Food Blogging 101: 10 Writing Tips for Beginning Food Writers

By Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Permalink 0
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Food Blogging 101: 10 Writing Tips for Beginning Food Writers

by Jonell Galloway

  1. Write every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes or to churn out 250 words, even if you have nothing to write about. Being a writer means you write, even when the inspiration is not there. A restaurant chef has to serve dinner to her guests even when she’s just had a fight with her banker. See yourself as a professional and you’re already on the way to becoming one.
  2. Write about things you know. If you don’t know about something, but you’re inspired by it, do your research first. Knowing doesn’t always mean intellectual knowledge. It can also be unique life experiences or things you’ve learned in the school of hard knocks. It can even be about how not to follow a recipe because you’ve learned from your own failures.
  3. Revise and revise, then revise some more. These days it’s easy to number your drafts 1, 2, and 3 or A, B, and C, so you can also recover whole paragraphs or chapters you’ve deleted if you decide you liked previous versions better. Drafts are not children you keep forever; you can play around with them like puzzles. They’re like Humpty Dumpty. You can tear them into little pieces and put them back together again. That’s part of the process. Never be afraid you’re destroying by revising. Think of it as perfecting a work of art.
  4. Cut words, then cut some more. Excess is your worst enemy. There should not be a single word or sentence that is not absolutely necessary to the message you want to get across. Again, consider your writing as you consider your family. Every word is a child and every paragraph a parent. Every element is necessary to the big picture and the message, just as every ingredient is necessary to the success of a great recipe.
  5. Practice great first lines that grab readers’ attention. There’s an art to it. When you read, take note of first lines that strike you. Writing is like theatre in that way. When the play is boring, you nod off to sleep. That’s the last thing you want your reader to do. A recipe by the name of Lemon Chicken isn’t half as appealing as Chicken filet au citron, even if it means the same thing.
  6. Writing is not just words. Writers have to paint a picture in their readers’ minds. As you observe the world, in your mind, start using words to paint pictures to tell your readers about later. Flour is often called white, but it comes in many colors: bleached white, off-white, yellowish, white with brown specks, etc.
  7. Don’t be a perfectionist. All first drafts are pretty bad and we have to accept that. We learn as we go, just like everything in life. Perfectionism can give you writer’s block. Accept your writing for what it is. Love and nurture it until it’s good. Care for it patiently, watering it like you do your flowers, until it grows tall and strong.
  8. Practice flow. Put your hands on the keyboard and let it rip. You can polish it later. Just write and don’t let your brain get in the way. We talk about free association. Practice free writing and write quickly. That can even mean making lists of ideas or words and putting them together later. Free writing touches more on your creative self than on your left brain. When you don’t have time to shop for food, you go to the fridge and think up a meal using what you have. Writing can be the same way. You can connect the dots later if your central idea is not yet clear.
  9. Develop a thick skin. Join a writing group and get feedback. Take writing classes and get more feedback. Be dedicated to your mission of becoming a food writer and use criticism as a tool to improve it and a way of understanding how readers will react. Take it gracefully and then think about it.If you develop recipes, share them with your friends and listen carefully to every comment they have. They are probably the kind of people who will be buying your books and reading your articles. Feedback isn’t always right either, but it makes you think about your craft. Your recipes don’t always turn out right, so don’t expect better from your writing.
  10. Read and read a lot; read good writing, not bad. Read the kind of things you’d like to write yourself. If you want to write a recipe book, read recipe books. If you want to write a food memoir, read every one you can get your hands on. Read books about writing. What you read affects your own writing. Never forget that. Reading feeds your imagination by letting you step into other writers’ minds and observe their skills. You learn to cook better when you follow the recipes of accomplished cooks. Writing is no different.

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Food Writing Competition

By Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Permalink 0
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Food Writing Contest

We are seeking food-related fiction and non-fiction entries for our First Annual Food Writing Competition. We want to highlight what can be vividly done in very few words. You have wanted to try your hand at the greatest possible concision, have you not? This is your chance to be rewarded for that. Winners will be published on Mastering the Art of Food Writing, and qualify to compete for inclusion in the first annual Food Writers to Keep an Eye On 2015 eBook we plan to publish in 2016.

Entries should be a maximum of 500 words, and may treat any food-related subject. This covers the full spectrum of food and travel writing: memoirs; short stories; reviews; poems; travelogues; essays;  guidebooks entries; lifestyle; adventure; destination features; history; and, anthropology. Not sure that’s you? Write us to ask.

