Writing this blog is a passion of mine which I accidentally fell into a few years ago (I set up the website and started writing as a way to keep me busy whilst housebound for a long period of time after major surgeries). At a food blogger workshop some eighteen months ago, I got frustrated with one of the workshop coaches as she critiqued my website over lunch, she was critical of quite a few things on my site, quite rightly so I guess, it’s never easy receiving feedback about something you are passionate about and which you have spent time nurturing, albeit in an unplanned and uncoordinated way. You know what I said to her in response to her feedback ? “I’m An Accidental Blogger and passionate foodie” . The moment I said those words, I knew they resonated with me and I was giving a voice to what this blog is all about. It’s my “labour of love”, one which doesn’t pay in monetary terms – actually it costs me money to host the site, to pay for meals, taxis, a decent phone, camera etc, then there’s the hidden ‘costs’ time spent researching, editing photos, writing posts etc
Can Passion Turn into a Burden?
If you are not careful your passion can become a burden, you suddenly find yourself thinking about to find new and interesting things to write about, how to put a new angle on something to engage your readers, working to deadlines – mostly self imposed (remember this isn’t a paying job) wondering if anyone reads your work, wondering how you can get more people to read your work because of course you want your readership stats to be high, you start benchmarking your numbers against others, worrying about are you good enough, is your blog interesting enough, on social media, do you have the right number of followers, are you interacting and engaging them enough, you find yourself trying to keep up with reading blog posts from your favourite bloggers and the list keeps getting longer and longer, and keeping up to date with food trends, new openings, etc – it can be exhausting – if you let it ….
Be Prepared to be Criticised …
Having pushed your blog out into the public domain, (I actually never thought anyone would read what I wrote), you have to be prepared for praise and criticism of your work too – I vividly remember getting absolutely blasted on twitter for tweeting that I had been disappointed about my trip to a recently opened venue – my trip had left me disappointed and I shared this, but was blasted with comments that I was wrong! I remain committed to the fact that we are entitled to form and have our own opinions based on our experiences, and that’s important to me and for the integrity of my blog, after all if we are not paid to write the words, then we should at least be entitled to voice our own opinions on our experiences without being libellous of course.
On Cooking ..
If you cook for your blog, as I sometimes do, then you find yourself cooking a main meal at 7 am in the morning so that you can get some good light to take photos – who else does that ?? You find yourself with a ‘prop’ cupboard or box – with a whole range of serviettes, napkins, tea towels that act as backdrops to your photos, it’s full of single plates, cups, mugs, cutlery, old tins, utensils etc to showcase your food. You know where in your apartment you get the best natural light and your friends are used to you taking them a cake as a gift, which has already had a slice taken out (you inserted it back again…), just so you could get a perfect shot for the blog before you gifted it to them.
On dining out
Everyone knows not to take a bite of their meal before you’ve shot a few pics, first with the phone for your Instagram feed, you take several shots but will likely only use one or two, then you move in with your fancy camera, shifting and turning the dishes around until you are happy, then perhaps a top shot or two, a staged handshot – “can everyone just hold their glasses like so” … click … perfect !” and finally you say you have your slots and everyone breaths a sigh of relief as you tell them “you can eat now” … until … “can you just hold your sushi like that, yes in the chopsticks, a little higher,can you just pour some soy sauce from there, no there, a little higher” … click …. Of course, you’ve probably guessed by now,that we never eat anything piping hot, by the time we’ve taken a shot of our food from most angles it’s a little cooler than when it first made it to the table….
You get ‘spotted’ …
After awhile, if you are lucky, your work starts to get ‘spotted’ and you get attention from PR companies who like how you write etc and you start to get invitations to attend events, previews, an opportunity to writer a review etc, you might even get asked to be featured in a magazine or to share your recipes etc – there’s much to say on this topic – so I’ll save it for another post, all I will say is that whilst it’s flattering, there are obligations too and you need to figure out how you will deal with these.
You morph Into your Blog ..
So after a while and almost without you knowing because it creeps up on you slowly, something that started out as a hobby/passion turns into something that’s a bit more like a mini ‘obsession’ it’s more consuming than you first thought and without taking it in you kind of morph into and become your blog – I often find myself introducing myself at events as Coffee Cakes And Running or BettybooDubai (my twitter handle)…..
And to Summarise : …
So how to close, for it’s a long post already … wellI I will sum up by saying that I love writing this blog, I love interacting on social media, I love all of the experiences, new friends and opportunities that the blog has brought me and I love sharing, in a humorous way I hope, some of the ups and downs of being a blogger – I’ve merely skimmed the surface really – there’s lots more to share – but first I must run, to make a coffee and find a cake ….
Signing off now, from Coffee Cakes And Running, BettybooDubai and finally from Debbie ….