Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Turning My Table

There are so many people out there who are doing what I merely try to do, and that is to be a food blogger.  Granted most of these people do this full-time, and they have beautifully designed and well organized blogs and websites.  It's their job. For me, this is not my job, though I wish it were. I don't get paid for any of my ideas, my posts, or my recipes. To some this may sound absolutely crazy.  The goal of course is to turn this in to something... some day.  Most of my spare time I'm posting on Facebook or writing up a recipe.  Just ask my family and they will tell you I spend too much time on my iPad or iPhone. I am always searching for something to post about or to cook. I do this out of the shear joy and pleasure that cooking gives me. 

I have looked at many food blogs over the last year.  I am amazed at the talent that is out there, and the passion that all of these food enthusiasts have. Most of these people appear to be regular people, not trained chefs. Some are moms and wives, some are single and young. They share their daily cooking experiences and what is going on in their lives. Some bloggers share in such detail, it is as if they know their audience. And they have hundreds or thousands of people who "follow" their every post. Typically, I am a private person. I don't share much with just anyone. If I truly feel comfortable with you I will tell you my life story, and if I have had a couple of glasses of wine then watch out.  I become that person who comically forgets to filter, inhibitions are down, I am over flowing with opinions, and I could babble on about any topic. But, I don't think people write their blogs while they're buzzed, though it would be pretty funny.  So, I have to find something to talk about.  What will I write about that will be different than what everyone else is writing about? Why would people want to read about what I'm doing?  What's my angle?  This is a hard question for me to answer myself, because I am literally all over the place.  Call it BADD, Blogger Attention Deficit Disorder.

So, what's a self proclaimed foodie to do?  How do these men and woman appeal to so many people?  What makes one blog better than another?  Hard to say, right?  Is it purely personal preference?  Some of these bloggers don't even write well, me included, and yet they are highly likable.  Is it because the experiences that they share are so "real"?  Can we relate to their situations? The answer is yes. It is likability of the writer, and the audiences connection with them. People make a connection with the blogger when they write about how little Johnny is a picky eater, or how their husband only likes meat and potatoes, or oh no, the in laws are coming for dinner.  Sometimes what they are writing isn't about food at all.  It is just what they did that day.  There are some blogs that do have their own niche, like just focusing on baking, or slow cooker recipes, or quick and easy meals, yet they still throw in those personal situations that we all can relate to.  Some bloggers are even working for food brands and they are creating recipes using what ever product they are representing, while weaving in their personal stories and touches. While reader appeal is important there is another key ingredient of the successful blogger. There have been studies done of when the right time is to blog or post and how often.  There are certain times of the day when people are more likely to view their computer, or to check out Facebook.  These professional bloggers have got it down to a science, and it is making them very successful.  Some food bloggers have even gone on to publish cookbooks, that is how popular their blog and/or websites are. For a person with BADD, such as myself, the regimented way of blogging seems impossible to me since my mind is constantly racing with ideas and with things I want to try and do. For me, I want to do it all, when I want to do it.  I do not like to follow the rules, or the norm, or the crowd.  I am who I am.  Should I have to change, or do I make it work for me?

In thinking about all of this, what would set me apart from the rest? How do I get more followers?  Maybe I should have called my blog the "Spontaneous Table".  I am a horrible week night dinner planner.  I am not one of those who makes weekly grocery lists, nor do I plan every nights meal in advanced.  I cook what ever inspires me at the moment. It really is like having ADD.  I can't focus on the whole week.  I look at each day as it comes, because every day can be different.  Having teenagers will do this to you. The only time I truly plan out everything is when I am hosting a party. Then there are numerous lists, and some how I manage a party much better than I do a typical week. Maybe I should think of the week as an extended party? Should I write about the difficulties of putting dinner together? That doesn't seem very positive. I want to help people to cook, not to be afraid of it.

Maybe my blog should have been called "The Moody Table"?  Sometimes everyone doesn't want to eat the same thing or there was someone who wasn't hungry, or not going to be home for dinner. There were times "girl drama" gave way to a lost appetite for the moment, and "soar muscles" from a basketball game didn't want to get off the couch.  There was also the time that "man of the house" was on a health kick and only ate pre-packaged diet food.  I did it too, and it was a "moody table".  That was the worst.  And even though I love to cook there were the times I didn't feel like it. I could write about all those times. But, that isn't the way it is all the time.  I wonder how "real" some of the posts of food bloggers are.  Does the recipe really come out perfectly all the time?  Did the whole family really love it?  Let's hear about the bad recipes and the bad moods once in a while. Those would be situations that we all could relate to, right?

I could just continue to wing it, for this isn't my full-time job.  I could continue to write when I feel like it, and write about what ever I want to, share a recipe when I want to, and not worry about the food blogging mill. I could continue to choose to share on Facebook at any time of the day or night, and not worry about who is going to see it, like it or comment on it.  Maybe I'll turn the tables a bit and make it work for me, one recipe and one Facebook follower at a time.  Maybe this is just greasing the wheels, and when I am able to do this full-time I will be ready to jump in with both feet at the same time, instead of like now with one foot, and I'll have a better understanding of which direction I want to go in.  The door is wide open, and my table will always be there.


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