Tag Archives: how to

How to become a chef and become a writer

After reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, I realized that becoming a chef is not at all what I imagined. It takes a ton of time and involves getting dirty. You have to start from the ground up. I saw some similarities to the process of becoming a writer, or really, any creative job. Anthony Bourdain gives 14 tips on how to become a chef.

Let’s find out how many of those tips are helpful to become a writer, or any other creative job.

1. Be fully committed.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. It’ll be beneficial to make up your mind that writing is what you want to do. If you really don’t want to be a writer, then how will you find time/ energy to read and write all day long, or right after your day job? You probably won’t make the time, or find the energy. You need to really want it.

“Don’t be a fence-sitter or a waffler. If you’re going to be a chef someday, be sure about it, single-minded in your determination to achieve victory at all costs.” -Anthony Bourdain

2. Learn Spanish!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Probably not. Unless, you want to be a Spanish writer or appeal to a Spanish speaking audience.

3. Don’t Steal.

Is this helpful to become a writer? If you interpret this as don’t plagiarize, then yes. It’s not exactly what Anthony Bourdain meant, but if you want to become a writer plagiarizing is a major offense that you want to stay far away from. With all the reading a writer is doing, it’s almost as tempting to plagiarize as it is for a chef to steal from their restaurant.

“In fact, don’t do anything that you couldn’t take a polygraph test over…If you’re a sneak and a liar, however, it will follow you forever. This is a small business; everybody knows everybody else. You will do yourself immeasurable harm.” -Anthony Bourdain

4. Always be on time.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If you have a writing job, then of course yes. If you have scheduled writing hours set aside daily, do yourself a favor and never skip them. How else do you expect to get better? This tip translates to almost any career.

5. Never make excuses or blame others.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes, of course. Writers have deadlines. If you don’t reach the deadline, then it’s your fault. Admit it and do better next time.

6. Never call in sick.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. Unless, you’re so sick that you can’t move. It is best to try and get your work done. Especially, if you are falling behind on a deadline.

“Except in cases of dismemberment, arterial bleeding, sucking chest wounds or the death of an immediate family member. Granny died? Bury her on your day off.” -Anthony Bourdain

7. Lazy, sloppy and slow are bad.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yeah! Turn in great work. Turn it in ready to be shipped. I’ve edited other writing before, and it sucks when it’s obvious they didn’t even try to correct some of their grammar errors and misspellings. Don’t be a lazy writer. You’ll quickly get labeled as the lazy writer/ person.

“Enterprising, crafty and hyperactive are good.” -Anthony Bourdain

8. Be prepared to witness every variety of human folly and injustice.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If a writer is making more money than you, and you think you’re better, don’t worry about it. You got to focus on your own target and goals. Don’t get distracted by comparing yourself to others. It’s not healthy nor is it helpful.

“Without it screwing up your head or poisoning your attitude. You will simply have to endure the contradictions and inequalities of this life. ‘Why does that brain-damaged, lazy-assed busboy take home more money than me, the goddamn sous-chef?’ should not be a question that drives you to tears of rage and frustration. It will just be like that sometimes. Accept it.” -Anthony Bourdain

9. Assume the worst. 

Is this helpful to become a writer? I don’t know. This one might be more chef specific since they have to interact with the same people everyday whether they like them or not. Usually, writers have a bit more flexibility throughout the day. This tip is meant for chefs who might not like one of their coworkers. Bourdain is advising to find their company entertaining, and amusing, regardless of how you feel about the person.

10. Try not to lie.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. This is good practice for any line of work. You don’t want people questioning what you say.

“Remember, this is the restaurant business. No matter how bad it is, everybody probably has heard worse. Forgot to place the produce order? Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever.” -Anthony Bourdain

11. Avoid restaurants where the owner’s name is over the door.

Is this helpful to become a writer? No. Unless, you’re writing for a restaurant?

“Avoid restaurants that smell bad. Avoid restaurants with names that will look funny or pathetic on your resume.” -Anthony Bourdain

12. Think about that resume!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. You should always keep your resume in mind, no matter what line of work you’re in. Your resume will get you your next job.

“How will it look to a chef weeding through a stack of faxes if you’ve never worked in one place longer than six months?” -Anthony Bourdain

13. Read!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yes! You have to read. 24/ 7. Bourdain recommends cookbooks and trade magazines to keep up with the industry trends. While, you don’t have to keep up with trends, you should always be reading the writing of great writers. It will help your writing. Have you ever heard of a musician who doesn’t listen to music?

14. Have a sense of humor about things.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. In writing and life, a sense of humor is required 🙂 .

