Food Media Forum – Day 1 Recap

by Robyn Wright on July 28, 2012

in Food,Social Media

Breakfast and setting up for Day 1Today was the first day of the Food Media Forum. While this event was held in St. Louis, my hometown, it was clearly much more than a local event. We had people driving and flying in from across the country to attend. I was beyond thrilled to hear this, particularly for the ladies who put this entire event together.

Upon arrival there was some fabulous Blueberry cake from Nadoz, some other pastries and fruit, plus coffee that apparently was very special. I’m not a coffee drinker so I did not try it, but the coffee lovers were all gaga over it and I admit the intricate designs painted onto the surface of the steamy tan concoctions were amazing.

We settled in and were introduced to our speaker for the day, Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food. My biggest goal for this event was to learn how to improve my writing about food (psst I tried some of these techniques in the paragraph above about the coffee). Dianne provided a handout and the first thing was about using specific adjectives and include a list of examples. I do believe I hugged this piece of paper. In my own writing I have noticed that I do use delicious, yummy, tasty, good, etc. fairly often. Those really do not tell you much – I want to be able to make my readers mouth’s water and be able to see, smell, and feel the food I am writing about. And while we want those adjectives to help induce the experience of the food we also do not want to use so many that we overwhelm our readers. Verbs are just as important as well. We had a writing exercise – spend 10 minutes writing about a food and use all of our senses in our writing. We had some candy on all the tables and Dianne suggested we could even write about that – so I did. When completed I was incredibly intimidated to have Dianne ask me to stand and read my example out loud to the audience. GULP! I’m not shy about being in front of people, but to read my writing about food in front of a room full of some great and true food writers made me very nervous. This is the unedited piece that I wrote….

The translucent gems in the center of the table kept grabbing my attention. I had to take one, or two. I found not only a brilliant garnet and sapphire colored worm, but also a tiny golden bear. The bear was he first to be sacrificed for this exercise. Popping the soft squishy bear into my mouth I was giddy with the fact that this gummy bear was soft and quickly dissolved its sweetness onto my tongue. The worm lay in front of me now, starring up at me like a fishing lure waiting to be gouged by a hook and plunged into the depths of the lake, instead I ripped the soft bait in half stretching it slowly apart. I think I am lucky to have gummy worms as my taste teaser compared to the poor fish who only have a tasteless rubber blob that fools them only with its appearance. The sugary coating on my tongue melted away leaving me to quickly forget about the fish and reach into the center of the table for more gummy goodness!

Looking back I can see some disjointed areas, but overall I did use the tips in the way Dianne was explaining them I feel. For the first time doing it I was proud of myself. I loved listening to the other examples shared as well and was amazed at how well these writers were able to transport me into their own world of food and memories.

We had a Missouri winery come in and bring samples for us at lunch time. They were all dry white wines – I prefer sweet – but I still appreciated the opportunity to try the wines and so did everyone else. We had sandwiches and wraps for lunch. Nothing fancy, but it filled our tummies after a morning of talking about food.

After lunch Dianne continued to teach us about best practices for writing and we touched on blogs – which Annie of MamaDweeb.com and I had a lot to add. Of course, this was a food event, not a blogging event really so we tried to hold back. I think we both are very exuberant when discussing blogging and social media thought so it was difficult to restrain ourselves. Dianne finished up talking about writing a book proposal. I have no plans for writing a book, but it was still very interesting to learn about the process.

Here are my photos from today. They are unedited. Anyone who was at the event today is free to use them if they need/want. Just click the photo to pull them all up on my SkyDrive account to view.

Tomorrow is day 2 of Food Media Forum and I am so excited to go back and learn more. I will be tweeting live at the event again on Sunday using the same tag of #foodmedia so follow that tag. I’m @RobynsWorld on Twitter if you are not already following me.

© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

  • Candy

    Sounds like my kind of forum!

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      You would have loved it!

