As I mentioned on Monday, a lot has changed since 2008. I’ve also learned a lot since I began Relishments 3 years ago, both about life and blogging. Listing all the things I’ve learned about life would take forever, so I’m going to limit this particular list to just blogging lessons.
What Relishments Has Taught Me:
- bloggers are awesome: 3 years ago, I would’ve thought you were crazy if you suggested I meet up with people I knew from the internet, but now some of my best friends are bloggers and I know people all around the world. I know there are a lot of crazy people out there, but the healthy living and food blogger communities have been very inviting and I’ve really enjoyed their company. Also, the community routinely impresses me with their support and generosity. Every time there’s a need, people deliver and it’s amazing to see the power the internet has.
- new vocabulary: When I started Relishments, I didn’t have any plans to make the site a major part of my life, but clearly that’s not the way things turned out. In my efforts to improve this site, I’ve also improved my vocabulary. I now regularly use the following words in every day conversation: blend (blog-friend), SEO (search engine optimization), analytics (a way to track web traffic statistics), Twitter (the microblogging service), vlog (video blog), WordPress (my blogging platform) and Live Writer (the program I write posts in). My apologies to those no-blogger friends who have struggled to follow my conversations.
- do your thing, the rest will follow: it’s only been in the past 6 months or so that I’ve really felt comfortable with my blogging. That is to say, I suddenly found my grove, stopped trying to do what I thought I was “supposed to” and just acted like myself. As a result, I’ve gotten more positive feedback, recognition and publicity without even trying. My site feels like less work and more like something I’m excited to work on. I have a feeling this sort of approach would work for other parts of my life as well.
- practice makes perfect: the more I write, the better I feel. The more I practice photography, the better my pictures are. The more I talk to other people about my blog, the better I can explain it. The more I cook, the better things turn out.
- its more than just a website: I thought Relishments and learning to cook were going to be the hobby, but it’s turned into so much more than that. Writing Relishments has exposed me to information that has changed my entire lifestyle (the way I eat, what I purchase) and allowed me the opportunity to get involved in other things as well. The past 2 summers I’ve experimented with container gardens on our back deck. This fall I got involved with a local organization trying to promote local food in the Berkshires. I never would’ve done these things without the blog.
What I Want to Teach Others About Relishments:
- I never want to do this as a full time job: several of the bloggers I was reading when I first started Relishments have since turned their sites into full time jobs. That’s really awesome for them, but I have no interest in doing that. As nice as it is to make money from my blog, I wouldn’t want to rely on it. I have a feeling writing Relishments would stop being fun pretty quickly if it meant paying the rent. Plus, I’m a pretty big fan of teaching.
- this is serious work: that said, I take this blog kind of seriously. I really want to make it into something awesome. It’s certainly getting there and I have a lot of ideas for how to keep it moving in that direction. Sometimes when I tell people I have a food blog they get all “Oh, that’s cute”, but it’s not. It’s such a huge part of me, I don’t know what I’d do without it.
- I love hearing from you: I know you’re out there, but you don’t often say much. I appreciate that you’re reading, at least according to my analytics data, but I’d love to know what you’re thinking as well. Do you hate my CSA posts? Do you love Highlights? Do you want to know why I cooked something a certain way? Do you have a solution to one of my regularly mentioned problems? Let me know! Unless you comment on my posts, there’s no way I can make Relishments better for you.
- blogging eats all my free time – I work hard on this site. It’s hard to explain to non-bloggers the amount of work that goes into blogging, but there’s a lot more to it than just putting words on a website. There are comments to reply to and networking emails to write and reply to and the actual cooking and shopping takes time. I spend a lot of my “free time” reading other blogs, working on upcoming posts, cooking or doing behind the scenes work. There’s a reason I lovingly refer to it as “my other job that hardly pays”.
So, to say thank you for sticking with me, I’m giving away a gift to one of my awesome readers. If you’ve been reading for a long time, you probably know that one of the first cookbooks I purchased and one of my most relied upon volumes is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I don’t know what I’d do without it and I know many of you would appreciate it as well.
The prize: One randomly selected commenter below will receive their choice of a brand new copy of either How to Cook Everything or How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. If you’re feeling especially kind, tell us about your favorite cookbook. I can always use more books!
I’ll randomly select a winner on Tuesday, December 27th and announce it in Wednesday’s post.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly.
Cynthia (It All Changes) says
So happy to having blogging and met you. It definitely is hard to explain blogging to others so it’s nice to have blog friends to talk with :-)
Your doing a great job Emily! I enjoy your blog! I too also enjoy cooking, I tend to use online recipes the most as of right now.
