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Ponderings On 2011 and What To Come?

I got an email from WordPress this afternoon that was a tally of my blogging for the year and well….it was interesting to see the stats! I knew I had been prolific in my writing this year – I posted over 440 recipes (wow, that was shocking even to me as I counted it!) and I published around 540 blog posts. My readership grew dramatically (thank you all! I truly mean that!) and I love everyone who leaves comments – it is a neat feeling to know others enjoy my recipes and even my sharing about my family. I have gotten to know some of you via email over this past year and I have enjoyed that very much.

But as I was pondering this all, I thought about how much my blog has changed in the past 12 to 21 months. When I started the blog in October of 2008 I was looking for a place to have my recipes archived in, nothing more, just a “cookbook”, if you will. I didn’t blog on a regular basis but I kept it puttering along. Something changed in me after I had Walker in March of 2010. Until then most of my blogging was on my other blog, TrailCooking, which has been my business blog for many years. But I found a nasty reality – while I have a huge following of readers, many are men and some were downright mean-spirited. They didn’t like that I talked about items related to hiking and backpacking that were baby or child oriented. Or me talking about my baby when we’d go hiking. I got emails and Twitter comments and finally I had it. I didn’t want to listen to them anymore – so I pulled away and took to my personal blogging. Where I found a way to talk about the things I loved and enjoyed without waiting for the stupid comments from the peanut gallery. It left a very nasty edge to my blogging. I wanted to be able to enjoy my writing, not to feel like I had to defend my words. I realized just how bad it was when I looked at my stats for TC for the year – 72 blog posts. That was it. But as I pulled away I found I wrote so much more personally. And I found I enjoyed having a readership full of women, many Moms as well! In my business it is very man-centric, not a lot of ladies out there making hiking gear – it gets lonely I can tell you!

But the biggest eye opener I had was at the Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Oregon this past summer. I went to the multi-day conference which focused heavily on bloggers and came away enlightened in a way I hadn’t anticipated. At one panel discussion on blogging there was one speaker who was er….highly opinionated and a full-blown tech geek. Her advice was so bad I wanted to scream “give it a rest!” but I was a good girl and sat there rolling my eyes. It was supposed to be for people starting blogs or taking it to the next level and instead of easy to use advice, she waxed on considerably about techy solutions that were miles above the average blogger (I happened to understand her ramblings only due to my husband who is one as well). But the weirdest advice she gave was having multiple blogs. Yes, a blog for each thing that interests you. She then went on to vent about how Mommy Bloggers were horrid because you had to scan through family photos to get to a cupcake recipe. Oh, you can bet my eyes were twitching over this. It was obvious she felt a blog should be very regimented. Only about food. Only about kids. Only about your love of Labradoodles. Or your love for Kimchi. You get the idea. As I sat there it hit me: there was nothing wrong with talking about your life on one blog. My life IS my family. And everything we do – traveling, hiking, snuggling, cooking. Oh wow. It was bad. I realized it.

I was a Mommy Blogger. Ack. And I was OK with that. 😀 That class pretty much did in the conference for me. I lost my interest – it wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted to head out, walk with my husband and youngest son – go out to dinner on the riverwalk and head back to the hotel. And write about the sunny weather, the great food and one happy toddler bouncing in his stroller. It was OK not taking myself seriously! I felt so free after that conference, maybe it was money well spent, considering it changed my writing style.

Best of all I didn’t owe anyone a style of writing. One day it could be food, the next a baby photo set. But I also found something I didn’t like which was the snobbery in writing about food. I cook (and write) the way I do because A) I like it B) I am trying to serve healthy choices to my family but C) I do like bad choices at time. For a long period I was cooking vegan exclusively (it really helped our cholesterol!) but I felt guilty if I made a non-vegan meal and dared to blog about it. But why feel guilty I realized after that conference. I have no desire to live a 100% vegan diet – I eat vegetarian mostly for health reasons but will happily enjoy a steak every once in a while. That vegan cooking to me is more of a dare – that I can make a meal taste awesome without animal products but mostly without fake things (no fake cheese, cream cheese, etc) If anything it bugged me at the conference of the pious attitudes presented by some over how their being vegan made them superior while they were shoveling down vast quantities of vegan street food smothered in fake cheese (and tons of fat). I did meet some great ladies doing it for the health who were all joys to chat with.

So the long story short – after August I was excited to write. And wow, did I. And I found the more I wrote about the things I loved, the happier writing made me feel!

Here is to 2012 – may there be much to write about and to share. Happy New Years!

~Sarah

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Comments

  1. I’ve been a looong time reader of your other blog, and I’ve enjoyed it very much. Even though we are at different places in our lives, (My kids are now young adults.) I seem to read this blog everyday. I like your take on your domestic life, and how you intertwine you outdoor life with your family. Your recipes are interesting too. Keep doing what you are doing.

  2. Malou Prestado says:

    I’m glad that you are sharing not just your recipes but a part of yourself as well. I don’t agree that blogging should be regimented and too theme-specific. I’ve just started blogging 3 weeks ago and I am combining various aspects of my life in it — cooking, baking, family, travel, photography.

  3. ldmccormck says:

    Yay! Keep doing what you are doing the way you are doing it. I love that what you write is from your heart — it connects to mine =)

  4. One of the things that got me hooked on your blog was the mix of family & recipes. I don’t think I would have handled that conference well myself!
    Geez…I can barely find time to do my one blog – I can’t imagine if I had to manage multiple. My family is always centered around everything I do.

    I’m looking forward to more updates this year on the new baby boy & of course your delish recipes!

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