The life of a blogger is an interesting one. You spend your days doing all the activities that you “need” to do– laundry, picking up kids from school, cooking, getting groceries, taking the car to the garage, and cleaning up the occasional “Mommy, I need help. I dropped my peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the carpet, and the baby is playing in it.” Or how about, “No, I did NOT say to put the library books in the bathtub. Yes I KNOW I said you could read them anytime.” *massages temples.
Yeah. Something like that.
In addition to that, at least for food blogs, the frazzle brained CreaTOR (please say that in a pseudo-French accent. It sounds ooh-la-la so much better. haha) must constantly create and invent fun and interesting things. She must somehow snatch the macaroni and cheese out of the oven, style it, drizzle cheese oh-so-temptingly overtop of it, and take its photo, all while fending off kids who are climbing on her legs shouting “Mommmmeeeeeeee!!!!!! I’m HUNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!” Sometimes you are up late, snapping or editing photos. Maybe you are creating photo backgrounds or mixing paint (and thereby getting paint ALLLLL over yourself) for said backgrounds. Maybe you are reading up on photo techniques, or working through thousands of photos on photoshop, trying to find the one that is *just* the right angle. Or sometimes you grab the casserole from under your family’s grumbling mouths, style a photo in a few seconds, fend off the mini tornadoes long enough to set up the tripod, and snap a few shots. You edit the pictures. They look fantastic. You’re so happy.
THEN, you sit down to edit said photos and eat. Because, you know– you’re a mom, and everyone knows that if moms ate food while it was hot the earth would stop rotating or something. After you get the food cut up on everyone’s respective plates (Oops, sorry husband. You now have finely diced meat. It’s habit), you take your photos, and you put a bite of that casserole into your mouth. And . . . you chew. And you take another bite. And you chew again. You raise an eyebrow. And you know what?
This casserole really ISN’T THAT GOOD.
I mean, it’s OK. It’s a new recipe. You tried something new. It’s one of those “I’m glad for something new but I won’t make this again” type things.
And then you are faced with a bewitching conundrum. Should you (A) blog about this recipe, because, you know. The photos look great, and you worked hard to make them. And you don’t have any other ideas. or, (B), refuse to lower your standards to nasty, icky recipes and not use said photos, even though they look amazing, and you’re very proud of them, and WHO WOULD REALLY KNOW ANYWAY??? Maybe your taste isn’t everyone’s. Maybe not everyone will take a bite and say, “Why did I waste the last hour of my life creating this?!?” *Maybe* it’s really not all that bad and you should use it.
Now just hold it right there Mister. Or, ma’am. Whomever happens to be reading this.
The above conundrum is one that food bloggers face often– almost every day, in fact. The sad fact is that there are a LOT of blogs out there. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of food blogs out there. And you can write your little heart out your entire life, and no one may ever hear of you. And you may never make any money. You may lose inspiration and get tired. You may, in a nutshell, hit the “blogging doldrums.”
The blogging doldrums happen to all of us, just as the doldrums have a way of hitting us in real life. You are working away one day, just plugging along, and then you stop. And you think. And you try to remember why you came upstairs. UGH. I can’t remember, and as *soon* as I walk back down, I will remember. Life happens. You have sports events, and school responsibilities. Work. Friends. Kids. Family. In all of that, sometimes life gets a little busy, and you don’t always have time to create a beautiful new recipe or experiment in the kitchen. Yes. SOMETIMES you get Subway on the way home, because you’re pooped after a long day hauling a 2 year old and 5 year old around to their umpteenth appointment. Sometimes you end the day wondering when was the last time you *actually* had a shower (*sniffs shirt worriedly). Sometimes you step on Legos at night. yes. Life hits you hard sometimes.
SOOOO . . . . what to DO when those doldrums hit? Well, there are a bunch of different things you can do when life gets busy and you don’t have time to make a new recipe. I have some ideas of my own, and I’d love to hear any ideas you might have too. 😉 OK here is my list of top “non-food-blog” ideas. 🙂 Are you ready? I hope so. 😉
Revisit an Old Recipe
Obviously, you don’t want to overdo this one. But it’s perfectly OK to mention a recipe you’ve done in the past, once in a while. Many times when I make a recipe for supper, I think to myself, “What were my photos like the last time I made this?” If they were early, um . . . “rustic?” photos, then I redo and repost. It’s much quicker to take another, better photo than to re-write an entire post. As long as you don’t do it every time you post, revisiting an old recipe can be a great way to save time on the busy days.
