out at all or not sending it to certain agents or editors because you're certain they wouldn't like your work. All of this is throwing your work away before someone even has a chance to
|The Baked Alaska before it went in the bin. (BBC photo)|
2. Don’t broadcast your mistakes to the judges (or other writers, agents, or editors). In season 2, there was a baker who constantly put herself down. At one point, the judges told her to quit telling them what was wrong with her baking before they took a bite! Despite that, this girl made it to the final three—so obviously she had a skewed view of her talents.
Lesson learned: It’s easy to put your work down when you’re handing it off to beta readers, critique partners, editors or agents. In Confidence, I talked about how I struggle with this myself. But if you put your work down (or elaborate on all your mistakes before someone reads your book), you prejudice your readers against your work. Don’t do it. Be quietly confident—confidence is not the same bragging.
|Mary and Paul judging the dreaded technical challenge (BBC photo)|
3. Good bakers (and writers) have style AND substance. In the second season and third season, two bakers kept getting criticized for bakes that were beautiful on the outside (fancy piping and cute themes), but tasted horrible. This is not what you want to do!
Lesson learned: It’s not just words or lovely phrases that make a book, it’s the story your book tells that makes it compelling. Purple prose and lovely metaphors will not mask plot holes. I’ve been so guilty of this at times—because I struggle with plotting, but love a good turn of phrase.
Have you made any of these mistakes? Do you watch the British Baking Show?