At the first-ever BlogHer conference in 2009, I announced that I had just started my blog about food writing. At the time I was on a panel, sandwiched between Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman; and Susan Russo of Food Blogga.
You might know what happened to these two since then: Drummond went on to the Food Network and became an author and entrepreneur (even then, she was a big star because of her blogs); and sadly, Russo passed away.
And me…I’m still here, enjoying my blog about food writing. Oh, and during this time I co-wrote two cookbooks; wrote two more editions of my how-to book, Will Write for Food; won some national awards for a Lucky Peach essay; and taught food writing around the world. I still love hearing from readers, some of whom have followed me for years. And I’m thankful for all the support.
Why I began a blog about food writing
I started this blog about food writing because I thought I had to. Procrastinating kept me at bay for at least two years. I knew it was the best way to extend the advice in Will Write for Food, and keep in touch with readers about trends and careers. But I felt intimidated by the technology and worried about the time sink.
My first real post was to hand out all the emails of editors at Saveur. Later I interviewed the editor. He gave out his email address. Soon I got an email from Helen Rosner, who was then Saveur’s web editor. She asked if I could remove the top editor’s address because pitches from my readers had “inundated” his email! That was a good sign that I had game.
For the first two years, I blogged twice a week and had a blast. I wrote mostly short posts. And I liked to be controversial (as my husband calls it), which you can see with these posts:
- Here’s what I Ate Today. Does Anyone Care?
- Ajusting a Recipe Doesn’t Make it Yours (250 comments)
- Is Food Blogging Too Much Work? (237 comments)
How Blogging Has Changed
1. Comments have slowed to a crawl. If you look at those posts, what’s shocking is not the subject but the number of comments. Readers not only commented but many wrote long answers. It was before there were so many kinds of social channels and Facebook groups where we can all chat with each other — sometimes endlessly, it seems. And it was before mainstream websites like Eater and Taste published pieces similar to mine, about food writing trends or writing recipes. (I now include them in my newsletter, so it’s all good).
2. Some big bloggers stopped. Today many of the food bloggers of that era have stopped blogging or slowed way down. Shauna James Ahern of Gluten Free Girl and Molly Wienberg of Orangette are writing books. Clotilde Dusloulier of Chocolate & Zucchini is now a coach. Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes sold her business. So the message is that you don’t have to keep writing a blog forever. However, David Lebovitz is still killing it, and Kaylin Denny keeps going, as do other bloggers from the early days.
Later I slowed to one blog post per week and accepted guest posts from people whom I thought could offer insider tips and information. Now I’m down to two posts per month. I’m busy building my newsletter, which has grown steadily.
3. Blogs have become just one way to communicate with readers. Now we have social media, YouTube, and Pinterest. It’s our job to grow our audience with them all — a big challenge. Many bloggers have staffs and assistants to help with posting, photography, answering email and other chores. But for most food bloggers, it’s still a hobby and a one-person (mostly female) show.
As for me, my blog about food writing continues to be a place where I can explore the issues that face us all as writers and communicators. Thank you for joining me over the years! I’m grateful you’re still here.
And what did I miss about how blogging — food or otherwise — has changed in the past 10 years? Let me know.
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