Long before I began my writing career, I was dreaming of it. Like most closet writers just starting out I worked full time while writing and submitted pieces to magazines in between the cracks of my busy life. My big plan was to build a writing career around published clips. Only problem seemed to be that I was rejected many times more than published. Truth be told, three years into my fledging career, my clips were still embarrassingly minuscule. I can hardly say I had a portfolio. My failure to become a published writer steamed from writing about things I really didn’t know. In the beginning, I would write about any subject if I thought I had a chance of getting published. What I should have been writing was on subjects I was passionate about, those things that lit me up inside, even if they were simple.
In May of 1999, after nearly two years of rejections and unanswered queries, I received a letter in the mail. It was a thick envelope, and mistaking it as junk mail, I almost threw it away. I tore open the envelope and as I pulled out the contents, a check for $100 dollars fell to my kitchen counter. The letter informed me I had won a national recipe contest. One that I had entered over a year before. The package also contained copies of the publication that my recipe was printed in. I had a vague memory of entering the contest. It took a few moments to even remember what had spurred me to send in my recipe…
It was after yet another series of rejections I had come across the recipe contest advertised in the coupon section of the Sunday paper. Motivated by the $100 dollar prize, I decided to try writing up something I actually knew about and considered myself knowledgeable in – cooking! I typed up three of my dinner recipes that had received many compliments from friends and family. I mailed in the recipes with a cover letter, and after a while, forgot about it, until that fateful day I got that check and congratulations in the mail.
It was a light bulb moment. It was also the beginning of a career as a Freelance Food Writer. I set a goal to write and publish my first cook book by 2004 and began a new quest to build up a portfolio of food writing achievements.
In the years that followed I published many recipes, menu plans and food articles in national magazines and all over the web.
In October 2001 I received a cook book contract. I wrote Freezer Cooking On A Budget, an ebook, in less than 3 months. What a wonderful feeling it was to cash the check for writing my first cookbook three years ahead of my scheduled goal!
I have learned that success in writing is mostly determined in writing about what you know. Since the light bulb went off I have branched out into writing about other subjects that are near and dear to me, but I have found my niche in freelance food writing. For me dinner’s not only on the table, its in the book!
Christi Gillentine lives in Tulsa Oklahoma with her husband and three toddlers, including twins. She writes on a variety of subjects that run the gamut from parenting issues to psychic abilities… Anything and everything that sparks her curiosity, including the subject that put her name in print – food! Her cook book, Freezer Cooking On A Budget, will be ready to order and download at http://www.30daygourmet.com/ in February 2002. It includes 25 recipes along with other great info for saving money as you cook.