Spache the Spatula

What I’m Still Learning About Blogging

Rookie BloggingToday I kinda just feel like rambling and getting a few things off my chest, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I want to talk a little about some stuff that after 5 years of blogging, I’m just now starting to figure out…

Because I am the product of an English degree, and I love writing essays, that’s kinda how this post is going to look (only not quite as succinct, and with a few sections).

The sections I want to cover are:

  • Finding a Voice
  • Recipes
  • Criticism
  • Expectations

Finding a Voice

I feel like I often lose sight of the fact that this is my blog, and I can say or post what ever I want on it. I mean… I know it’s mine, but I feel like I’m constantly worrying about things like if people will like what I post, if I’m creative enough, if I’ve managed to inject any of my own voice into my writing, if people will like the me that I put in writing, if my words will offend anyone, etc.

I always say (to Mikey) that the most difficult part of my posts is the writing. As someone who LOVES writing, this absolutely should not be the case. The photo-taking, the editing, and writing up the recipes are processes that I’ve become used to, and can accomplish pretty mindlessly at this point (even if they are time-consuming), but I draw a huge blank when it comes to the surrounding text.

In day-to-day life, I’m actually a really outspoken person, though quite shy in new situations. I think the issue here is that even though I’ve been blogging for years, it still feels like a new situation. In real life, you can pick up on how people are feeling, and what their reactions to you are, but it’s so much different on the internet. You have the potential to be reaching tons and tons of people who you might never meet, but they will still form an opinion about you. Basically, it’s like being a room full of strangers that you can never introduce yourself to, and they all might be talking about you, but you’re not sure—disconcerting, right?

I love making people happy (which is a HUGE reason I love sharing food with people!), and I really don’t like to be disliked. But is it really possible to know if you’re liked or disliked on the internet? I think that’s why I tend to leave so much of myself out of my posts, so no one can form a true opinion.

Here on my blog, I spend a lot of time trying decipher what people want to hear, instead of just saying what I want to say. But you know what? It’s a hell of a lot easier to be yourself, and not worry about the rest.

Actually, this is the easiest post I’ve ever written because it’s 100% me, and basically a transcription of the thoughts swirling around in my crazy brain.

Recipes

In much the same vein as the section above, I’ve struggled with whether or not my recipes are things other people would like or care about…you know, whether or not they are “Pinterest-y.”

Sometimes I’ll post a recipe that I’m absolutely in love with, and it gets almost no attention (like these all-homemade bagel bites…c’mon guys…that’s basically your childhood all grown up…). Then I’ll post something that I thought was totally stupid and almost didn’t post, and suddenly it’s sending thousands of visits to my blog. Huh?!

Fortunately for my sanity, I kinda gave up on guessing what people like in terms of recipes a while ago, and have stuck with posting things that I like, and know are delicious.

That still doesn’t change the fact that I feel utter and complete confusion over seeing a recipe on Pinterest, for ham slices stuffed into a muffin tin and filled with canned pasta sauce and cheese, getting thousands of re-pins. I mean…I know my aversion to ham might make me slightly biased, but WTF people???

Criticism

This is actually the thing that spurred this post. I came across a website that is basically dedicated to bashing blogs. When I realized they had a section for food blogs, and that some of my very favorite blogs had hundreds and thousands of proclamations of hate, something clicked.

You can’t please everyone, and you damn sure shouldn’t try because there are always going to be people who dislike you for no reason—especially on the internet.

As a people pleaser, it’s insanely difficult for me to see hate or criticism, and not want to find out why, or how I could fix it. I know that 9 times out of 10, it’s a fool’s errand, and I’m definitely trying to overcome it. It’s especially hilarious because my food blog is just a tiny teeny speck on the internet, and there isn’t even that much criticism to be had. On the other hand, Mikey is helping to make Halo 5—part of a franchise with a rabid, passionate fan base that is not afraid to say exactly what they think, or pile on the criticism, and it doesn’t phase him at all.

I need some tougher skin, I think!

