Have you ever dreamed of being a food or travel writer? One of the things I love love love about the internet is that it has allowed for anyone to get published.
I took Don Genova’s Travel Writing class at UBC last year, and it was great. But one thing I learned from that experience is that getting work as a paid freelance writer is, in and of itself, a full time job. You need to constantly be coming up with ideas for new articles, and then pitching them to editors. Most of your pitches will not be accepted, and you won’t be able to write those stories.
With blogging, however, you get to be the boss. You are the editor! Nepotism rules!
The challenge, of course, with starting and running your own food or travel (or food and travel) blog, is that no one is going to pay you. You will most likely work for and exchange of services–like free hotel stays and free meals. If, however, you build up enough traffic, and your reputation as a writer soars, you can monetize your blog down the road.
But we’re getting a big ahead of ourselves. Let’s say you just simply have a passion for food or travel, and you’ve always thought “gee, I wonder if I should start a blog?” I’m here to say go for it!
Here are 5 tips for food and travel bloggers:
1. Choose a niche. There are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of blogs out there on food and travel. What’s going to make yours different? How will it stand out of the crowd? For further info, read this blog post that recently appeared on Dianne Jacob’s blog: A Food Blog About Everything Can Be A Trap.
2. Always be learning: I know it sounds kind of crazy, but to be a food or travel blogger, you need to have many skills: you need to be organized, you need to be a good interviewer, you need to be a good photographer, and you need to understand graphic design and what makes a pleasing image. Oh, and writing. You need to be a good writer. One thing I am constantly trying to do is to learn new ways to make my blog look prettier (with photography or graphics), and to market it better. This is a process that never ends, because there’s always some way to improve your blog.
3. Seek out new experiences: take a cooking class. Get a job in a restaurant. Explore markets in the ethnic part of your city. Ask your elders questions. Eat a different restaurant every time you go out. Host pot lucks. Learn, learn, learn. Let your curiosity guide you.
4. Write from your senses: while you are out experiencing new things, use your senses to guide you. What was it like to go into the Indian Grocery Store? What smells assaulted you? What did the lentils feel like in the bulk bin when you ran your hands through them? What were the colours of the rainbow carrots like? How did the tamarind taste? This is what draws people into your writing, and this is where the story is.
5. Read. Take books out of the library by travel and food writers. Subscribe to blogs. You will be endlessly inspired by these. They will help you to become a better writer, but they will also inspire content for your blog.
If you are interested in starting your own food or travel blog, Don Genova and are teaming up to put on a 4-day workshop at the beautiful Hollyhock Retreat on Cortez Island. I can’t wait!
It’s called The Fork and the Road: Eat! Travel! Blog! and it’s happening August 19-23, 2015.
Here’s the blurb:
Share your food and travel experiences with friends, family and the world. Whether you’re shopping the Rialto Market in Venice, exploring the mosques of Istanbul, or putting the finishing touches on a dish from your own kitchen, this program shows you how to create and focus your blog on the WordPress platform while building your writing and photography skills. Spend time in the classroom, plus, explore Cortes Island and cook in the Hollyhock kitchen for juicy source material for your blog.
Does that not sound amazing? I’m going to be doing a bunch of the technical stuff, helping you to set up your own WordPress blog, and get it looking professional. Don will share his huge wealth of knowledge as a food and travel writer. Plus–Cortez! It’s so beautiful there–they have their own gardens, we’ll cook, we’ll take photos and blog about it… it’s going to be (dare I say) epic.
Hope you can join us! This really is a one-of-a-kind experience, and it is going to rock!