  • Lexiquin

    You had me at FOOD…
    I love food, but I don’t like to write (that probably explains why I’m not a blogger). 
    In my opinion, you did great at implementing some of the suggestions. I was really impressed with “… I admit the intricate designs painted onto the surface of the steamy tan concoctions were amazing.” Made me want a cup of coffee! Let me know if you ever need me to tag-along as an assistant–I’m willing to sample the coffee that you don’t drink (along with most food and drinks!) 

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      One of these days it would be so fun to have a blogger READER conference – I could have many of my readers come to the event, plus a bunch of the brands I work with to supply all sorts of samples and goodies for my readers to experience first hand

  • tannawings

    Been watching your tweets and it sounds like a really good time. Hey, don’t make us drool too much at your pics unless you want us licking the screen. I have to agree with Lexiquin you made that coffee sound outrageously good and I can’t drink any at 3am ! 

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks! Glad you are enjoy them!

  • RoundRockGal

    I would love to take a writing class to further my skills.  For those truly gifted with wordsmithing they really can transport you to a location, or elicit a feeling or a memory so easily.  And food writing …another mad skill I’d love to be able to put into my writers’s toolkit.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      I have thought about taking a writing class but I wasn’t sure about it – I did really like the smaller version of learning within a session though. I think I will try to attend more writing sessions at future conferences also.

  • http://twitter.com/rkosully Robin

    Nice job on your writing exercise! It seems like you’re learning a lot. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to get a copy of the “Techniques for Better Food Writing”/ Adjectives handout. Any chance you could post a doc we could download?  I could see a lot on the Instagram image you posted but not everything. Thank you!

  • Tiffany Winner

    I think you did really well on your gummies description, enjoy the rest of the conference!
    thismomwins@gmail.com

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Tiffany!

  • http://southerngirlramblings.com/ Kecia

    Your description of the gummies was really good! I need to get more descriptive in my writing too. I feel I use too any bland adjectives that don’t really portray the different senses.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      One of the things Dianne suggested was that you make a list of adjectives you like. You can keep adding to it as you go. Have words for all the different senses and action verbs as well.

  • http://twitter.com/cstironkat Kelly Ann T.

    I’m following your tweets. I loved the photos and they made me hungry. Looking forward to reading a new food review when you get the chance.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Kelly!

  • http://twitter.com/rkosully Robin

    I was following your tweets too. It seems like you got a lot of useful information from the forum. Great description of the gummy candy!

  • April Tara

    I’m not much of a foodie but any event that includes great coffee and free wine samples sounds fun! And you did a good job with that gummies description!

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      LOL – yes, it is always a great event that includes yummy samples!

  • Dianne Jacob

    Robyn, you did a super job reading your writing sample out loud to the crowd. It takes a lot of guts to do it, and I think everyone appreciated your analogies to fishing and your anthropomorphizing of the worms.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks so much Dianne. I really was able to take away an abundance of useful information from your session.

  • Beth at Hungry Happenings

    It was great meeting you Robyn. I look forward to chatting with you when you return home from BlogHer. Have a great time. 

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      So nice to meet you also Beth! I will be back home next Monday night, so by Wednesday I will be ready to jump back into things and we can chat!

  • Pingback: When Food Writers Read Their Work

  • alucky13

    Got to love gummy candies!!! alucky13 at hotmail dot com

  • Shannon Whitfield

    Great descriptive piece!! Two of my passions are food and writing (and I have lovely memories of gummy worms dating back to my 80’s childhood:), so it really spoke to me!

  • http://twitter.com/itsjuststarla Starla Mint

    It sounds like you really got a lot out of this event. I think I’d be awful at writing about food. I love food, but I think I’d use all the same adjectives over and over. Glad you had a great time and learned so much! Have any of the things you learned there transferred in to writing about other things like technology, etc. or is it completely different?

    its.a.hit at gmail dot com

  • Jen Healthy Life Deals

    I still need lots of help with my writing! I had a great time at Food Media Forum.

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