Aug 052014
 

It’s the dog days of summer, time for lounging by the pool with a novel, reading on a blanket near your cabin, or hanging in your hammock with a book.

The point is to be outside. My favorite place to read food writing is my sun deck’s lounge chair, perhaps followed by a nap. There’s something luxurious about dreaming on a summer day.

So what’s good to read right now? I’m not talking about summer cookbooks. There are lots of lists of those. Instead, here’s a mix of novels, memoir and non-fiction narratives, some old and new, that are worth your time when you’re prone in the sun or sitting in dappled shade:
Last-Chinese-Chef

1. The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones. It’s been out since 2007, but I resisted reading this book for years, even though friends kept telling me about it.

I finally read this novel and couldn’t put it down. It’s a love story about a food writer who goes to Beijing for a magazine assignment and meets a chef. I also learned about the Chinese culinary arts and ancient food culture and enjoyed every minute. The author was a freelancer for Gourmet magazine who travelled to China frequently, and she’s a powerful storyteller. Continue reading »

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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 »

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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 »

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Jul 152014
 
Pies

Summer pies from my local farmer’s market in Oakland, CA.

Want to keep up with best practices for writing a food blog or cookbook,  freelancing, or working with companies? Need a link to something fun once in a while? Of course you do.

That’s why you need these links, taken from my quarterly newsletter filled with resources for food writers and bloggers. If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? Here’s what you missed in my last one, sent at the end of June:

  1. Do you have a media kit so companies can contact you? If not, you might consider making one. Big companies expect it.
  2. I’m working with a cookbook editor right now, and these tips are good reminders. Top 10 Ways to Make Your Editor Love You.
  3. Do you aspire to give a TED talk? Even if you Continue reading »
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Jul 012014
 
Confident-Businessman

Are you as confident as this guy? According to most surveys, probably not.

Well duh. Of course we do. Since it’s mostly women who read my blog, I feel we can talk amongst ourselves. So just between us, when I read this article about our lack of confidence, I felt a blush of familiarity.

“The Confidence Gap” posits that there’s another reason why women are not breaking the glass ceiling, besides the tug of motherhood and entrenched sexism. It’s our confidence level.

That’s so us.

As a speaker, teacher and coach, I see this “confidence gap” with women clients, female students, and at conference sessions full of Continue reading »

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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 »

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May 272014
 

Frusted-BloggerA well-known food blogger loves to forward outrageous requests from food companies to me. I’ve kept them them in a file, until now, when I got her permission to share them.

As you know from the countless emails you delete, food companies want product coverage from bloggers. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s just the way  Continue reading »

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