Responding to fan mail – On writing

So someone left the nicest comment today I’d like to share and respond to:

“First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!
I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!”

Given that I am down to two blog posts per month I could ask that question myself. But when I do put finger to keyboard this is my process. Get the kernel of what you want to write about. This is a food blog so I write about food. It could be the politics of food, food television, restaurant reviews, recipes or just play by plays of a dinner party. It is almost as important to know what you WON’T write about as what you will. Surprisingly, when you give yourself constraints on what you write about, the universe of what you CAN write about becomes super clear. For me, this is my blog. That I write online is completely voluntary. I know it would be different if I got paid.

“Inspiration” happens when you pay attention. I blog when I get one of two reactions. 1) Can’t you believe that sh$%#t?” or 2) OMG that was awesome. For a food blog the #1 topics can be things that the Food Network and its celebrities say/do, the fact that Roadfood excludes Asian restaurants or workers rights in ham factories. #2 is often a great restaurant, a clear recipe, or a fun event. Whatever it is, make it something you would be dying to tell your friends about.

When it comes to the actual writing, I just write crap. Seriously, I just put words on a screen without caring how they read. Because here’s the thing – you can fix incoherent, you can fix verbose, you can fix sounding silly. What you can’t fix is an empty screen. Just write dumb things and then take ten minutes and read it again to see how they sound. For me, there is not centering. There is no zen space. There’s just fingers on the keyboard and hoping for the best.

Hope that’s helpful!

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One Response to Responding to fan mail – On writing

  1. Beth Camp says:

    Just got my first fan letter and I’m thinking about how to respond. I like how you began with the compliment you received and worked right into how you think and write. Very helpful.

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