ON FINDING MY IDENTITY AS A BLOGGER

me: a self portrait {me: a self portrait – taken in Galle, Sri Lanka, April 2016}

It’s easy to look at someone’s presence on social media and assume you know what their life is like. I know this is probably starting to read a bit like one of those it’s-not-all-perfect-rainbows-and-smoothie-bowls-and-flowers-and-beach-vacation posts, but what I want to do is tell you about my experience, why I’m falling a little bit out of love with social media, and how I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

I started this blog in 2009. Back then there were only a handful of people writing about food, and it was most definitely not a trendy thing to do. I felt like I nerd, and my self-consciousness meant that I kept this blog anonymous. Believe it or not, I started the blog for fun. Fun. Social media was practically non-existent, I had no grand plans to turn my blog into a business, and ‘likes’, ‘followers’, and ‘user engagement’ weren’t things I thought about. I was grateful that people sometimes read my blog, and sometimes left thoughtful comments on my posts. I wrote when I wanted to because I wanted to, and I didn’t give two sh*ts about whether it sounded pretty or elegant or whether my posts were “a good fit for my core audience”. It was just fun and a way to stay busy and out of trouble.

Fast-forward to now, seven years later, and I’m starting from scratch trying to figure out what it is I want to blog about. The truth is, I don’t know. I’m caught in the smoothie-bowl dilemma: my Instagram followers like me for my smoothie bowls. My smoothie bowls generate followers. My smoothie bowls have become my brand. But are they really me? No, not really. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good smoothie bowl as much as the next person, and because of certain dietary issues, I tend to have a smoothie bowl for breakfast more often than not. But is that all I eat? No. Do I think the hashtag ‘cleaneats’ sets the right tone for how we want to be talking about food? No. Do I still use it? Yes, sometimes (because: followers! Likes!). Am I always cheerful and happy and excited about my smoothie bowls? No. I’m a generally positive person, but my life is far from perfect. I sometimes tell my Instagram followers my weekend plans, and they sound like something out of a Jane Austen novel (“I’m going to buy fabrics to make summer-y linen dresses, bake a cake, read a book, and cuddle my cat”). EYEROLL. Yes, it sounds lovely. Yes, it’s sort of what I’m going to be doing. What I don’t mention is how I still haven’t unpacked from the holiday I took in July (it’s now November) because I’m heartbroken about it, how one of my cats keeps puking on my duvet (she’s fine, she just thinks it’s fun), and how some of the people I have to work with make me so mad I sometimes come home and scream into a pillow. So. Not glamorous, huh? Not quite the caption you want to read under a hashtag foodinspo post, is it? It’s much easier to be positive! And happy! And talk about everything that is good and nice and beautiful!

The thing is this: my life is a mix of things that are beautiful, and things that aren’t. Things that work out, and things that don’t. Things that are perfect (yes, my breakfasts really do look like that), and things that aren’t (sometimes my dinners are delicious, but look like slop). Most of the time I’m happy but sometimes I’m heart-achingly sad. My cats are generally cute, but most of the time they’re furry little beasts that shed everywhere and get in the way when I try to take photos for the blog. It’s a life of balance and contrasts, and I’m trying to figure out a way to talk about it in a way that’s honest. Honest to myself, about myself.

I’m also trying to figure out my place in the world of food, and I still don’t know what that is. Do I want to write about food? Style food? Take photos of food? Do a little bit of all three? I have no idea. Am I only interested in food? No, there’s more out there that I’m curious about. What else is important to me? These are all questions I’m trying to answer.

So, as I fumble my way through the realm of food blogging and what it means to me, here’s what you’ll be seeing more of on Everyday Feasts:

  • Food that isn’t smoothies
  • Food that isn’t “clean” (and at some point a bit of a rant on why I don’t like that word in reference to food)
  • Recipes that I actually make in real life (pastaaaaaaa!)
  • Stories about me, my life, and my relationship with food (some of them will be boring)
  • Travel! What I get up to when I, uh, travel
  • Posts that I feel like writing that aren’t accompanied by glossy photos, and that don’t look like they’re trying to fit into a magazine
  • Photos of my cats (they’re cute, I can’t help it)

If these are things you’re not into, that’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to like me or be interested in what I have to say, and I’m ok with that. I’d rather be honest with myself than try to be universally accepted.

On that note: have a gorgeous day, lovelies x

-S

p.s. I’d love to hear your stories of how you found your voice as a blogger.

