Eat Write Retreat – A Weekend of Food, Insight and Reflection
Last weekend I spent some time in Washington DC, four blocks from the White House at the Madison Hotel with a couple dozen+ food bloggers from around the country.
Sounds swanky, right? It kinda was.
Eat Write Retreat is a two day intense workshop where food bloggers come together to, well, focus on food, writing and making connections. We spent the weekend holed up in a hotel, venturing out just long enough to visit a few key restaurants within walking distance.
CUTCO Cutlery sponsored my trip, which is the only reason I was able to attend – not because I didn’t want to go, mind you, but because it wasn’t in our budget this year. I can’t thank CUTCO enough for believing in a blogger’s voice and sending this one to a fabulous conference where I met a slew of fascinating people. Thank you.
Attendees soaked in the words from an array of dynamic speakers, including Monica Bhide and Andy Schloss. Monica helped us dig into finding one word that best describes our writing voice and mission (one word is harder to develop than you think), and then she forced us to focus on setting up a goal around that.
Andy’s session helped us understand why blogging alone is probably not considered a business, even if you make money from it. Instead he suggested you need to be bigger than your blog – create a product (a book to sell, an online store, teach, edit, something other than monetizing your blog and selling ad space). There was a noticeable air of disagreement from some attendees around this notion, but I felt like it made perfect sense for me and my blogging style.
They both begged us to find the answer to, “Why are you blogging?” It varied from person to person, and was definitely pause for thought.
There were less cerebral breakouts too! As a group we did everything from a Chopped/Iron Chef challenge to a late afternoon coffee tasting. We ate a wide assortment of raw food at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, and we square danced!
Yes, I said square danced.
At a foodie conference.
Hat’s off to our Eat Write Retreat hosts Casey and Robyn for bringing in an awkward moment that ultimately helped us all grow closer, and to create a comfort level with one another that I’m not sure we could have crafted on our own.
I was reminded of how much I love photography (I was a photography-turned-English major in college if you didn’t already know), and would have loved a whole day devoted to photos, instead of the 2.5 hours we did have. Renee Comet and Lisa Cherkasky were nothing short of amazing, and I would gladly watch and learn from them any day. Here’s a quick snapshot from my phone of what my team put together for our food styling challenge around tomatoes:
The weekend helped me start to figure out my writing path.
It’ll still be here. It probably remains in most of my freelance spots.
Or maybe and I really feel like this is it I need to start my novel. The one that’s been percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of years.
I’m still figuring it out, but Eat Write Retreat helped give me the jump start I needed, and connections to add to my journey.
Thank you CUTCO for helping me get there, literally and figuratively.
Disclosure: CUTCO Cutlery sponsored my trip to Eat Write Retreat ’12 and gave me a double-occupancy registration. They have also sent me a few knives to add to my collection for free as part of this sponsorship. All opinions though? They are mine! Cheers!
the wicked noodle
I love those pics of you square dancing!! That was definitely one of the highlights for me. Who knew it would be such a great ice breaker? So happy to have met you and can’t wait until next time!
@Wicked Noodle – I can’t wait either. I love being surprised by how fun [what seems like a] awkward situations end up being!