Oct 072014
 

PaulaPanichA guest post by Paula Panich

Fueled by frustration and a manuscript of unpublished culinary essays with recipes, I spent two years writing letters to agents.

Silence.

Only one wrote back with regrets: She hadn’t heard of M.F.K. Fisher.

Fit to be tied, I swore I’d never write again. Then I thought: The literary magazines! Why not make a game of getting published?

Hundreds of small magazines buzz under our radar. These publications—some print, some online, are known as literary magazines and journals. They’ve been quietly present since Continue reading »

Share Button
Sep 302014
 
John Kessler 1

John Kessler explains how he gets repeat assignments.

Freelance writers like John Kessler are rare — the kind of writer editors can count on, who  can tackle just about any story and come through at the last minute.

John is the full-time dining columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On the side, he freelances for Garden & Gun, Food Arts (recently deceased), GQ, and has written for Cooking Light and Every Day with Rachael Ray.

What does it take to be the writer editors call upon? Kessler has ideas:

Q. Do you pitch new publications or do editors come to you?

A. My best work always comes from magazines where I’ve Continue reading »

Share Button
Jul 292014
 
Stressed.Writer

Do you keep up with your writing projects? Do you hand in your work on time? And how much drama do you like in your life?

Are you a drama queen? I was. I realized years ago that I liked excitement, and I created too much of it, especially when I procrastinated and then went crazy as deadlines loomed. Does this sound familiar?

You can learn good work habits, but doing so means giving up the adrenaline rush. Instead, you become a planner. It might sound boring, but these techniques have helped me avoid all-nighters.

1. Take Small Steps

Years ago I was driving to an appointment with my boss when I confessed, tearfully, that I felt overwhelmed by my workload. He gave me advice that was just right at the time: “Break it down into small steps. Otherwise you’re too overwhelmed to move forward. Just put one foot in front of the other and accomplish small things every day.”

It was good advice then, even though it sounded obvious. I needed a reminder. Continue reading »

Share Button
Jul 222014
 

WriterWhile listening to a radio interview in the car about music and creativity, I heard something that resonated for me as a writer and coach.

The interviewee, neuroscientist Indre Viskontas, was talking about music, but she was really discussing creativity, and what makes great artists.

Success as an artist, she said, came down to three things:

1. Obsessiveness

2. Imperviousness to feedback

3. Uninhibited.

I found this list surprising, and wanted to think about each one of these traits. Since writers are artists, we can apply this Continue reading »

Share Button
Jun 102014
 
Diane-Quagliani

Dietician Diane Quagliani started out as a freelance food writer but eventually turned to the corporate side.

At an Oldways conference where I spoke recently, I met a dietician who is also an accomplished corporate food writer, Diane Quagliani. I wondered how her writing work is different from general food writing, and what advantages her degree gives her.

Diane, a registered dietician, has worked for many large food companies including Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Campbell’s Soup, Nestle, General Mills, and many public relations firms. She has also been a freelance writer and media spokesperson. She specializes in nutrition communications for a consumer and health professional audience.

Here’s what she had to say about how her degree as a dietician helps her with corporate work:

Q. What are your degrees?

A. I have three: a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and an MBA. To become a registered dietician, I had Continue reading »

Share Button
May 062014
 

James-Beard-Medallion-300x255What I like about The James Beard awards, called “the Oscars of food writing,” is that I can find most of the journalism award-winning pieces online.

I want to soak up their brilliance. I also know I will be a little envious. That’s okay. Reading them gives me ideas for my own writing.

These essays will make you laugh, amaze you, make you nod in recognition, make you outraged — all emotions generated by skilled writers (and their editors). They are worth my time, and yours.

Just so you know, judges can only judge the entries. We don’t go out and look for work that might win. So if you don’t enter, you can’t win. (I am a book judge and a Continue reading »

Share Button
Feb 112014
 
It's-Complicated

Think editing is complicated? It doesn’t have to be. But it’s critical to becoming a better writer.

Writing is rewriting, as the saying goes. And while it’s true, do you know what to look for when you read your first draft, or how to improve it?

Here’s what I look for when I edit both my own posts and the work of others:

1. Keep your focus. Do you start by moaning about a cold, move to the merits of a new smoothie you made for breakfast, and end with a recipe for chocolate cake? Stick to a Continue reading »

Share Button