Cathy Erway on Testing New Ideas and Committing to Projects

In Chapter 6 of 16 in her 2012 interview, author and food writer Cathy Erway answers "How Do You Balance Experimentation and Commitment in the Projects You Pursue?"  Erway notes how she will try anything once, using a pop-up supper club as an example.  Over time, she learns to whittle down her pursuits around her core competencies or strengths. 

Cathy Erway is an author and food writer living in Brooklyn.  Her first book, "The Art of Eating In" developed from her blog "Not Eating Out in New York".  She earned a BA in creative writing from Emerson College.


Erik Michielsen:  How do you balance experimentation and commitment in the projects you pursue?

Cathy Erway:  I should probably be better at that. But experimentation, I--that's something I can't live without. So I definitely experiment and I try at least once--anything, anything you throw at me, I will try it. So like this new supper club or pop-up at Milk Bar, sure I will give it a try. Or this recipe idea in my head that doesn't yet exist, I'll give that a try. You know, commitment means you found that it's a great recipe and you wanna keep making it, maybe you wanna hone it, and, you know, so it comes to whittling down all these things that you try, so I think it can't hurt to keep trying as many things as possible.

Erik Michielsen: And when is it time to narrow that focus because you can only afford so many things on the table at the same time?

Cathy Erway:  Probably now. It's wise to whittle things down to what you're the best at, so--what you're core competencies are. So, "Should I give up this blog? Or should I give up this documentary film series that I co-host? " Well, you know, this is more in line with my career, so, the writing, that is, the blog. So maybe that's something I should keep.

Erik Michielsen:  Those choices can be hard, huh?

Cathy Erway:  Yeah, they can be hard, and you always think, like, "Maybe I can do everything." Well, you can try that, too and see how it goes, but probably not as often as you’d like.