Submissions should convey a passion for food and a strong desire to summon up its wonders so as to transport others. It should solicit readers to ask deeper questions about themselves and the world. It should be well crafted, demonstrate animated descriptive skills, have a clear voice and solid structure, and be from a well-defined point of view.

Submissions should be print-ready, in MS Word file format, with clean formatting, by September 30, 2015.

Winners will receive:

  • 1st prize 1 hour of free writing instruction and publication on The Rambling Epicure
  • 2nd prize 1/2 hour of free writing instruction and publication on The Rambling Epicure
  • 3rd prize 1/2 hour of free writing instruction

We look forward to hearing from you. Be assured, if you are a first time writer, we are looking for you.

Please note: Professional writers with a traditional publishing background are not eligible for this competition.

 

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“The primary requisite for writing well about food,” mused the great AJ Liebling, “is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate… enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down. Each day brings only two opportunities for field work, and they are not to be wasted minimising the intake of cholesterol. They are indispensable, like a prizefighter’s hours upon the road.”–A.J. Liebling

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Writing Doctor

By Monday, May 11, 2015 Permalink 0
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Writing Doctor: This Pen is for Hire

Copyediting from A to Z

How’s your prose?

Whether through minute adjustments or major overhauls, getting your prose battle-ready is our mission. We help you build on strengths that enable you to meet the world in your most realized and competitive form.

But the first person you meet, as a writer, is yourself. And neglecting the interiority of your work is devastating to both voice and vision.

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Tradition deserves respects, but art demands sincerity,and cooking is, above all else, an art.–Marcella Hazan, “Gremolada,” The Classic Italian Cookbook

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Writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.–Anne Lamott

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Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.–Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of Craft

Continue Reading…

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Authorpreneurship

By Thursday, May 7, 2015 Permalink 0
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“The mystery is worth a book in itself. How could a hitherto unknown novel by Harper Lee, writer of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, remain hidden for 60 years, and why was it not published before? For all the swirling questions, there is one certainty. The book will become a blockbuster without Ms Lee so much as signing a copy. If only every author could be so lucky.

“Standing out as a book writer today requires more than a bright idea and limpid prose. Authors need to become businesspeople as well, thinking strategically about their brand, and marketing themselves and their products. There is more competition for readers’ and reviewers’ attention, and fewer bookshops to provide a showcase for new titles. In 2013 some 1.4m print books were published in America, over five times as many as a decade earlier. Publishers are increasingly focusing their efforts on a few titles they think will make a splash, neglecting less well-known authors and less popular themes.”

Read more

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WHY START A FOOD OR AUTHOR BLOG?

By Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Permalink 3
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BLOGGING 101: WHY START A FOOD OR AUTHOR BLOG?

by Jonell Galloway

This is the second article in a series about How to Start a Food or Author Blog

There are thousands of reasons to start a blog. For authors, they serve as a complement to their main activity of writing. For recipe developers, they can be a way of sharing their recipes and of forming a community with people, and eventually leading to a book or career change. A food blogger is merely someone with a food blog, no matter the motivation.

Making money should not be a main priority, as direct revenue is rarely a viable strategy given the millions of blogs and websites out there. We shouldn’t have any illusions about that. But blogs can lead to other activities that will make you money. Your blog also allows you to establish yourself in your field of expertise. You may get consulting work, offers to write for websites, or book deals. You may be asked to develop or test recipes, or get invited to talk at conferences or workshops about your specialty or about writing.

Blogging is a format to communicate your expertise, or your story (and often a blend of both). It can start from purely a hobbyist intention, or from a professional one.

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How to Start a Food Blog

By Friday, May 1, 2015 Permalink 2
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Blogging 101: How to Start a Food or an Author Blog

by Jonell Galloway

In today’s Internet world, all writers need an online presence in order to connect with other writers and build up a readership. Blogs are one way of doing this, but writers are often intimidated and overwhelmed by the technical skills required. I still am after all these years, but I’ve learned from my traumatic experiences, so stay calm. I’m going to walk you through some basics to familiarize you with the process, and you’ll walk away feeling more confident.

Blogging requires many skills other than writing. Publishers expect food writers, like other writers, to have a writing platform these days. That is the way of the world, whether we like it or not. In this series of articles, you will discover the power of blogging, and I’ll guide you through the process of starting your blog, step-by-step. We’ll then look at how to develop your content and manage the multitude of technical and scheduling aspects involved. We’ll cover the following steps:

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