The Pioneer Cook and Her Intimate Voice

pdubLast Saturday I was a panelist on a BlogHer Food panel about voice and identity. Audience members were particularly interested in how personal they should be in their posts. It’s a good question, figuring out what to reveal, what only to imply, and what not to say.

Or at least that’s what I thought it was about. To process my thoughts, I looked at the writing of our panel’s biggest celebrity, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman Cooks. She has 13 million annual visitors, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While on our panel, Ree said she writes “like I’m talking to my sister or my best friend.” Now, I don’t know about you, but you can be pretty personal with those kinds of people. But I couldn’t find much intimate content at all when I examined her cooking blog. [Read more…]

The Thrill of BlogHer Food

P1100134 BlogHer Food in San Francisco was one long day of group hug. It started at the networking breakfast at 8 a.m. and ended at the after-party thrown by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes beginning at 8 p.m.

Here you can see just part  of the crowd, everyone talking at once in deafening volume, in the hallway in front of the bookseller.

Read about the party… I mean conference, on these early posts from Carrots ‘N Cake and Kath Eats Real Food. Well, girls just want to have fun. And we did.

Sponsors, who subsidized the cost of the event, prevailed between the sessions. Hunky Chef Rocco DiSpirito hawked Bertolli frozen meals over a grouimagesp lunch while they actually served us the frozen pasta as entrees. (Hello?!) Celebrity chef and Citizen Cake owner Elizabeth Faulkner demoed with Scharffen-Berger during a break, and booth people plied us with cans of chicken stock and spray Pillsbury frosting for a cupcake challenge. A classy cocktail party on the rooftop sponsored by Campbell’s Soup Co. capped off the official part of the day. I was so excited about seeing bloggers in person after reading their work online and Twittering and Facebooking with them, I almost didn’t mind.

And oh yeah, we went to sessions on such topics as the blogger’s voice (where I was a panelist), best practices, and new opportunities. More on what I learned later. First I need to lie down.

Did you go or write a post about the day? Have a comment? Let me know.

P.S. Updates: Transcripts of BlogHer Food 09 sessions are now online. More reports on the conference from Simply Recipes, Pioneer Woman, GlutenFree Girl, Tartelette, and Steamy Kitchen.

The Writer's Voice: What Is It?

imagesIn preparation for the panel I’m on at BlogHer Food 09 in San Francisco tomorrow, I thought I’d say a few words about voice.

Why is voice important? It’s because you have a personality that  comes through in  your writing. You might express your unique self through level of language, the length of your sentences, the way you approach a subject. You’ll know when it feels right when you read back your work. It will sound like you and feel comfortable. Without voice, your writing will be bland, and you won’t come through as an individual.

Can you describe your voice? It’s an elusive thing.  Ask a friend to describe it to you. Here are a few adjectives that might apply:

  • knowledgeable
  • friendly
  • honest
  • self-deprecating
  • companionable
  • poetic
  • confessional
  • obsessive
  • high-energy.

Think about voice as a philosophy about what you want to get across in your blog. Here are some examples:

  • If I can make this, you can make this
  • Girls just want to have fun
  • I’m going to get this right if I have to do it 100 times.

The best answer to creating a strong voice is just to keep writing, to let your voice develop and deepen over time. Take this advice from A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work, a book [Read more…]