There’s been some talk about the world of food blogging going around lately (in particular about reasons we blog and getting caught up in “all of it”), but recently I was struck the hardest by Michelle’s piece and Kathryn’s piece. They’ve inspired me to share some of my own thoughts on why I do this whole blogging thing in the first place and the kinds of struggles it presents.
First and foremost, I started this blog as a way to share my love of food while also creating personal artwork and sharing that with the world. I do it because I love it – why else would I spend 20+ hours a week on this thing (on top of my full time job)? Sure, there are nights when I’m staying up past midnight to finish a post and I wonder why I’m doing this to myself, but I also know that if I stopped doing it, the itch would be too strong not to come back to it. There’s a reason why I think about it all the time, about the posts I want to do on here, and why my blog is already planned out for the next 4 months: It’s my passion and it’s a perfect combination of so many things I love. It fulfills me creatively in a way that nothing else probably could.
But I won’t lie – I’d love to make a living from this space some day, and that’s part of the reason for why I started it as well. You know why? It’s my dream job. Why wouldn’t I aspire to become a professional at my ideal profession? It’s no different than someone going to med school who wants to be a doctor. It just looks a little different. And here’s where the hard part comes in: In order to make a living at this food blogging thing, you need to have a large following and you need to do things to make money from it. So obviously it can be difficult when you feel like your page views aren’t high enough, or your Facebook/Instagram page doesn’t have enough followers, etc. It’s a legitimate concern and it can make you feel like you’re doing something wrong.
But here’s the other thing: if I’m not blogging in a way that I love, then I don’t want to be making money doing that anyway. I could do any other job for that same kind of gratification. I made a list of goals for this blog before I launched it, and I often have to remind myself to look back at those to make sure I’m still on track with my initial intentions for this space. Those goals include things like “have fun,” “befriend other bloggers,” “develop some fun recipes,” “enjoy writing,” etc. Check, check, check and check. I’m already succeeding with this space on many levels, so when I get down on myself thinking that I’m “not enough,” I have to remember that.
And that’s why I do posts like this #Commute series or even my “Things I’m Loving” posts. They may not be my most popular posts and they’re not necessarily about food, but I know some of you enjoy them (and I really appreciate that). But most importantly, they are things I feel compelled to share and they help to keep this space interesting for me.
If you come to my blog mostly to look at the pictures and scroll down for a recipe, that’s fine. But the blogs I personally love the most are the ones where I connect with the author. I come back because I enjoy their words and reading about their lives. (No, you are NOT boring, in my opinion.) If I’m boring to you, that just means I’m not the right blogger for you and that’s totally fine. Throughout this process I’ve been trying to encourage myself to just write the blog I want to write, and trust that my ideal readers will follow. If this leads to something else (freelance work, sponsorship opportunities that are a great fit for me, a full-time job down the road, etc.), then that’s great. But my philosophy is to create the work I want to be doing, and then hopefully someone else will eventually pay me to do it. I can’t get there by creating content just because I think someone else wants it.
So yes, I’d love to have 100K Instagram followers and have one of my recipes go crazy on Pinterest, but I started this blog to do something I love as an outlet, and I have to keep that in perspective. I’m doing my best to let this weird thing take off naturally and organically while also not beating myself up when I don’t gain 100 new Facebook likes every week. It’s a daily struggle, but I’m working on it.
Is this all making sense? I’d love to hear your perspective on this, both as a reader and a blogger. And if you actually read my rant, thanks.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, about this picture: When you guys voted last month on which #commute pic I should paint next, this one was a very close second. Below you can see the original Instagram pic next to the final painting. And you can read more about why I started this series here.
Thanks for being here! I appreciate you.