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.