Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Plans for the New Year and Is it Lust or Love?

Do you have a lot of "intellectual curiosity?" I know I do.

So I get pulled this way and that.

This would be interesting to write about. No, this. No, do both.

I feel like I need to focus in and try to keep focused on one project or area until it is really on track, then I can get other ideas and concepts going.

To do this and to stick to it, I think you need passion for the topic.

But passion for a topic is somewhat like the lust you feel for someone you've just started dating. You really, really like him (or her), but is it lust, infatuation or will it turn into true love? Only time will tell.

And that's my problem. I am resistant to spending time researching, cogitating and thinking only to realize I need to start over, move on and pick myself up and start all over again. Maybe it is my journalism training where you get an assignment, do it, print it and move on to the next one.

Anyway, this is just a long way around saying I had a spark. Will it be an happily ever romance or a one night stand? Don't know, but stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Published!

There was a surprise by my doorstep yesterday -- my very own copy of Greenwood Press' spanking new reference book The Business of Food.

I was one of many contributors to this encyclopedia to the food and drink industries. I wrote entries on pickles, Tabasco sauce, diners, cooking schools, Frieda's Produce, Trader Joe's, cafeterias, diet foods and the business of food on the web. The choice of topics was based on what was still available when I joined the project and my own rather wide range of interest. In all I estimate I wrote about 10,000 -- 12,000 words. (Actually, I probably wrote more than that. All the first drafts of all the entries were longer than their allotted word counts and had to be edited down, sometimes drastically.)

It was a great experience starting with the research, which I truly enjoyed; walking around with the different themes, organizational approaches and the like percolating in my head, coming to clarity to what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it to this particular audience, and then finally the writing, which was an involving and rewarding process.

One very pleasant surprise to me was the author of the foreword -- Marion Nestle, the author of Food Politics and What to Eat. (She is also a professor at my alma mater, New York University.)

My thanks to the publisher and to the book's editors, Gary Allen and Ken Albala, for including me in the project. Gary is a professor at State University College of New York, Empire State College. He is also the author the Resource Guide for Food Writers, among other books. Ken is a professor in food history at the University of Pacific. He has written and edited many books. His newest is Beans: A History.
Photo Credit: Greenwood Press

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Real Gig

Well, they always say do what you love ... I love to write. Taking photos is nice, too, but even when I am being visual I have some sort of narrative.

So anyway, one day a comment shows up on my blog to get in touch with an editor and I do and she really likes how I write and could I please take on this assignment, even though it had a very quick turnaround time. I could and I did and now I am nervously awaiting feedback from a real magazine editor. When I can provide more details I will, but I am just so jazzed.

I've been keeping the writing chops busy with my food blog, some of the Well Fed sites and some "volunteer" food writing for my congregational newsletter. It's hard to make time with my day job and family to really do freelance writing so I am so grateful for my lucky break.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Contacts Lead to Contract

Well I was up for a gig I didn't get (not enough credentials), but I kept in touch and ended up getting a contract for a much smaller job. That's okay, even though my hourly rate ends up being about a $1 by the time you factor in the research, writing and editing. It is the proverbial "foot in the door" and it means I'm a paid food writer.