Doreen Pendgracs is on a quest in search of the best chocolate and chocolate travel experiences around the world. That quest has evolved into the Chocolatour project and brand.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and began my career as a Communications Consultant. That seemed too much like a ‘real job’, so I made my way into magazine writing and loved it. I still write for magazines (both print and online), but not as much as previously as I have my own work to do–writing on my blog weekly, promoting my brand and services, and continuing to travel as research for the next volume of my book. So far, that has taken me to 16 countries in the past few years to immerse myself in every aspect of the world of chocolate and cacao. That means being very active in social media and digital publishing on a daily basis.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I generally get up at 7:30 am and start my day online, checking e-mails (and I get a lot!), visiting my various online platforms, and responding to comments on my blog. After breakfast, I begin to get serious about writing, expanding my network by following new people or starting a conversation, and perhaps doing some volunteer work for one of the associations I belong to. I’ve been a life-long volunteer and as a social person, love belonging to various groups that help with personal and professional development. After supper, I check back into the social media platforms to keep up with the conversations.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
I am a total Apple person. I work at a desktop iMac, have an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air laptop. I love that everything connects via Icloud so that the photo I take on my phone is on my desktop within minutes, and without me having to put it there. I have a small wooden desk beside me that is piled with too much paper. My loft office is very bright and cheery with big windows that look out on nature and help feed my creativity. And there’s always a chair beside me for my cat. He is my not-very-hard-working unpaid assistant.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET INSPIRED?
I am so very fortunate to live in the country by a large lake on the Canadian Prairies. When I want to be inspired, I go out in the yard or take a walk to the lake to connect myself with nature. We have bird feeders in the front and back yards and there are always numerous birds, squirrels, and the occasional fox, rabbit or raccoon who may stop by as well. I am also always inspired by the members of our Toastmasters group. Our club is called Toastmasters in the Arts, as many of us are writers, visual artists, or highly creative people in other ways. We feed off each others’ energy and always leave the meeting with a bigger smile than we came with. I also take great inspiration from travel, and the fascinating people I meet on my journeys.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Nothing I can think of.
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Finding the strength to be the best caregiver I can be, while continuing to move forward with my work. It is all about finding that balance that meets the needs of my family and my needs as a creative human being and storyteller.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION, OR TOOL THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
I’ve kind of touched on that in my answer about my workspace. I am so grateful that technology has advanced to the state that is now easy to do my work on the road. In the old days (the 1990’s, when I began freelancing), you had to write your story on your computer, copy it onto a “diskette” and provide negatives for the photos that would be used with the stories. These would have to be mailed or hand-delivered to the editor. Now, everything is digital. I write and e-mail the story and accompanying photos with the push of a button. I take most off my photos with my iPhone and hey work quite well for most markets.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Yes! Learn to master all the technology you can. I’ve been a slacker at incorporating video onto my site and in my social media postings. I know I will have to embrace video in the near future. But so far, I have been a resistor. My advice to anyone starting out is to learn every bit of technology that you can. Get good at it, and be able to offer a complete package to any prospective client.