Sometimes, my occasional forays into the world of feature writing bring unexpected pleasure.
For the upcoming Devon Life Food & Drink issue, I proposed a feature on Caprine de Chocolats, a chocolate maker in Torrington making chocs from goats milk. I felt, in the name of research, the need to test out some of said chocolates, and duly placed an order. A tantalising selection of 12 chocs arrived in the post a few days’ later.
Now, it’s no secret amongst my inner (and outer) circle that I’m a bit of chocaholic. I’m the type that is fine as long as a wrapper is on the chocolate, but as soon as the chocolate is exposed to the air, I am driven to finish it. Chocolate goes off very quickly, you know. But these goats milk chocolates are something else again. Rich, and bursting with depth and flavour. One is enough for a day. Or I might manage two, at a push.
They must have a bit of creative juice in them too, as eating the chocolate led me to think of a new way to approach the article. The words were truly lit up by the taste experience provided by the cacoa.
Learning something new
Feature writing isn’t going to make me a rich woman, unless I secure an interview with Lord Lucan. However, it does give me the opportunity to try things out that I wouldn’t normally contemplate, and discover new things about life in Devon and beyond. Going up in a glider (and flying it for a hairy minute or two); researching all the spooky legends of Dartmoor; finding out what it is that makes people want to play in a brass band; learning about herbalism, taking off in a tiny aircraft and watching people throw themselves out of it (I was tempted).
Some features have led me to new PR clients. I met Amos Lighting when I wrote a piece about lighting for Devon Homes Magazine, and Rusty Pig when I interviewed chef Robin Rea for Devon Life. And over the past few years I’ve noticed that feature writing is making me a better writer in other aspects of my work; press releases, blog posts and even social media posts. I’ve been writing for years, but I’m a firm believer that you never stop learning. Hey, until recently I never really used the; semi-colon; now I’m overusing it; I am.
So what’s up next? Next week I meet the two men behind Christopher Piper Wines – I’m sure I’ll learn something there and be able to amaze my wine-quaffing friends with my in-depth knowledge of the Bordeaux region. Watch this space.