Monday, January 31, 2011

The Kitchen Reader: Will Write for Food

This month's book, "Will Write for Food" by Dianne Jacob, was chosen by Sarah from Simply Cooked.

From Dianne Jacob's website

I guiltily admit that I wasn't sure I was going to find this month's selection to be all that interesting, even though I dutifully ordered the book from Amazon then procrastinated until the last week to read it. I'm pleased to report that I was pleasantly surprised by how informative this writing manual is.

First off, I'm impressed by how relevant Dianne Jacob made this current edition by interviewing so many top name food bloggers. It really speaks to the power of the blogging medium and their influence to be included in such an instructive book.

I also very much enjoyed learning about the backgrounds of some of the preeminent food writers. I had no idea Jeffrey Steingarten used to be a lawyer, though i guess his pompous demeanor should have been the first clue (sorry lawyers who read this if i offended you, it's a gross over-generalization!). Cookbook author Greg Patent obtained a PhD in zoology before making the career switch. I've been idly reflecting that science is similar to cooking in a number of ways, so i don't find it surprising to hear of that kind of a switch. It's interesting how many food writers started out as general reporters e.g. Frank Bruni, Kim Severenson to name a few. I just assume they loved food first and the writing came second, but it's probably easier to develop a passion for food than to become a skilled reporter.

Finally, the book is packed full of ideas on how to improve your writing. Even though I write this blog for fun and have no aspirations/delusions of quitting my day job to become a "food personality", it's nice to be inspired and find new ways to hone a craft. Oddly enough, the majority of my last career in investment banking required writing - it involved writing coherent stock investment arguments in a concise but convincing manner that were published for investors as research reports. This was the part of the role that i enjoyed the most, conveying ideas in the written form and is one of the things that i miss in the corporate world (PowerPoint presentations just isn't the same medium).

I'm inspired to make some changes to my blog, hopefully for the better. Look for some new ideas in the weeks to come!


Sarah said...

I'm so glad you liked the book in the end. I found it so informative and inspirational. Did you try any of the writing exercises? I have only done a few but even those were enough to make we want to work at my writing more.

I also have no desire to turn food writing into a career, but I'm enjoying the thrill of improving my blog with some new, nicely honed sentences. I look forward to hearing what you decide to try in the next few months.

Thanks for taking part this month. :)

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I found it interesting and informative. I am often looking for inspiration (and not finding it) when I'm writing a post, so I could stand to review this again and try some of the writing exercises.

Stacy (Little Blue Hen) said...

I also enjoyed reading about the backgrounds of some prominent food writers that weren't food-related. Even if we're not going to be pro-bloggers, that doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to improve, right? =)

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