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 »

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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 »

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Feb 042014
 
Molly-Wisenberg by Kyle Johnson

Food blogger Molly Wizenberg, whose writing career expanded to include two memoirs. (Photo by Kyle Johnson)

At Food Blog South recently in Birmingham, food blogger Molly Wizenberg shared her story of leaving graduate school and jumping into the unknown with her blog, Orangette. She spoke about taking risks, setting high standards, the importance of showing up, and how blogs are a powerful tool for writing.

Here’s an excerpt from her talk, which Molly graciously allowed me to share with you. It’s an inspiring piece about one young woman’s determination to stick with blogging, no matter what life events come along. If you’re feeling conflicted about blogging, or even writing on a regular basis, pull up a chair:

“I […] started Orangette in 2004.  I have to tell you, I was so giddy to have a place to write for myself, not for professors; to have a place to let myself fall down the rabbit hole of food; to have given myself permission to go after something that made me so happy.  I think you probably all know that feeling.  There’s nothing that can beat that feeling.

I didn’t know then what I wanted to do with my blog, other than gush about Continue reading »

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Jan 212014
 

Kicking-In-the-Wall“When you hit a wall, kick it in.”

That’s the advice playwright Sam Shepard gave to musician Patti Smith early in her career. She had said to him, “I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations” and that was his response.

Sound familiar? This line from Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, inspired author Barbara Abercrombie to write Kicking in the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals.

Inside are 365 five-minute writing exercises, a great way to jumpstart your writing for the new year. Dip in and pick Continue reading »

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Jan 072014
 

Boxing glovesThis month, everyone’s thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Let’s try something less traditional than dieting and juice fasts. Let’s try challenging negative self-talk as writers and communicators.

I’ll start. I have beliefs that hold me back. I bet you have them too. I say these things subconsciously, and I believe them far more often than I should. I fear if I hear them often enough, they will become true. That’s a good motivator to do something about it.

The trick is to hear what the inner critic says and then reframe the self-talk to become more positive and accepting. That’s my Continue reading »

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Dec 312013
 
Teaching in Dubai in October 2013, thanks to Food Blogger Connect.

That’s me, lucky enough to teach a food writing workshop in Dubai this past year, thanks to Bethany Kehdy and Food Blogger Connect. From there, I vacationed in Jordan and Israel. (Photo by Owen Rubin.)

At the end of 2013 — my fourth year as a blogger — I’m taking time to say how grateful I am to have you as a reader. Whether you’re a frequent commenter or you’ve never left a note, I’m thankful you’re here. 

To be honest, sometimes I’m surprised that anyone wants to read, considering how much Continue reading »

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Dec 242013
 
Carolynn-Carreno

Freelance writer and cookbook collaborator Carolynn Carreño, with her beloved dog Rufus. Do you notice that, like her advice, this photograph tells a story that is uniquely hers?

A brainy freelance writer, high-end cookbook collaborator,  and three-time James Beard journalism award nominee, Carolynn Carreño blogs  atCarolynn Carreno.wordpress.com and the Huffington Post. I tracked her down for this frank and wide-ranging interview about food writing and her own path to success: 

Q. You come across in your bio and writing as a totally food obsessed person.  Did your  writing come from that obsession?

A. Definitely. I had no intention of being a food writer. I started before blogs, and being a food writer was for stuffy old men who worked for Gourmet. I couldn’t relate to a lot of food writing because I thought it was for people who travelled and stayed at fancy hotels.

I was writing mostly for Seventeen magazine, lots of personal essays. Food started to make its way into my stories, through my family. Then I pitched a story about my dad, who had a restaurant, to Colman Andrews at Saveur. He got back to me 13 months later.  He said he was interested in Continue reading »

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