January 14, 2011

Creative Process Interview with Megan Gordon

To start off this creative interview series please welcome writer and baker Megan Gordon. I love the way she seems to effortlessly combine her thoughts on life and food in her blog, A Sweet Spoonful. If you haven't seen her blog, you should definitely check out the beautifully written snapshots of her life, gorgeous photos and, of course, mouth watering recipes. Even though I only know Megan through her blog, I feel much sympathetic joy for her new baking endeavor, Marge. I am always inspired by people who follow their dreams and make them happen and I'm thrilled that Megan was able to share her thoughts on her creative process with us.

First, can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?
Well, I’ve always been a writer. Even from a pretty young age I kept a journal and would write mundane lists of what I did throughout the day. Then in high school and college, I started to cultivate that into writing short stories and poetry. I decided to go into teaching so I could hang out with kids and get them excited about reading and writing— I soon learned that so much of teaching is about management and discipline and that really wasn’t my thing. So I started freelance writing and baking: one really challenged me to research, network, and push myself while the other was purely calming and really nourishes me in a way that nothing else does. And now—that’s where I am. I write for other folks and I write for myself on my blog, A Sweet Spoonful. There I take photographs, too, which I love and they allow me to really create a sense of place and a story. And then I bake, and just started my own baking business, Marge!

What stalls or inhibits your creative process?
Honestly having others around. I really need to be alone. I hate having people watch or try and help out in the kitchen. While I want to be, I’m not one of those happy-go-lucky, let’s-all-cook-together kind of gals. I need my space. I need to make a little bit of a mess and do everything in my own
time. The same with writing and especially with photography. I absolutely have to be
alone. One little distraction kind of ruins the headspace that I eventually have to achieve.

What or who helps to support your creative work?
Supportive friends and family. Don’t know what I’d do without someone to lean on or folks that are so genuinely happy with each accomplishment along the way. On a smaller note, exercise and getting off my booty is huge. When you work from home it’s so easy to just sink into your desk chair, but I find a quick walk around the block with the dog or forcing myself to go to yoga makes all the difference in the world. You gotta move. Last, really good food that makes me smile. And tea. And my dogs. Simple things that keep you going throughout the day.

Can you tell me about a project or something you have made that you really love or find really exciting? Well, I’m going to go with my blog here. I started A Sweet Spoonful without giving much thought to it at all—just kind of bored on a rainy night and always knew I liked to write about food. I was thinking it’d be more restaurant-focused, almost like reviews and discussions on eating out in the Bay Area. I could’ve never guessed what it’s turned in to: a place for me to be honest and manage to weave personal narrative in with food writing and photography in a way I find really meaningful and exciting. Also an amazing and unexpected way for me to meet other local bloggers and develop very
real friendships with many of them. Every time I hit “publish” for a blog post, I know I’ve created a little slice of something special. And I love that.

Tell me a little bit about your creative process – where do ideas come from? When do you usually do your work? How does the process compare to the final product (if there is one)? 
Good question! Inspiration comes from so many different places: a quote, a movie, and experience I have, an overheard conversation at the gym. And then I have an ongoing list of recipes I’m dying to try and I can’t quite explain how I weave those two things together. I guess an example for a post I’m working on right now: I have a great quote I just stumbled across in my reading about ways to feel
really grounded. And I’ve been wanting to make this rich soup with root vegetables for quite some time now. Those two pieces will fit together nicely thematically—that will be a post. As far as the photography, I have a lot of props: tea towels, plates, vintage silverware and I actually lay things out on a table while I’m cooking and give quite a bit of thought to which pieces will best tell the story of the dish. Sounds a little cheesy, but it’s important. If we were all just snapping a quick photo of the soup in the pot, it wouldn’t be all that compelling, would it? That being said, I don’t like to over-style my shots—I do like to capture food in a realistic way…not too far off from how I’m actually sitting down and enjoying it.

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for people who want to create more or people who are trying to earn a living from creating? 
Oh man. I guess I’d say ‘What do you have to lose?” My advice honestly is not to think too far into the future about it. Finances are obviously a very real concern and I know that tends to hold people back from really creating their own art and perusing what they really want to do. But people are so creative in finding extra time and ways to still make that happen. But don’t think ahead one year and try to figure out the logistics of it all. If you do that, you may never go for it because oftentimes your art/passion defies logic. For the baking business I’ve just started, I’m honestly just going week by week and trying not to figure out where I’ll need to live to make the driving back and forth work, how I’ll charge people’s credit cards, if I should do a vegan pie, if, if, how, how. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all you can do, really.


  1. What a wonderful interview. It's great to learn more about Megan and her creative process. I love her blog too...only wish I was closer to try her baked goods! This is really a great series and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more!

  2. What a thrill to be included in this wonderful series! Thank you,, Anna!

  3. Very cool, Anna! Each of the posts will be an inspiration to do something a little more. Writing/cooking/sewing perhaps?

  4. Thanks Megan, for sharing your insights here!

  5. Great interview! This is the first I'm meeting Megan and really enjoyed her answers. Love the last answer! What do you have to lose? Good question to ask yourself whenever fear creeps in.