I get asked fairly often–maybe because I’m a teacher and we are supposed to be fonts of wisdom?–if I have any advice for new bloggers, any tips or tricks about starting blogs and ‘getting into’ the blog community. [Just recently, I even turned down the opportunity to speak on a panel at HLS2012 on that exact topic.]
Generally, my respnse falls along the lines of the following:
“Make sure you are starting a blog for you. Don’t get caught up in trying to be ‘the best’ blogger, or mimic other bloggers, or worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t blog for the free stuff, or for the possibility of getting a book deal, or with the intention of turning it into a job. Don’t worry about how many comments you’re getting. Blog because you have something to say and you need to say it! Opportunities will come with time, as will friendships through blogging, but make sure you keep everything in perspective.”
But lately, as these words come out of my mouth, I hear the internal voice accusing me relentlessly: You, Miss Smart, are a big (but not fat) hypocrite.Because although I haven’t forgotten why I started blogging, or what I have loved about it, my blog has not–at least for the past little while–felt very much like me.I used to blog because I had a lot of interesting things to say. I was full to bursting with stories about food, ideas about food history and food culture, food memories, and constant inspiration. Recipes were constantly churning around in my head just waiting to be let out through my hands.
But lately I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I blog because it is what I do. The recipes aren’t particulalry inspired, or particularly creative, and hypocritical me has wasted a lot of energy worrying about readership, wondering why I only get lots of comments when I’m giving something away, trying to figure out how to create ‘the next big thing’ in envy of how well other people seem to concoct delicious looking recipes every single day, and being jealous of the free products other people get when I feel like my blog is ‘just as good.’
And that is NOT what blogging should be about.
I want to justify this. I want to say, “But I love blogging! I love it so much!”
But from my experience, justification is only necessary when you are doing something you know is wrong.
And do I? Do I love it?
Is my heart really in it anymore?
What it comes down to, I think is this: there are a number of things I’m good at–
- Coming up with 800 variations on the same thing (hummus? avocado sauce? bean + grain burger mush?)
- Spreading joy, happiness, community
- Pretending like I have it all together
There are also a number of things I’m NOT good at:
- Giving up on obligations
- Dealing with stress
- Actually keeping it all together
I always said when your blog starts feeling like an obligation, you should stop. But hypocritical me struck again–see “things I’m not good at: giving up on obligations”–and I’ve been blogging every weekday even when I haven’t felt like it, when I would have rather just sat and talked to my roommate, read a book, or finally hang art or unpack boxes still waiting from my move in June–see “life is a bit of a mess.”
The truth is, I’m not all that interested in the same things any more.
I still enjoy experiencing culinary creativity, thrive on talking and teaching people about food, seek out weird new products, and LOVE my friends through blogging.
But I don’t cook very much. I assemble.
But my heart? Well at least right now it’s not 100% here.
It’s here.And in here.And running away in these.Oh, and it is DEFINITELY on Instagram.
So, I’m not giving up blogging. Not really. I’m just giving up the blog as an obligation.
I will stop being a hypocrite.
I will stop worrying about the number of comments I’ve received or how much free stuff other bloggers are getting. I will just blog to blog.
I will blog only when I have something to say.*
*Even if the something to say is a review of a product I’ve already committed to blogging about, or giving away.
This might be every day for a week. It might be once every three days.
It might just be to pop in and officially release the fall and winter flavors of Nutty Butter.
We’ll call it a blog reduction (since I don’t have boobs to speak of).
Is it scary to give up (even only somewhat) something you have used to define yourself for so long? You betcha. But here goes…