STOCK YOUR LARDER . Writing Tips . re-blog of Susan Fish, .

Inspiring Writing Tips

Susan Fish

Dear Friends,

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is to spend a humid afternoon over a kettle of hot salty vinegar. Sadly I’m not even kidding. I get a lot of satisfaction in making jams, preserves, pickles (thus the hot brine!), spaghetti sauce, pesto and roasted tomatoes in the summer. I love seeing the shelves of my cold cellar fill up with what I call summer-in-a-jar. I appreciate knowing that in the dead of winter, I will have a delicious easy meal ready to serve straight from those shelves or from the freezer.

It’s called stocking the larder.

I first heard the term ‘stocking the larder’ in my one ill-fated year of teaching. The principal of the school was an extraordinarily gifted teacher and teacher of teachers. She spent time with the newbies, coaching us on how to teach and how to be a teacher. Watching her (and watching myself among the grade five students!) made me realize I didn’t actually want to be in a classroom, but I’ve taken many of her lessons to heart, including the importance of stocking your larder.

If I didn’t make pickles, I could actually go to the store for some, but some things are harder to purchase on demand. For a writer, stocking the larder means many things: it means nurturing your creativity, exploring the world, noting ideas that strike your imagination, and continuing to learn your craft.

I want to challenge you as a writer to invest in the stocking of your larder. Make a point of paying attention, being astonished and telling about it as poet Mary Oliver says, this summer. Soak the world in. Go to unexpected places and use all your senses. Read things that are outside your usual stack. Play with clay or flowers or paints or pickles to cross-pollinate. Actually spend time writing on a regular basis. And make sure you continue to learn your craft.


Susan offers wonderful writers workshops in Waterloo Ontario. Check her out at ‘’

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