Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So you wanna be a food writer part 1: Getting started

Recipes (Photo credit: pirate johnny)
I have had quite a few people ask me how I became a food writer and what they can do to become one as well. To be honest, I never had any intention of becoming a food writer, I actually stumbled into it.

A online friend of mine was helping to create a mom-centric blog and she knew I had written some product reviews for members of a business group we were in together. She asked if I would be interested in writing reviews for the new site. The next thing I knew, I was writing online reviews. My first review was for a telephone, then a food product. I enjoyed writing about the food so much, I asked if I could begin sharing recipes and reviewing more food for the site and I was given the greenlight.

Before long, I was seeking out other avenues for my writing and stumbled across an ad on Craig's List for Examiner. I originally applied to be the Cincinnati Museums Examiner and was turned down for the position. Never one to give up, I decided to parlay my baking experience into my writing and applied a second time. This application was for the Cincinnati Baking Examiner and I was accepted. I wrote on that topic for awhile, and when I moved away from the Cincinnati market, I asked to tackle a topic with a much broader range and I became the Middletown Food Examiner. Since then, I have been sharing recipes, testing and reviewing products and reporting on a variety of food related topics. Although I started my online writing career with another site, I credit Examiner for launching my writing "career".

If you are interested in writing for Examiner, the first thing you need to do is decide on a topic. When you go to the application page, you will be able view a list of all available topics or narrow your search by category. If you wish to write on a food topic, I highly suggest that you choose "Food and Drink" from the category drop-down menu. You may want to keep paper and a pencil handy to make a list of the topics that interest you before deciding on which topic to apply for. What interests you and what your are knowledgeable on are probably two different things. Starting out, I recommend choosing a topic you know a lot about. If Examiner chooses to bring you on board, writing articles on a topic you are already familiar with will make starting out much easier.

The application process is pretty straightforward. You will need to provide your contact information, write a brief biography, a sample article on topic and ideas for additional articles on your topic. You may want to select your topic, then write your sample article and headlines before proceeding with the application process so you can submit the best work possible. This will greatly increase your odds of being selected.

If you are chosen, you can get to work right away, but be aware that your first article will not be published on the site until a reviewer has gone over your article for mistakes. Once it gets the greenlight, you are free to write as often as you want. Examiner encourages their writers to publish 2-3 articles a week. This is a good way to build your audience and a body of work.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, I encourage you to visit Examiner and begin the application process. You won't get rich writing for Examiner, but the experience and exposure you will get as a beginning writer is invaluable. They have a variety of online tutorials to walk you through the writing process and they are a great way to build your skills as you go along.

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