Expectations

The rest of the sections deal with everyone else’s expectations, but this one is all about personal expectations—what I think my blog should be, where it should be, etc.

It’s super easy to get caught up comparing yourself to everyone else. This is true for life in general, but when it comes to your aspirations for your career, and especially something that is your life’s passion, it seems even more so. I’ve totally driven myself crazy before wondering how blogs that have been around less than a year are somehow so popular, or if my content is nothing new or interesting, and—the thought I vocalize the most aloud to Mikey— whether or not there is a secret food blogging club that everyone else is privy to but me (lol). Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing something wrong because I’m not where others are. Sometimes I wonder if I’m expected to be using a more professional tone on my blog because I see it on others. Sometimes I wonder where everyone is getting this ridiculous surplus of gorgeous antique props…

It’s impossible to know everyone’s situation and you can’t be anyone but you. This is something that I hope I can not only be better at accepting, but celebrating! It’s exhausting to worry about everyone else, and just worrying about myself is a big enough task as it is!

If you stuck it through to the end of this long, somewhat ramble-y post, you deserve a serious pat on the back. I hope I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing here, and is just kinda fumbling through it. I hope that I can bring a bit more authenticity to my posts from here on out, and not be scared of just being myself.

   

7 Responses to “What I’m Still Learning About Blogging”

  1. Oana — April 7, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Totally with you on this. But I think you’re doing a great job with your recipes and pictures so keep up the good work. 
    I was actually thinking about this the other day and my conclusion was that my blog needs to be about the things I like in the first place and not become a bussiness where I actually think of things people would like and post about that over my own likings. My most beautiful cakes – my entremets – rarely get much attention, but they speak the most about myself so I’m not going to give up on that just because they’re not pinned as much as other recipes. In the end, this is my passion and followers will come, slowly, but steadily, just gotta keep doing it and, like you say, be yourself through this whole process.

    • Rachael replied: — April 7th, 2015 @ 7:48 am

      Your words ring so true to me, Oana. Blogging is a process of discovery, that’s for sure. The one thing I’ve always been super concerned about is coming off as inauthentic in any way. Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re able to lift the veil, so to speak, and show people the “real” you.
      And thank you so much! Your cakes and photos are absolutely gorgeous, so it’s reassuring in a way to know that even you are dealing with some of the same things 🙂

  2. Maren — April 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Great read, Rachel. I just came across your blog the other day and re-visited it to find this post. It can be very frustrating and distracting to worry about many of those aforementioned obstacles and issues! It’s refreshing to hear you talk so openly about them and remind us all to not get so caught up with the criticisms or the fear of criticism. Fear can halt our creativity and like you said, we can’t please everyone, so we might as well do what makes up happy and hope it does the same for someone else out there, right? That’s the fun of having a blog! You take great Pinterest-y pics by the way 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to your future posts!

    • Rachael replied: — April 7th, 2015 @ 6:03 pm

      Thank you so much for this, Maren! And it is definitely both frustrating and distracting, but also exhausting to worry about everyone else. When I started voicing my fears and frustrations with my boyfriend he basically just said, “You love cooking, I know it makes you happy. Why are you letting others dictate your happiness? Just do what makes you happy”
      It all sounds so simple when put like that!
      Aw and I so appreciate the comment about Pinterest-y pics, haha 😛

  3. Kathi @ Laughing Spatula — April 8, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Obviously we were separated at birth…well, I would be your very older sister 🙂  My daughter is Rachel.  We both have Spatula in our blog names and everything you just said is true for me…I just wish I would have said it!
    Your blog is lovely – so are you…keep up the good work!  I’ll be back to visit soon!
    Kathi

  4. Kathi @ Laughing Spatula — April 8, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Part 2 – You live in Seattle…guess what..so do I!

    • Rachael replied: — April 8th, 2015 @ 10:18 am

      Haha, oh my gosh! That’s too funny! I’m so glad you can relate to my words. It’s so nice knowing you’re not just a crazy person whose experience is totally different from everyone else’s.

      I’m so glad I now know of a local person to connect with!

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