Yup ! It’s been too long … I’ve had a long hot summer here in Dubai and have barely written a post on CoffeeCakesAndRunning since I wrote about fasting during Ramadan. Sometimes, I get what I will call “bloggers block”!
Every now and again I take a break from writing, it’s not a planned one, it kind of just happens, and if I’m honest just for a short while I fall out of love from blogging – yup truly I do. I started my blog as something to do whilst recovering from surgery, a way to learn new skills and keep me occupied whilst I was housebound for four months. My blog developed into a space to write about things that interested and excited me and, after some gently persuasion, also to share some personal and true stories of what was going on in my life and my real challenges with getting a balance between my love of good food and coffee and an ever increasing waistline which needed some drastic action. And hence the name of the website – CoffeeCakesAndRunning in it’s broadest sense I was sharing my experience about Eating, Drinking, Exercise with some travel too – all things that I loved, though to be honest exercise is a ‘love / hate’ thing – mostly I’m in love with it and the buzz it gives me when I’m making progress and seeing progress, when I realise just how much exercise I have to do to burn off a Mille Feuille then it’s a hate thing LOL – but hey, life is all about choices huh?.
After a while the blog got recognised and then the invites from PR companies and restaurants etc began to flow. At first it’s flattering after all who doesn’t like visiting lovely restaurants, getting sneak peaks into the kitchens, chatting to Chefs, meeting fellow foodies and being social? But you know, the saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” Milton Friedman, well of course it’s true – the invite comes with expectations usually that you will write about your experience and share it with others, which at the start is easy to do and doesn’t take too much time. After a while it becomes difficult to manage as you just can’t go to everything you get an invite to, (the invites get more regular and suddenly you have multiple invites for the same evening). Not only this, but you don’t have the time to write about everything since you spend more time on your posts, and your photos, once quickly shot on a phone or basic camera, take more time to take since you are always trying to get better shots, and take longer to edit and upload. Also, dining on the back of an invite is a very different experience than dining with no expectations as you are always ‘on duty’ observing service, making notes about the food, looking for good light for photos etc and sometimes I’ve reached home having dined but not experienced the evening at all being lost in the moment of trying to capture the evening for the blog but not actually relishing in the moment.
The result of all of this, is that after a while unless you are very focussed, you get to a point where you lose clarify about why you started the blog and the sort of thing that you wanted to focus on and the blog becomes a chore and not a passion, this is what happened to me over the summer.
After a while the volume of invites and expectations put on you gets to a point where the inbox that used to be fun to manage turned into a chore, complete overload and if I’m completely honest produced pressure that I just didn’t need, you see writing on my blog isn’t what pays my bills it’s just something I do in my spare time, it’s supposed to be fun. It rarely makes me any money, in fact it costs me money to host my website, buy my equipment, travel to and from events etc all from my own pocket. The great thing is that as the blog is not a paid for blog, I’m free to take a break when I choose to do so without pressure.
So where does that leave me? Well – I’ve come out of my hibernation feeling renewed and full of energy and with an action plan that’s led by me.
- CoffeeCakesAndRunning website is going to be completely resigned so it’s easier to read and navigate through plus it will be hosted on a different platform giving me an opportunity to earn money from it with paid ads etc if I want to in the future, it also means I can do a lot more exciting things with my website in terms of it’s look and feel.
- I am going to write about things that interest me, be it travel, food and exercise or just life observations.
- I will only accept invites where I want to write about the topic/restaurant etc and not through a feeling of obligation.
- I will not provide my work for free for print publications in return for ‘exposure’ since this really doesn’t work
- I will always disclose where I was a guest or have been hosted – this is for my website, Facebook and instagram (I feel that my followers should be aware of this)
- I will always be honest and authentic to my readers and will only endorse things that I like, enjoy or genuine believe in.
I’m writing this post whilst sat at the gym, I’ve done a workout and I’m just waiting to do a class and I’m feeling happier than I have in a while. This is one of the quickest posts I’ve written and one of the easiest as it feels good to share and to also be confident about being authentic and going back to writing about what I started this blog for.
For the avoidance of doubt : this post is all about writing on my blog as CoffeeCakesAndRunning, and not about writing for my job which is Travel and Features Editor for FoodeMagdxb, as that’s a whole different space. Writing for the magazine is completely different than writing for the blog and I am working on how to make that clearer to everyone who contacts me as I don’t want to mislead of cause confusion.
When I’m working on FoodeMagdxb I’m focusing on deadlines, editorial calendars, marketing plans, creative ideas, Chef interviews, readership numbers etc and like any other job, the post, which I love, comes with responsibilities, relationships and obligations which are both professional and commercial.
Writing for CoffeeCakesAndRunning, is a completely unpaid passion project, born out of a desire to learn a new skill and to share experiences etc which has led to my role on FoodeMagdxb.
So dear PR Teams and Marketing Teams who I have met, built relationships with or who have added me to one of your distribution lists, please don’t be offended if I can’t or don’t accept all of your invites as CoffeeCakesAndRunning it’s not personal, but more about me writing for fun and pleasure about things that are of personal interest to me and fit my blog. On the flipside do please consider working with FoodeMagdxb in the future if you like the format of the magazine and our approach, we are a commercial e-magazine featuring the work of prominent bloggers in the region, we commission original content from respected bloggers, we work with clients on content driven marketing, we share our passion for food and travel with our readers in an engaging manner, we believe in paying our bloggers for their content and will be happy to send you our media kit on request.
And as for the featured image? Well I guess it just spoke to me on a few angles, I am rediscovering my love for travel and adventure, which always pairs perfectly with good food and I can and am in charge of where this little blog will take me.
I found it at BrainyQuote a fab place to look for inspiration.