A few months before I started this blog, I was thinking about moving to Chicago for journalism school. I researched the benefits of attending j-school first, and learned that many people recommend an alternative: learn the technical aspects of writing from an internship or on the job, and instead study a subject you’re interested in.
Because j-school is expensive, I went with the alternative route. (Well, sort of – I still went back to graduate school, but am studying nonfiction writing instead.) I chose food as my subject, and started this blog to practice writing about it.
Now, more than a year later, I’ve realized there are lots of opportunities to practice food writing beyond blogging.
But first, if you’re interested in food writing, I recommend Dianne Jacob’s book Will Write For Food. In addition to food blogging, she talks about writing cookbooks, restaurant reviews, and food memoirs and essays. (Jacob also has a very informative blog, which currently has lots of great posts about the recent International Food Blogging Conference.)
Then, when you’re ready, here are five contest and submission opportunities for food writers:
Inviting Writing: Smithsonian’s Food & Think blog’s monthly “Inviting Writing” series is a great way to practice food writing and, if your piece is chosen, gain exposure. Here’s how it works: every month, readers are invited to submit essays inspired by Food & Think’s theme – this month, it’s college food – and F& T bloggers choose a few entries to post on their site.
Anthony Bourdain Medium Raw Challenge: The rules of this Anthony Bourdain-sponsored contest are simple: in 500 words or less, answer the question, “Why Cook Well?” But for the winner, the prizes are big: $10,000 and his/her essay published in a “future paperback edition” of Bourdain’s book Medium Raw.
Creative Nonfiction: For a future issue, this journal is seeking stories where food plays a role. But take note: the deadline is tomorrow, September 3rd. I know, it’s very last minute. But I’m including it here in case you have a great food story that’s already written and waiting for a submission like this to come along.
ReadyMade magazine’s Community Cookbook : When I was a kid, my Mom had at least one spiral-bound notebook full of recipes. This cookbook didn’t involve famous chefs or have pretty pictures. Instead, people like you and me submitted recipes – many that were passed down in families for generations – and a local organization like a church put them all together in a community cookbook. Now the editors of ReadyMade magazine are bringing back this community cookbook, and looking for submissions. Along with your recipe, submit a short story about where it comes from and why it should be featured in the cookbook.
MediaBistro’s How to Pitch Series: This isn’t a food writing opportunity, but rather a plug for an invaluable informational resource (in my opinion anyway). For the one-year membership rate of $55, Mediabistro.com’s AvantGuild program gives writers access to lots of useful content, including the How to Pitch series. Here, you can learn what food magazine editors are looking for, and what stories they have accepted in the past. Right now, 26 publications, both online and print, are highlighted in the Food/Cooking/Wine/Beverage category.
What contests, submissions, and resources have you found for food writers? I’d love to know what else is out there!