Saturday, May 23, 2009

On Improving Foodblogging . . .

While it seems more fitting for a New Year resolution, or even a birthday self-promise (and is it really coming that soon?!), I figure now's a good time as any to reinforce my resolve to be a better blogger . . . specifically, to improve my writing.

Yes, my photo taking/editing skills need some major polishing up as well and I will work on that too, but my true passion lies in the written text. From that perfectly chosen word to the carefully structured sentences and the concisely crafted paragraphs and tales, those are aspects that lingers, that enchants, that haunts me. "Food porn"/gastroerotica/well-shot food photos are nice to look at, but they are temporary and fleeting, albeit drool-inducing, images in my mind; the articles and blogposts I remember best are the wonderfully-penned ones that are richly descriptive and simply succinct, opinionated without being overbearing and easily approachable while still imparting that secret nugget of knowledge or insight that I, as a reader, so crave for.

Of course, I can't guarantee that every post henceforth will be a canon-worthy work of writing, and there'll probably still be pieces that read like the sh*tty first draft due to time constraints, shoddy self-editing, etc., but I will definitely make a concerted effort to do more than just "I ate/drank this and it was good/bad" and hopefully paint as good a picture so that you, my readers, fans and supporters, can truly relate to how I feel at the restaurant, bar or event.

Additionally, I'll be devoting more time to feeding my voracious reading appetite, but with a more careful eye to "what makes this piece of writing work/bomb?" (wow, flashback from all my creative writing / journalism workshop sessions!) This applies not only to food-related articles but to everything I read, even fiction, since good writing translates across all platforms and who knows what inspiration or lessons are buried within the pages.

Likewise, given that I'll be focusing more on the "steak" of good writing, I'll pay less attention to the "sizzle" of promotion, namely, cross-posting my blog entries on message boards, social review sites, etc. I won't be a hermit and will still visit and contribute where relevant, but simply put, I'm going back to the basics and primarily blogging here. And everyone knows that good steak is best on the rarer side and without too much sizzle.

If nothing else, it's definitely a great refresher course for all the writing and journalism classes I took in college and graduate school, and decent practice should I ever choose to dive back into that crazy world of freelance writing again. Besides, that Strunk & White's The Elements of Style and John Trimble's Writing with Style, amongst others, have been sitting on my bookshelf yearning to be revisited, and like my resolution - what better time than now?

Hope you and I will enjoy what's to come even more . . .


weezermonkey said...

I've been concentrating more on photos than I have been on text as of late because that's my new hobby.

Four years of English language and lit in college and three years of law school gave me sufficient training in the realm of the formal written word, not to mention I still utilize this in my daily work.

My blog is a method of relaxation, a place where I can be informal and even flippant. You won't find brilliant prose on it. :P

Anjali said...

I think this is great. I feel like there is an emphasis on quantity over quality in food blogging (and the web in general) lately, so it's nice to see someone making a commitment to more thoughtful writing. For me, reading essays by my favorite food writers -- MFK Fisher, Calvin Trillin, Jeffrey Steingarten, Patience Grey -- is the best inspiration. Good luck!

mattatouille said...

nice to see's a tough call..I have to say. Throw out the rules though and write your own, that's what Jonathan Gold did.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi H.C.,

Nice. :) Although I've felt you've always been making a concerted effort for good writing over pics even before this post.

Good luck! :)

Diana said...

I think you do a great job already, but definitely understand the desire to do even better. I know I feel the same way about my posts. I am constantly thinking about how I can make my photos, design, text, etc. better and more compelling for my humble following of readers. It's a fun challenge!

H. C. said...

@Weezer, totally get you there - foodblogging is a very cathartic exercise for me too. But I definitely want to improve so I can even better convey my experiences here and there.

@Anjali, thanks! Oh, reminds me I should take a peek at that best food writing anthology that recently got published

@Matt, heh - I'm no J Gold. But anyhow, the style guides I use are very fluid and not prescriptive in rules for rules sake, but rather descriptive by showing you why writing a particular way conveys a more effective message. And my guides totally encourage the use of "exceptions" to the rules, but of course, after you learn the rules first and use the exceptions purposefully as opposed to tossing them out willy-nilly.

@Exilekiss, thanks

@Diana, Yep -- another reason why so many of us have crazy backlogs!


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