The Importance of Garlic in Writing

Editor’s Note: Every few weeks I send a status update to the Today’s Author team so everyone knows what’s going on with the site but also to lend potential ideas for posts. For the last update, I was looking for a throwaway line about potential topics. I looked out at my garden and saw the garlic growing and added: Write about the importance of garlic in your writing to the list. I hope you enjoy Annie’s take on this as much as I did (and as much as I enjoy garlic)!


When the gauntlet was thrown down for contributors to write about the importance of garlic and writing, I was not one to shy away from the challenge. It may surprise you to know that there are a number of lessons to be learnt from garlic and integrating it along your writing journey is more important than one would initially believe.

Garlic keeps evil spirits away

Garlic contains strong antibacterial matter, certainly enough to ward off minor infections and has the common belief that its properties will protect the consumer (or wearer) from other evils, including vampires. A daily dose of writing or reading may have a similar effect. Being committed to writing every day strengthens the skill and inspiration a writer needs to follow their passion. By writing or reading every day, the black dog of depression can be avoided; even if for the short term.

Garlic keeps you healthy

With all of its antioxidant and healing qualities, garlic has long been the staple in the home remedies toolkit. So too, is writing. Ask any writer who has been forced to stop writing, or is unable to write when they have the urge. Their writing health begins to wither.

Garlic is sweetest when roasted

I would have to say that I work best under pressure. With deadlines looming, its when I pull out all stops to knuckle down to ensure the task ahead is completed.  Ask any university student when they are most productive and it will be within days of a major assignment being due. NANOWRIMO is a perfect example of writers being put under time pressure and pushing themselves to perform.  Most participants would be lucky to write 50,000 words in the next 11 months.  Just as garlic is sweetest when put under extreme heat, so are the words of a frenzied writer, desperate to complete the task.

Douglas Adams was reputed to have said “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” A writer clearly to be admired for his attitude towards one of the most stressful things a writer has to cope with.  An attitude I can only hope to cultivate.

Garlic is one of the most versatile ingredients in the pantry

As a skill, writing is arguably the most versatile thing a person can have in their toolbox in life. I’m not talking about the ability to write a sentence, but to craft words to reach an audience. This skill can be leant in a huge variety of workplaces and careers, from teaching, marketing, human resources to architecture. Communication, both written and verbal, remains the most valued attribute within any workplace. Lacking or poor communication is one of the main reasons clients will shift from one business to another. Good lines of communication have been sited as being one of the main reasons a customer will remain loyal, even if the product is of lower quality or more expensive than competitors. Most workplaces, from a meat-work plant through to a high-end corporate company, have a need for someone who can communicate across cultural and social lines. Most workplaces have a social club implemented with regular newsletters and communications distributed amongst employees. The gift of writing in this small, but important part of work is highly valued and has the opportunity to lead the writer into other opportunities.

Particularly as our society moves towards social media being the primary method of communication, a writer’s skill to capture meaning in a few words accurately is extremely important.

Garlic is Misunderstood.

Like garlic, writers are misunderstood. Both have reputations of being loners, of being a little exotic or off centre. With their versatile nature, both garlic and writers are keen to be invited to dinner parties and social functions. However once it is publicly known that it is in attendance, most people will avoid or be shy about interacting with it. A majority of hostesses will not mention a dish has garlic in it, nor that the person on the left is a writer, for fear of de-railing all conversations and the negative connotations both garlic and writing have surrounding it.

I’m certain there are a number of other lessons which can be learnt from understanding the importance of garlic when paralleled with writing. Do you have any insights you’d like to share?  Or are you more of a turnip style person?

Photo from previously unpublished private collection.

4 thoughts on “The Importance of Garlic in Writing

  1. OK, I’ll never look at garlic the same

  2. At your first line I was impressed with your ability to write so well an article on a topic I threw away as just plain silly when it was first suggested. I was prepared to tell you that I’m off to make an amulet for garlic to wear around my neck.
    But this line is genius: I’m not talking about the ability to write a sentence, but to craft words to reach an audience.
    You bring dignity to writing for any venue. Thank you for your insight and memorable thoughts. Now I’m off to buy lemons – they go well with garlic.

  3. I love garlic. I also love writing. You mentioned that garlic is sweetest when roasted, and it is; it’s also invaluable as an addition to a host of dishes it can be strong, delicate, sometimes burning hot and spicy. Yes, a huge connection. And who needs vampires anyway?

  4. Such a tasty article. One thing I’d call out is that sometimes we might write something that we think is meant to be a long novel (for example). Yet, when we find ourselves struggling to finish it up, we find that the chapters are too varied or disconnected. At times like these, it may help to think of the novel as a full garlic bulb, made up of several cloves which can be peeled away and used separately, or planted to sprout anew and produce a whole clove of its own.

    I love garlic.

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