I nearly missed it, but I realised earlier on this evening that it’s my blog’s second birthday!
Back in November 2010, when I started writing this blog at home as a hobby, I had no idea where it would take me. I knew that I enjoyed writing and that food was a topic I’d never tire of writing about. I hoped that my blog would be a creative outlet, a place to share some thoughts and recipes.
I’ve learnt that it definitely takes time to get settled in, to find a style, to write to a length that feels comfortable, to figure out what it is you want to write about. There’s certainly no harm in trying different things. There’s no set formula to blogging and there’s plenty of room for us all.
I know that many of my readers are bloggers, too, but if any of you don’t write a blog and are tempted to, I say, don’t hold back! Bloggers are demonstrating that they are a force to be reckoned with and new precedents are being set in the world of online publishing, writing and blogging every day.
About the same time as I starting this blog, I also started a Diploma in Food Journalism and over the summer, I finally finished it. Although there are many classes and courses to explore out there, this diploma gave me a really good insight into writing professionally. Modules focused on feature writing, interviewing, reviewing, writing press releases and touched on the legal elements of journalism. I couldn’t have asked for better support at home and also had a fantastic tutor in Jo Wiltshire.
My adventures in Polish food are also taking on a life of their own! As you may have noticed by some of my posts and recipes here, my Polish food heritage is something I love writing about. In August, Delicious Magazine published one of my Inheritance Recipes along with a recipe for Pierogi – Polish dumplings – Holly, a blogger in Scotland, even made them! I also took part recently in a shoot for a second feature, which should follow over Christmas and the New Year. I’ll keep you posted!
I have been asked why I don’t exclusively blog about Polish food and I suppose the answer is because there is just so much that I want to write about. However, at this year’s Food Blogger Connect, Sumayya who writes at ‘Pukka Paki’ gave a great talk on the topic of niche blogging. It’s something I’ve given lots of thought to, as well as regularly taking a step back to look at the content I write. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start a new blog soon to give my Polish recipes a place of their own.
I’d love to know what you all think about which direction I should go in.
By chance, I read a wonderful article yesterday called A Brief History of Food Blogs in America, and I suppose it made me realise that blogging is a creative journey and that often, when you start a blog, you end up in a completely different place from the place you started!
If I had to summarise, after two years of writing this blog, here’s what else I’ve learnt so far:
- Pick a blog name you’re happy with….this still bothers me!
- Put forward ideas yourself instead of waiting to be found or approached.
- Trust your instincts and make judgement calls – learn how to value your time and don’t sell yourself short.
- Don’t be afraid to turn things down if they don’t fit in with your blog purpose (more on this to come!)
- Remember that as a blogger, you are your own editor. This means that you can write about what you want to write about, but my own view is that it will help you in the long run to have some boundaries and ethics in place, too.
- Read as much as you can. Keep on top of what’s out there. Find a mentor or someone who inspires you and be open to ideas or even criticism.
- Have something new to say – it is very easy (and I have done it plenty of times myself) to follow the crowd, but in order to really stand out it is worth taking a risk sometimes; push yourself, go against the current and try something new.
- Read this book and accompanying blog – Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob – it really is the best book out there on food writing. I read it before I started blogging and regularly refer back to back it. It has even helped me shape my first cookery book proposal…
For now, I’m going to carry on as I always have. Sharing recipes as they happen, writing about things that might be useful to my readers or that inspire me and enjoying more of the community spirit that writing a blog generates.
Simple and Season will be back home this month – thank you to all my recent hosts including Urvashi, Laura, Fleur, Katie and Nazima (as well as Solange and Clare for Family Friendly Fridays) for doing such a wonderful job of welcoming new participants as well as those of you who have been staunch supporters from the start.
Original quote from a speech by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Thank YOU all for your support, encouragement, thoughtful comments and friendship. Here’s to many more posts and recipes!