Contemplation and changes afoot.

So I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about my online writing habits. Lately, I’ve gotten a bit burned out on the 20-or-more-posts-per-month minimum that I imposed upon myself for this blog earlier in the year, in an effort to get back into the habit of writing and posting. I actually kept to it for 3.5 months, and it definitely helped to get me back in a more creative frame of mind. Like any extreme diet (creative or culinary), however, something eventually had to give. It got to that point probably last month, when I was starting being too concerned over site traffic, adjusting content to audience demands, and whether or not to accept advertisements (I ended up taking one). All the stuff that starts happening as a blog matures, I guess.

Except, y’know, the point of my doing it all was just to have a fun place to throw up stuff that made me happy, to share with friends. This was never meant to be a “serious” food blog, and I think I forgot that at some point. Having it become another obligation was never part of the deal. The whole reason I started blogging more about food and gardening, rather than the stuff I was professionally involved in (costuming/wardrobe for the entertainment sector), was because it provided a lovely sense of escapism. Working in a fickle industry trying to harness fleeting trends, on a per-gig basis with fluctuating hours, always having to be three steps ahead with several emergency backup plans just to keep things running smoothly… it was nice to spend weekends puttering away in the kitchen, working off of fixed ingredient ratios and pre-planned menus, knowing that I had control over every aspect of the whats, when, and hows. Not to mention the instant gratification of being able to eat it afterwards, and know exactly where all that time and energy went.

Yeah, the cooking part is still fun. Heck, food is fun, period. Flip the remote to the Food Network and you’ll see lots of smiling, happy people with rosy cheeks and full wine glasses. Flip the remote to the Style Network and you’ll see lots of stressed, gaunt-looking people flailing around and making bitchy remarks. There’s something inherently honest about cooking — you don’t hear people saying that you’re “too close to the dish” to be able to tell if it’s good or not, you can tell if it tastes like crap and you can figure out a way to fix it. With a design, you might very well be able to pass it off as “artistic” because views vary so widely. And vice versa — you might meet somebody with the most appalling taste in clothes, but be utterly incapable of convincing them this is so, despite having a full education in aesthetics, trend charts and the majority of the media behind you. Taste in food varies, of course, but there’s generally wider agreement across a population over what tastes nasty and burnt, for example.

As most of you know, the work stuff continued to get more chaotic and frustratingly ineffectual until I eventually ended up just throwing the towel in and fleeing the country when the opportunity (in the form of the fiancé’s visa expiring) presented itself. While being a grand new adventure, this move also presented a new set of problems, of course. The most pressing one being that of acclimating to a new culture and language. Once again, the food blogging became a link to stability, providing me with a means to keep myself occupied (and fed), as well as helping to adjust me to my new environment. I don’t think I’d have half my Finnish vocabulary if it weren’t for my constantly trying to track down one ingredient or another at the market every other day. Being able to share all the new stuff I was finding in the stores also gave me plenty to share with folks back home.

So that’s why I was getting so into the food blogging thing. And why I am now slowing down the amount of content that is going into this particular avenue, as I start to feel recharged and ready to tackle the design beast once again. I have a woefully untended fashion blog, you know — there’s a link to it in the column to the left. It might just be seeing some activity soon, if I trust what the little voices are telling me. Because believe it or not, I really do love what I do. It just took a bit of a break to remember that. Whee.

4 Comments:

  1. As soon as blogging becomes a chore it is time to stop.

    I currently have about 30 half written posts and little inclination to finish and publish any of them.

    A little break is often all that I need.

    • You are completely right, of course. Though it’s good to hear that even the serious bloggers get to that “bleh” moment. Sometimes it seems that you guys who’ve been doing it for the long haul have unending founts of inspiration and wills (not to mention typey-fingers) of steel.

      I’m just so used to slogging on, despite no longer having the impetus, that it took a while for me to realize what was wrong. Last month just kind of shook me out of it. I was sitting there thinking “Why am I entering a contest and getting all worked up over something that was supposed to be a stress-free hobby?”. And then, as a cherry on top, a little troll landed in my comments box, shrieking abuse at one of my posts for not having a recipe in it. Because, y’know, I was obviously there to serve its too-cheap-to-buy-a–cookbook needs.

      So… yes. Break time it is. And hopefully, I’ll have a nice rack of pretty dresses to show for it afterwards 🙂

  2. You are indeed spot on about the fickleness of the fashion/entertainment industry. Which is why I never take on solo projects, and always work for a reputable company. What I lack there in creative input I make up for in low-stress and a regular paycheque.

    Also… I’ve been meaning to ask you if you have a good pumpkin pie recipe? This year I am going to try my hand at making one from scratch.

    • Yeah, I’ll probably be looking for some sort of theater company to join after I get my portfolio polished this winter. Of course, if the online business works out, maybe I won’t have to. They apparently give out very decent small business grants here, so I’ll probably apply for one after I have enough samples to show them. The plan being to make what I’m actually good at, instead of being a glorified personal shopper. I mean, really, why hire a designer/stylist if you’re then going to insist on still getting the same tasteless crap that you were previously buying, and which you admitted needed a rehaul? It still makes me twitch to remember.

      And as for that pie… y’know, I’ve only made pumpkin pie from scratch once, years ago, when I first met the boy. It was really good, and I’ve been meaning to do it again since. This year, in fact, since they don’t have canned pumpkin here and I saw some fresh sugar pumpkins in the produce section yesterday. This is the recipe I used, and I think I’m going to stick with it because some of the other ones that I’ve Googled since just don’t look as appetizing. Do bake the pumpkin rather than steaming it, though — it gives the meat a much deeper roasty smell. And also makes the house wonderfully sniffable 🙂

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