I love food and I love to write, but at times I find the latter can be a little disheartening. In today’s world of web analytics and social media, it’s easy to judge your own skill on how others perceive it. ‘Likes’ on an Instagram photo, RTs on Twitter and shares on Facebook present us all with an immediate gauge of success.
With such a cacophony of opinion and news sources, it is increasingly difficult for new writers to make a name for themselves. To get paid for what you write is another game entirely. So what advice do industry experts have for those at the bottom of the ladder?
“Try to get your work published”
In principle, this is a fairly simple idea. Unfortunately in some cases it is a longer, more expensive process than you might think. There are, however, a number of books that provide an in-depth guide to formulating, pitching and selling your ideas. My three favourites are written by Catherine Quinn, Andrew Crofts and Peter Bowerman.
“Try not to be too clever and write for an audience and not for your ego.”
Treat yourself as a business, and as such adopt a ‘house style’ that you abide by when you write. Structure every sentence with an audience in mind, and develop ideas to suit their interests and hobbies. Finally, do not fixate your efforts on one idea or angle. It is often the case that extensive research can change the direction of a story or feature.
“Start a food blog, but remember; food blogs tend to be adventures in the land of food that are all about the author, but actually the most interesting blogs are something that has provided a solution to something. Just because it’s an adventure to you, there are a whole world of experienced cooks out there that have done it before you and won’t be that excited by it.”
Blogs like Deliciously Ella and The Skint Foodie are a perfect example of stories being told through recipes and prose in a new and exciting way. Consider what you’re writing. Is it new or has it been done before? What is your USP and why?
If you’re blogger trying to make your mark, or a writer wishing to offer some advice, please get in touch via Twitter.
(NB this is a basic guide for beginners to food writing based on information I have gathered from third parties.)