Share Another Blogger’s Content
Now HOLD THE PHONE HERE. I am in no way suggesting that you steal someone’s work as your own. But I’m just saying that sometimes it’s OK to share another blogger’s post (with their permission and page given credit, obviously). This is not only a way to mix up the content you usually post, but to share the love with other bloggers who will appreciate having a little extra love given to the recipe they created.
Do a Guest Post
For a while I did a feature called “Meet the Neighbors” every Monday on this ‘shere blog. I had a template of 5 questions that each blogger answered, and then I would also share one of their recipes and say a little bit about what type of food they specialized in. It was a great way to have an interesting article without creating a recipe every time, and it was also a great way to meet amazing food bloggers such as Melissa Radcliffe and Chrissy Barua, two of many amazing bloggers I still follow and keep in touch with after that experience. 🙂
Do a Tutorial
You know what the funny thing is about food blogs? You expect that people might come there to read, um . . . FOOD content. You put unrealistic expectations on yourself and think “ohmygoodnessineedtocreatenewrecipeseverysingledayortheywillhatemeandstopreading.” Or something like that. 😉 Face it. It’s not humanly possible to create new recipes every time you cook. The reason we have old favorites is because . . . we make them A LOT. Sure. Sometimes it’s nice to try a new recipe, but it’s not a bad thing to branch out of your “recipe” groove and stick with your genre in other ways. Try tutorials. For food blogs, it may take the form of food photo tutorials. Remember our tutorials on Food Photography Props and how to make Food Photography Backgrounds? Yep. Those came about because (1) I can’t think of new recipes all the time. I mean . . . I’m not a food robot. haha. 😉 and (2) I wanted to shake it up a little bit and do something different. And you know what? It was fun. 🙂
Write About Your Life
I know this is earth shattering. Really. But you. are. the. boss. here. Yep. This is your blog, and you can write about what you want. Obviously, you don’t want to write little pithy things all the time. Don’t just rip off random content to fill your blog. Pick topics that really matter to you. I wrote about my son, here. I wrote about the loss of my dear friend Jesse, here. I wrote from my heart, because the words poured from me during those times. They begged to be written. Write when you must. Write when your soul swells with the words. Write when your heart speaks. And don’t worry about whether you’re writing every day or only once a week. Write your heart. And the viewers will follow.
Don’t be Afraid to Take a Break
When I first started blogging (almost 2 years ago if you can believe that. It seems like yesterday), I thought, “If I don’t write SOMETHING every day, then people will stop reading. They will get tired. I must write every single day. And I sat there staring at the screen like that monkey in Toy Story 3 stalking the monitors. *CREATE YOU FOOL!!! CREATE!!!* And I burned out quickly. Now, I pace myself better. I realize that I don’t write for the page views. They are nice, but I write because I must. I simply must create this little bit of madness in my corner of the world. I must have my hands messy with flour and my camera out. It brings my soul such effervescent joy to do so. And I also must stay true to high quality. If a recipe is bad, then I don’t post it. If I feel like taking pictures of candles and cheese and bread (voila!), and totally ignoring the recipe thing once in a while, then I do it. And I go with what makes me grow– as a photographer and as a blogger. I try to learn something new every day. And, even then, sometimes life gets in the way. Don’t go silent for months, but in the event that life is too busy for you to create something, don’t be afraid to take a little break on a slow week. I would rather wait to read something good, than to sift through 2 or 3 “meh” pieces that someone threw together at the last minute.
Remember why you started a blog in the first place? You probably thought it would be fun. It might be a way to express your creativity or write your thoughts. Don’t let something beautiful that was once an outlet of creativity become a slave driver that sucks the life from your soul.
Do what you love. And the blog will follow.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you. 😉
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