I resonated with a lot of your comments, especially the “I never want this to be my full time job” and that it’s “serious.” Although I’m certainly not even able to compare my blog to my job, I think in the last three months I have realized that blogging is turning into a bigger and bigger hobby of mine. Partially this is because I no longer “work” full time between being a student/stay at home mom, and also because it has given me a easy platform to talk about my “life lessons” that attempting to write articles didn’t. I’ve got a lot of good ideas for getting even more serious in 2012, and some of them are based on your blog!
It’s been good to see some of the transformations your blog has undergone this year, and I’m always glad to read your posts.
Jean King says
I love your blog, Emily. My go-to cookbook has always been the Betty Crocker cookbook. I love Julia Child and one called “Mom’s Best Meals”. Oops, almost forgot a cookbook I picked up in France as a student, “La Cuisine Familiale”.
Congrats on your blog’s anniversary. My favorite cookbook is The Flavor Bible. It doesn’t have a lot of recipes but shows you how to combine different ingredients.
Hey look! This theoretically could be my brother.
Congratulations on 3 years of blogging, friend! It is awesome how Relishments has widened your horizons!
You don’t have to enter me into the giveaway but my favorite cookbooks are Moosewood, Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, and Diet for a Small Planet. And I am a big fan of pretty much everything Deb from publishes. And by a big fan I mean that I want to eat it all.
Aw – look at my html gone awry. I meant to say Deb from Smitten Kitchen.
Hey, Emily! I just signed up for your blog a couple weeks ago, and I like reading it mostly just to keep up with what you’re up to :-). I have to admit, my favorite cookbook is the Internet right now. So easy to find a recipe that lots have people have tried and liked! We have recently been enjoying Anne Burrell’s (sp?) focacia bread recipe. Great for just bread or a pizza dough. Yummy!
Carol Pious says
Emily – you are right….practice is perfecting you. Well done! My favorite cookbook, at the moment, is “The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread.” Yum Yum Yum!
Jen @ jen is green says
congrats on your blogiversary emily! that cookbook has been on my wishlist for a while now! :)
“Do you thing and the rest will follow” is something I still (after more than 2 years of blogging) struggle with. It’s nice to know you stuggled with it for quite a while as well. Definitely give me hope! :)
I’ve actually been going back and forth on How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for a while now. I want it, but I keep hesitating as to whether or not I really need another cookbook. If I don’t win, I might finally bite the bullet and buy it.
My two favorite cookbooks currently are the Weight Watchers Powerfoods Cookbook (which I think is actually only available at WW meetings right now) and the SparkPeople Cookbook. Both books have really great healthy recipes. So I’ve only found one recipes between the two of them that I probably wouldn’t make again.
I’ve been LOVING cooking from Food Everyday’s [by Martha] Great Food Fast!!
Heather @ Better With Veggies says
I’ve heard about that book and I’ve never tried it – would love to check it out. :) I love this list, I can completely relate and I’ve been blogging for less than 4 months! I’ve already met so many great people and learned so much in a short period of time. It does take a lot of time though. ;)
Lisa @ Fit in the Midwest says
I have How to Cook Everything and love it and have always wanted the vegetarian version, as my diet is about 95% vegetarian. My favorite cookbooks are the two by Terry Walters-Clean Start and Clean Food.
Love your list! I go through periods where I am really excited about blogging and then others where I am finding myself wanting to do other things like read and spend more time at the gym.
Kristin @ FoodFash says
I really love Terry Walters’ Clean Food and Clean Start cookbooks!
Isn’t it crazy how blogging becomes such a huge part of your identity? I’ve been thinking about what I’d do with my time if I weren’t blogging and it just feels like blogging is what I’m supposed to be doing. Hope you have a merry Christmas!
Julie @SavvyEats says
I just got Anne Burrell’s “Cook Like a Rock Star” and love it!
Candice @ Sailing on Paper says
Yay this is such a good giveaway! I already have How to Cook Everything but I would LOVE a copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
lynn @ the actor's diet says
there’s a soup book i adore – but i can’t remember the name of it right now (sorry, i’m on vacation!)
but i would LOVE to win this. my husband uses the mark bittman app all the time.
Tiffany @ Snack Snark Bark says
I’ve been eyeing the “How to Cook Everything” book! I have too many favorite cookbooks. I would have to say off the top of my head my fave/one I use most often is the Fix It and Forget it Crockpot cookbook, it’s perfect for this time of year!