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Writing

What Writers Can Learn from Cookbook Editors

Tuesday evening award-winning cookbook editor Shaun Chavis treated the See Jane Write community to a free online workshop on how to write a cookbook. Though I am not a food writer or blogger, I was happy to host this workshop for the members of my community who are.

Shaun spent four years as a development editor for Time Inc. Books, where she specialized in finding and working with new talent, and managing book concepts from start to finish. Three of her books were Cooking Light list bestsellers. Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Good-for-You Food Taste Amazing! won Time Inc.’s Luce Award for Best Book of the Year and the James Beard Award for Focus on Health in 2015. Shaun worked on The CarbLovers Diet, which spent 11 weeks on The New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List.

Currently, Shaun owns Saltshaker Marketing, a boutique content marketing agency in Atlanta that specializes in cookbooks and food magazines for businesses. With this kind of resume I knew my foodie friends would be in good hands. But what I did not expect was for this workshop on writing a cookbook to help me draft an outline for a collection of essays!

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Let Her Sleep

Monday afternoon after a long day at work and after visiting my mom, I came home, put on my pajamas and got in bed at 5 p.m. I stayed there for three hours eating Golden Flake Sweet Heat potato chips and watching television. My husband thought I was dying. Seriously.

I’m the woman who comes home from work only to launch into at least three additional hours of work and one hour of exercise.

And the Monday to-do list in my Day Designer* was full. But I just didn’t care. My body told me to get in bed and so I listened.

And I’m glad I did.

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My Solo Weekend Writing Retreat at Hotel Finial

Sometimes things just work out.

Last year I told my husband that I wanted to take a solo weekend writing retreat, or a “writecation,” so I could start working on the book that I hope to complete in 2017. I wanted to check myself into a hotel for a weekend and just write.

I considered booking a room at a hotel in Birmingham, but I knew I needed to get away. Otherwise, the demands of family obligations and the lures of social events with friends would be too much of a distraction.

About a month or so after having this conversation with my husband I was contacted by a representative from Hotel Finial in Anniston, Alabama. They offered me a two-night complimentary stay so I could have the writecation I’d dreamed of. But my stay at Hotel Finial exceeded anything I could have ever imagined!

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Personal Branding Tips for Writers

Chances are you hate to hear the words, “You need to build your brand.” Thinking of yourself as a brand may feel gross or even wrong. But it’s not. Building a personal brand simply means defining and clearly conveying what you’re all about — who you are, what you do, and why you do it. 

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