By Neeru Singh:
“The Life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”
– Anna Quindlen
From being a promising student to being a school dropout, from being certified a failure to being featured amongst ‘The Best Food Bloggers To Follow’ with my blog Eatstory.in, I have seen quite a few highs and lows in my short lifetime.
At the age of 20, I had made it to one of India’s premier film schools in Kolkata and felt that my ultimate dream had come true. But after spending four years there, I realised that though I did love watching movies, the process of making them didn’t excite me anymore. So I dropped out. For some, realising their true calling takes a while and mine was a long, yet wonderful journey. Yet, it taught me some valuable lessons about work, failure, success and survival.
After film school, I struggled to find anything to be passionate about and eating out became my only antidote for depression. So, I mostly ended up writing about food. It gave me a sense of clarity and reignited the yearning to learn something new. Soon I realised, I wanted to specialise in a ‘technical craft’, that would provide me tangible skills. Hence, baking was the perfect pick. I enrolled myself in a culinary school and began working as a pastry chef. As my self-belief came back, I felt like sharing my personal stories about baking and food explorations. That’s when Eatstory, my blog, came into being.
As a food blogger, I toil hard to produce original engaging content and great-looking photos that are personally clicked. As the blogging community has grown rapidly over the last few years, I find that it is imperative that my blog should reflect my personality. Readers will respect you if you have a unique and honest voice. So, as a principle, I only share stories or recommend dishes or restaurants that I have experienced personally. The emphasis on honest writing led me to work at an online food reservations platform, under the aegis of Vir Sanghvi, one of India’s most prolific food writers.
Social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, have helped me reach a wider readership. I always share my posts on Eatstory’s Facebook page, so that they get more visibility. Also, food groups on Facebook have helped me generate a lot of buzz for my content, especially amongst the food blogging community. This has helped me forge mutually beneficial campaigns with restaurants and food brands. On Instagram, I share photos from my blog, which helps reinforce emphasis on quality of visual content. The appreciation for our visual content has actually motivated us to launch Eatstory Art, a professional Food & Restaurant Photography service.
Bloggers, these days, enjoy unprecedented influence and PR companies and brands try to encash it. However, it’s critical to work with like-minded people, who share your passion. Choosing the wrong people to work with can kill your idea as well as passion. I don’t collaborate will people who expect a write-up even if I can’t visit the particular restaurant. I do often feature restaurants but only after I visit them, and this rule will never change for me. Be pragmatic about your choices, however, at the same time don’t lose your core values.
Your blog may take time to earn you some money but till then don’t lose the opportunity to take up freelance work and make some money. Ever since I quit working full time, I have been freelancing for various digital portals. It gives me enough time to write for my blog and still earn through freelance projects. So, from cubbyholes in a walled city to an eatery in the mountains, I now go wherever food takes me. I may have not become a filmmaker, but I never quite stopped telling stories, and I believe the best recipes come from stories and the best food is one that brings a glint in your eyes.