In 2007 I started a blog called “Colorhungry,” joining the legions of people starting food and cooking blogs. I reasoned that #1 I knew how to cook thanks to my grandma, who insisted that I learn, “not to feed a husband,” but to feed myself; and #2 I passionately loved to write. Obviously, I thought, this would make for a SMASHING success. My overactive imagination (taking a break from pairing me up with Ryan Reynolds- don’t judge) conjured up thoughts of appearances on Oprah and an invitation to join the Food Network. I laugh hysterically thinking about this now, because let me just tell you- I got a pretty rude wakeup call and it happened much faster than I could have imagined.
I have nothing at all against cooking or food blogs. So, why did I pretty quickly grow to loathe my blog? I resented it. Every meal became about “Can I put this on the blog?” It stopped being about the love of food and cooking because it was about getting the perfect shot and writing down a delicious sounding, easy-to-follow recipe (I have so much respect for recipe developers). The writing started to feel routine and contrived. Photographing while cooking? Terrible. The steam fogs up the lens and you constantly have to wash your hands so you don’t get the camera dirty (and you better keep tons of hand lotion on hand to prevent a rhinoceros-like skin texture). In the search for the perfect shot, the food often goes cold or loses its luster. Often, by the time I took a halfway decent picture in crappy light, I was either starving or so frustrated that if I so much as looked at the food for another minute, I was liable to throw a very unflattering fit (don’t judge).
Blogging and writing became a chore because I had boxed myself into this little niche and once I established it, it was very difficult to get out of it. When you’ve built up one small facet of yourself and that’s all you’ve shown because you THINK that’s what people want, you figure that’s what people expect. I felt trapped. I never felt like I could write about what I wanted to write about- it was a food/cooking blog and that was that. Towards the end of Colorhungry, I tried to infuse it with a little more of my actual personality, but by that point, I had lost any passion I might have once had and it felt like too big of a task to try to change it when I wasn’t motivated to do it.
Now, the purpose of this post is NOT to disparage food/cooking blogs. On the contrary, there are several that I still read and one of my dearest friends in the world is a food/cooking blogger, with a fabulous blog, in which she often branches out of the food/cooking box. My point with this post is simple. Blogging only works well when you feel something about what it is you are writing about. When your writing lacks soul (whether it be passion, interest, humor, etc), it all too often becomes a chore for you and formulaic for readers. I see so many well-established blogs, of all different persuasions, floundering because the writers have not allowed their blogs to change WITH them. Blogging burnout is NOT a mythical creature.
I started this blog because I was itching to write again, but this time I wanted to leave myself open to possibilities. There are so many facets to me- who I am, what I do, what I love, how I perceive the world, that it would be a disservice to MYSELF to limit opportunities. This time it’s not about how many readers/followers I can get. It’s not about perks. It’s not about anything other than the sheer love of writing. Don’t misunderstand- I am SO THANKFUL to and humbled by everyone who reads and likes this little blog of mine. This time around, though, when someone responds and connects with me or what I write, it’s just a little sweeter because I know its ME that they’re responding to. There are A LOT of “theme” blogs out there right now- so many genres to choose from. I think it’s ok not to fit yourself into a category. I can honestly say that I have a lot more fun that way.