Tips for New Freelance Food Writers

Writing about food can be as satisfying as digging into a juicy filet mignon or sipping a glass of Dom Perignon. Few topics are as universally appealing as food and wine. Freelance food writers are not limited to writing for just food sites or food magazines. Food writing can find a home in publications that focus on everything from sports (think tailgating) to history (Medieval feasts, anyone?) to travel (regional cuisine).

Tips for Freelance Food Writers

Although I’ve been writing about food for almost a decade, I try to keep in mind the advice I received from veteran food writers when I started freelancing. Their wise tips included:

  • Avoid Plagiarism. The ingredients of a recipe cannot be copyrighted, but the procedure, the photos and the instructions belong to the writer. To avoid accidentally plagiarizing a recipe, make sure to change at least three things, such as an ingredient, a serving suggestion and/ or a way of putting the ensemble together.
  • Add Interest. Food writing is more than just recipes. Add interest and depth to your food writing by including information on the history or the tradition of a dish.
  • Don’t skimp on the adjectives. Food writing, like travel writing, lives on descriptions. You want your readers to be able to smell and taste your food.
  • Photos, Photos and More Photos. Quality photos are all but essential to good food writing. Even the best description lacks the power of one good image. (By the way: Most of the best food photographers cheat and use food coloring, blow torches and other tricks to create appetizing food pictures. You should too.)

Where to Find Food Writing Gigs

To get started, broaden your search to include non-traditional places for your food writing as well as the more common ones. WriterAccess frequently has orders that center around food topics. In addition, food writing adds an extra dimension to WA articles in other categories, such as travel and holiday entertaining.

Keeping up on Food Industry News

Like any industry, knowing what’s new and exciting in the food business helps you keep current in your writing. Plus, news items, such as a new wine release or a new restaurant, make great topics for article queries. Below are just a few places to find food industry news:

  • Slash Food. This blog has traditionally been on the cutting edge with new food products, restaurant news and fun recipes. They’ve just joined the Huffington Post collection of blogs. Let’s hope they can retain their fun and somewhat irreverent flavor.
  • EcoCentric. A great place to look for sustainable food news.
  • NPR Food News. National Public Radio’s Web site, somewhat surprisingly, offers a great section on food news from around the globe.

Like any new career, building a reputation for good, on-time writing doesn’t happen overnight. But, with a little perseverance, a little hard work and a little cooking, you’ll find your food writing popping up all over the internet and beyond.

Sandy M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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