How to improve your blog writing
Chapter 4 -Food Bloggers learn about good writing
I felt like I was back at school when John Cooke, food writer and marketer took us through the basics of writing about food for our blogs.
John started by reading two pieces with very different styles: AA Gill’s ‘Table Talk’ and Claudia Roden’s ‘Arabesque’. The point of this was to help us understand that good writing is good writing whatever the style and that good writing tries to tell you something you don’t know. Which is exactly what he then proceeded to do:
- Think about why you are writing and who you are writing for, off line or online?
- Write as if you are writing to one person
- Where will it be read? PC? Tablet? mobile phone? Size matters!
- Do your research – find out something your audience doesn’t know
- Avoid cliches: ‘Drizzle not’, No to ‘Nom Nom’
- Edit and write again in half the space (be your own editor)
- Do the overnight test – DON’T PRESS THE BUTTON
- Read it aloud to yourself, read it to someone else if you can
- Being funny isn’t easy, leave it to the comedians
- Think about colour in your writing, use similes
- The start is very important, make sure the first sentence grabs your audience
- End by referring back to where you stared
Back to the classroom, it was our turn to write. Working in pairs, our topic was “the best meal you have ever eaten” and we had to write no more than 180 words.
I was fortunate to be paired with Kellie Anderson of Food to Glow. At first we struggled to find a topic, but then I remembered a meal eaten in Penang, Malaysia and we were off!
“The best meal I ever had was not about fine dining, there was no Michelin star chef, nor a sommelier. In fact I wore flip flops and we drank local beer. I don’t remember the name, but it was ice cold and hit the spot. I can’t remember what we ate, but we rode in a cable car to the top of a mountain and stepped into a different world. The menu was unintelligible but the views over Penang were unforgettable. We could have had a cheese sandwhich and it still would have been a memorable experience. I may not recall the menu but I can almost see, smell, taste and hear it some 30 years later.“
Although the memory was mine, Kellie was a superb co-writer and editor and I doubt the piece would have had the same impact without her input. I am trying to avoid cliches, but in this case, two heads are definitely better than one.
I thought you might like to see the photograph, of my husband, which was in my mind’s eye when I recalled this most memorable of meals. When I looked at the photograph I was surprised to see that the food was visible because all I could remember was that glass of beer!
Many thanks to John for his workshop, it was good to be reminded that, just like cooking and baking, writing is a craft which requires practice and constructive criticism to improve.
Why don’t you tell me about your most memorable meal?