        

8 thoughts on “ON FINDING MY IDENTITY AS A BLOGGER

  1. Sally, thank you for this. You’re so right: there’s always advice on what people should post, and not all of it works for everyone (or anyone). I don’t want to pander to the masses, and I don’t want to turn my content into click bait–that much I know. I’ve always loved your long-form posts, so please don’t stop writing them. I might not know what I want to do (yet!), but I couldn’t be happier having a group of inspiring (female!) food bloggers like you around me for support.

  2. Rupal! I love that we’ve become friends through food and blogging! Thank you for reading this–it means a lot. Your food is bold and vibrant and real, just like you are. Please keep doing what you do, it’s wonderful to see x

  3. I’m so happy I met you, lovely! That is the main thing I love about social media–the actual social aspect where people can become friends offline, in the real world. You’re right about aesthetics: they matter too much for me to be like, “ah, well, nevermind, I don’t care what that looks like” but I’ve set aside perfectly good posts in the past because the pictures weren’t exactly what I wanted them to be. I don’t want to do that anymore–I think the pursuit for elusive perfection/excessive curation stifles creativity, and I want to be better about it. Thank you for always bringing beauty into my feed, for inspiring me to get into my kitchen, and for being a great support–on line, and in the flesh x

  4. Arva, thank you for taking the time to read my post and for responding so thoughtfully. Your knowledge of food is inspiring, and whenever we meet I feel like you have it all figured out so it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in my blogging struggle. Here’s to more food adventures and mishaps, and un-photogenic but delicious meals!

  5. Still looking for mine but just have to stay true to yourself. I’ve been blogging 6 years so in this time have seen popular advice change tack so many times. Blog posts should be less than 500 words was one. I find it impossible to do that so stuck to my epic length. Now longform is in again and good for SEO.
    Find your niche is another – and make it as narrow as possible. But with so many interesting things out there how can I confine myself? I think of Pioneer Woman and Fat Mum Slim – they’re not niche!
    Enjoy the journey – love reading along.

  6. Loved this post, I can relate to so much. Think we’ve all questioned our purpose to be in a better place with more clarity. You have a truly special voice – one I’ve loved reading/following so much. I can’t wait to read more (especially about pasta). Hugs

  7. it’s a tough one isn’t it…knowing what to disclose on social media and how to do so and in what way. part of me loves social media for giving me a tool to express the things I love and being able to share these things with others. both of us are so driven by the aesthetics so it’s nice to be part of a community that gets that. other parts of me hates the pressure and pretenses that comes along with it. I sometimes wish I could show a bit more of “me” in it and not the curated me. What you said above about hashtagging and the want for more followers, I so get it and I’m really trying to rise above it all but it’s hard! I think we just need to take it for what it is and appreciate how it helps with connectivity and just makes the world a bit smaller. I am with you on the whole “what the heck am I doing in life,” I really do believe I’ll be 80 years old and will still be saying the same thing. I can’t wait to see more of what you do on your blog & social media, no matter how curated it is or anti curated it is because I know it’ll still be beautiful regardless (even if it’s cat puke, ok maybe not so much). Props to you for writing such an honest post, sometimes you just need to vent it out :) So glad social media brought us together as friends – to many more catch ups and inspiring food sessions ahead x

  8. This post resonated with me deeply, especially at a time when I’ve given up on my own blog and feel disgruntled about what content seems to be in demand these days (avocado on toast and yes, smoothie bowls). Part of me decided a while ago that I would relieve myself of the self-imposed obligation to blog. It’s made such a difference. I’ve been enjoying my food and people encounters ‘in the moment’ so much more. Another part of me has decided that I’ll write whenever I want to (once in a year at my current rate!), on whatever topic I choose to, on topics that I want to remember 10 years down the line or that I genuinely need to share with others – a diary of sorts. And in whatever voice feels right to me at the time – be it passionate, excited, serious, flippant, whatever. I’ve found that some of the real movers and shakers in the world of food are barely known on social media, but they hold knowledge and passion that’s so intense, it can’t be confined to latte art on wooden tables and slow-mo videos of molten lava cake. People like that have really made me rethink whether I aspire to win a blog popularity contest (which I admittedly wanted to do a few years ago) or whether I just want to enjoy this uncoordinated journey of food discovery – and I pick the latter.

    Can’t wait to see photos of ugly but delicious dinners, pasta recipes, and tons of cute kitty pictures. Wishing you wheelbarrow-loads of support for this beautifully honest journey you’ve got planned out ahead.

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