Victoria is a London-based food and travel journalist who has been writing professionally since 2008. Victoria has written across a variety of titles, including various national newspapers (The Times, The Independent, The Telegraph and The Guardian), magazines (ES Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, Foodism, Escapism, Sphere, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, BA High Life, Centurion) and blogs (Berry Bros. & Rudd, Skyscanner, The Keep Boutique, Impact Hub Brixton).
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
When I worked full time at a newspaper, I think all of our printed content was also published online, and that increased and tied together more and more as time went on. But really it wasn’t until about 3 years into that that I started my own blog about street food in London. I did it because I wanted to share all the stories I was coming across that I knew people would want to hear, and to celebrate the fun, delicious and cheaper food that was coming onto the market that way. It seemed obvious to start a blog, especially because at the time, a lot of young food bloggers had got going, opening up the platform. The idea of setting one up felt exciting to me because it would be my own space, where I didn’t have to write in a particular style or on a particular day or for a particular person. And things developed from there…
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
It varies. On Monday mornings I’m usually always out of bed early to tie up the last bit of my weekly column for the Evening Standard by 9.30am. On other days, I’ll either be at home on the sofa or at my shared workspace and be working by 10 am (doing admin/research/planning/pitching/writing/responding to emails), as I’m not a great morning person, and I find I get the most work done before lunch. Then I’ll often have a lunch meeting with someone from the food industry, and in the afternoon I might have a phone or face to face interview to do, if I haven’t done it earlier in the day, or more writing and planning. I tend to be out for food/work-related things (events/book launches/restaurant openings) about 1-3 times during the weekdays and twice in the evenings, which I love, but I try to balance that out with doing absolutely nothing (it’s been a rule for 8 years!) on Monday nights, and seeing friends at least once on other nights or at weekends. I try to go out dancing at least once a fortnight because it keeps me sane and I do yoga at home about 2-3 times per week.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
I use a MacBook Air to do my research and writing; I don’t really use any productivity tools – I have my own methods. For example, when I’m struggling to get the first line of something or to make a paragraph more clear or to flesh out an idea for something in my head, I’ll often practice saying things out loud in my kitchen, or I’ll whack on some Whitney Houston and boogie about until I’ve got a sweat going and can think more clearly. It really helps (but it’s also a good way of keeping warm in the winter if I’m working from home). For the last year or so, I’ve found the Pomodoro Technique one of the most effective ways of getting stuff done if I’m tired or struggling to focus. It’s an app that times you doing 25 mins of work, with a 5-min break at the end. I don’t have the official app, and instead, use the timer on my phone a few times a week. It never fails!
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
I read books (fiction and non-fiction, with lots of personal stories) and articles and magazines (glossy, national, trade or indy); I go out and talk to people (in particular I’ve learnt that talking to people from other industries can give me a really interesting perspective on my own); I go to talks; I listen to music; I dance to clear my head; I listen to all sorts of podcasts relating to the food and publishing industries, as well as all sorts of funny ones. I also travel/go for walks because sitting on a plane/train or being abroad helps me see things differently.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Writing-wise, I’m trying to make sure I can get as close as possible to write what I want to write, rather than what someone else wants me to write. On top of that, I’m aiming to stop wasting time (and therefore not making money) doing things that I’m either not skilled at or don’t enjoy. I’ve recently compiled a spreadsheet of all the ways I make money, beyond and including journalism, and it’s been pretty illuminating seeing how much I’ve focused on the wrong kinds of things over the last year. So, onwards and upwards!
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION, OR TOOL THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
I’m open to hearing if there is!
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
I think it’s important to have your voice and authority in there, so do take time to work out what exactly it is you’re trying to achieve by setting up your platform, and who it’s for. Secondly, track your data. Of course, you can gradually work both of these things out as you go along, as I have (but often forget to!), but if I were to do one again that’s what I’d do…