“You’ll need it.” -Anthony Bourdain

How to become a writer

There is a process that needs to occur before you can call yourself a writer (an entry level writer, not a master genius writer). That process includes writing, writing and allowing time to elapse. Eventually, you will become a writer. The amount of time it takes depends on your work ethic, reading appetite and raw writing talent. It may take you 1 year or it may take you 5 years, before you can call yourself a writer of some sorts. After reading this you should know how to become a writer.

1) You want to start writing. You need to set up a journal, diary, website, word document or open office document where you can write everyday. Every single day. Write 500 to 1,000 words every day. Take Sunday off if you really want to. Write about anything that comes to mind including thoughts on world events and what you are currently reading. This step is the continuous step. This is your foundation. You don’t stop this one, even if you make it to step number two or beyond. Included in step one is reading. You need to read everyday. You need to expose yourself to what good/ great writing actually looks like. If you don’t like reading or ‘you don’t have time’, you can stop here and think of something else you want to become. Seriously, reading is important. Every time you read, you are learning from the best. After 3 to 6 months, move onto step number two.

2) Search the web for blogs/ sites looking for volunteer writers. Craigslist is a great place to start. Apply, apply and apply again. Keep applying everyday until you are volunteering to at least two blogs that are publishing your material. Ideally you want to be creating one or two articles per week that are getting published. When they ask for you to submit writing samples, you can submit some of your writing material from step one. Send them your best stuff that is relevant to their blog/ site. Do this for 3 months to 1 year in order to build up your writing skills. Step two is building you a portfolio of published material that will help get you into step three.

3) Once you feel like you got the hang of it, you can try your hand at freelance writing. You’ll have to start at low paying freelance writing and work your way up. Like you did in step two, look for freelance writing jobs that are within your scope of interest/ expertise. Use the published work that you have been building to show them that you know how to write effectively. This could take you a while to land. But keep trying while you simultaneously continue on steps one and two. Once you get a gig, do this for close to 6 months. At this point you can drop step two (once you get something semi reliable), if time is beginning to become an issue. Let them know kindly, while thanking them for their help.

4) Once you have a portfolio of paid freelance writing, you can begin to get higher paying gigs or land yourself a full time writing job. If your aim is to land a full time writing job, be prepared to be applying for months. It really depends on your skill level and interview skills. You basically have to wait until an employer decides to give you a shot. The good news is that while you wait to get accepted, you aren’t actually waiting, because you’re still repeating step one and three. Or  you may have decided to stick with step two as well! The more writing you are doing, the better.

5) If you succeed in step number four, it is safe to say that you can now consider yourself an entry level writer. Congrats! Keep in mind that you should still be practicing step one (reading and writing) if your goal is to reach higher levels of writing skill. At this point you can let go of step three if you want to. Now you know how to become a writer. If you are wondering where I got these ideas from, this is the path that I followed. It may work for you too.

7 questions every business must answer

Here are Peter Thiel‘s 7 questions every business must answer, from Zero to One. If you can answer all these questions properly then your business has a good chance of becoming successful. If you can’t answer all of them, you better rethink your strategy and business plan.

1) The Engineering Question: Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?

2) The Timing Question: Is now the right time to start your particular business?

3) The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a small market?

4) The People Question: Do you have the right team?

5) The Distribution Question: Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

6) The Durability Question: Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?

7) The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

How to make traffic go away

In most big cities traffic is caused by the presence of too many vehicles on the road. When that’s the case there isn’t much anyone can do. All we can do is promote carpooling and public transportation, along with walking or biking if applicable.

On the other hand sometimes the cause of traffic, specifically on freeways, is for ridiculous reasons. The craziest reason is when there is traffic on the freeway, due to people looking at an accident on the other side of the freeway! This one is really annoying, especially if you have somewhere to be and don’t have much time to be looking around, like most people on the freeway causing the traffic seem to have time to do. It’s pretty amazing how people decide to slow down to a halt, merely to look at the other side of the freeway. Let’s collectively agree to stop doing this.

The second common cause of traffic is when people slow down, because they want a closer/ detailed look at what someone is doing on the shoulder lane. The person on the shoulder lane can be replacing a spare, getting towed or simply broken down. Whatever the case may be, it should not be the business of everyone else traveling on the freeway. But of course everyone still decides to grind to a halt to take a closer look.

Once the traffic has been started there is little anyone can do. The problem is the people first on the scene who grind to a halt in order to take a look. Consequently causing a chain reaction of nosy people. If you’re one of these people who stop to take a closer look, do everyone a favor and stop doing that. Keep going. Don’t even tap your brakes. Look away. Everyone is urging you to look away. If you can’t look away, stop driving. Driving is a privilege not a right.