Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why I’ll Never Be a Food Blogger

A couple of months ago a woman I know signed up for a six-week boot camp program to lose weight before an upcoming family wedding. She prefers participating in intense exercise programs over crash dieting when trying to lose weight quickly. Unfortunately this time around she injured her knee during a running exercise two weeks in. Her orthopedic reluctantly agreed to give her a cortisone shot before the wedding, so she'd be able to walk without pain. Since she still wanted to lose weight, she asked when she could rejoin her boot camp class. To her surprise he said, "Never."  Considering her age - 52 and her physical condition he would never recommend she participate in let alone begin an exercise program with a boot camp.  Instead he suggested she change her diet and once her knee healed - walk for 30 minutes every day.  If she did these two things he guaranteed she'd lose weight.

What diet changes did he recommend?
The majority of her diet should consist of fruits, vegetables and proteins.  A serving of protein should be the size of her fist with the remainder of her plate being filled with fruits and vegetables.  

An idea for a food blog is born:
Almost immediately she began complaining about her new diet: fruits and vegetables were expensive, they spoiled too quickly, her husband and son wouldn't eat them, it was only week two and she was already tired of salads.

I came up with an idea for a food blog - The Savvy Diet - it would be based on meals consisting of vegetables, fruits and proteins.  I began researching seasonal foods and planning healthy menus with families and budgets in mind.  I took photos of my meals and jotted down post ideas. I began reading Dianne Jacob's book Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More (Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Blogs,).

Why I'll never be a food blogger:
While reading about good writing and a food writer's voice in Will Write for Food I became overwhelmed with feelings of imposter syndrome not only for food writing, but for all writing.  (Note my absence from this blog).  I set the book aside.

Then while perusing a recipe for peaches and cream cake given to me by the above woman I noticed she had written in the margin next to the ingredients, "I use raspberry flavored peaches (Del Monte)."  At that moment I knew I was not a foodie and would never be a food blogger.  I would never, not ever in this life time, have thought to add a raspberry flavored peaches to this recipe or to any recipe.  I returned my copy of Will Write for Food to the library without ever reading the chapter on food blogging.

What does this mean for my Career Reinvention Challenge?
According to James Altucher in his post The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Reinventing Yourself to discover your "it" you should go to the bookstore and find 500 books about it. If you get bored three months later go back to the bookstore. As to my career reinvention I've ruled out food blogging/writing and I'm heading back to the library.

What qualities do you think make a successful food writer/blogger?

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  1. Well, you did learn something about yourself ... and a road better left untraveled!

    You will find your joy. It's out there somewhere waiting for you.

  2. Thank you Webb. I think it is too.

  3. Anonymous12:10 AM

    What makes a good blogger is knowing how to cook and providing recipes for foods people would enjoy eating.

    First and foremost though, is knowing how to take excellent, stunning photos. Without photos that make the food look appealing, then why would anyone bother?

  4. I enjoy reading books about writing, and Will Write for Food does sound interesting. Can't wait to see the next career you explore!

  5. What book are you reading now? I think being a travel blogger would be fun. I would just go on cruises all the time.

  6. A good food blogger probably likes to eat ... but not too much, or an appetite would become an occupational hazard!

  7. Ha! So funny! I could never be a food blogger either. You need to know so much about food and cooking and different styles of cooking. Plus good writing about food is HARD ... like writing about music and dance. Loved the book recommendation though. I'll give that to a friend -- a real food blogger! Thanks for a fun post!

  8. Sometimes I think being a food blogger would be so much fun, but it's far from my area of expertise. I can relate to your idea though!

  9. Monica,
    Agreed. I once read a blog post from a food blogger was discouraged because her cooking lesson posts were ignored while her photos of food were amazingly popular. She realized her readers didn’t want to learn to cook, they wanted to share her photos.

  10. Midnight Cowgirl,
    Thanks. I have interviews with a personal trainer and a corporate career in the works.

  11. Kristie,
    I am reading Melissa Coleman's book “This Life is in Your Hands” about her parents move to Maine and the back to the land movement of the early 70's. I grew up on a farm and couldn't wait to get out once I turned 18. My husband on the other hand dreams of living in the woods someday. This book helped me remember why I left. Living off the land is an incredible amount of work.
    Next on the list is Frances Mayes book Under the Tucson Sun. This is the book that inspired Ann Daly to begin thinking about becoming a professional life coach.
    I've thought about travel blogging, but I read once travel bloggers need to go on "6" big trips a year to have enough material to be successful –that rules out travel blogging. I would like to interview a travel blogger/writer for my savvy interview series.

  12. Susan F,
    I agree. The more I talk to my husband - a foodie - the more I realize I am not one. Growing up I didn't even like food. A good food blogger is probably always thinking about how to make food taste better.

  13. Science of Parenthood,
    I probably should have talked more about the book I mentioned in this post. It includes writing exercises to help become a better food and examples of bad food writing. My takeaway was good food writing is really HARD. I agree with you about music writing. When I was in college I took a music appreciation class where I had to attend 5 music events and then write a review. Luckily I don't think we were graded on the actual review, just that we did it because I know mine were terrible. It was really HARD. I never tried writing about dance, but believe you.

  14. Emily,
    I thought it would be fun too and love the idea of researching recipes and food. I can still enjoy pinning my favorites to Pinterest.

  15. I'm intrigued by this post. I love food but I very rarely if ever write about it. I love taking pictures of food and sharing food especially with family and friends but when I sit down to try and share a recipe or write about cooking I kind of falter. That being said I'm not entirely sure that means I'll never write about food I just really tried.

    I do however love reading about food. I follow several food blogs because I love collecting recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. I don't know if I'm really all that creative with recipes on my own but I do love trying recipes when I can get my hands on them!

  16. Jennifer,
    Sounds like you enjoy food, like to write about it occasionally, but don't want to be a full-time food blogger. The best of all worlds.

  17. I would be a terrible food blogger, for one I'm vegetarian, and two, I am bad at presentation. Presenting pretty foods in an appealing manner and taking photos of it just sounds so boring to me.

    I would love to be a travel blogger though.

  18. Nish,
    It has helped me to realize what I don't want to do. I hope to find a travel blogger to interview in the near future...hopefully they can give us a perspective into what it takes. I don't travel enough to be one now...but maybe someday.

  19. I would love to be a travel blogger or food blogger too but I'm realizing how hard it is to write about and present food well. I take food pictures with my camera phone and they really do need a high quality camera and perfect lighting to do the food justice. I try anyway :) Thanks for sharing with #ThrowbackThursdayLinkup, I read this before but looks like I didn't comment before.

  20. Oh since you mentioned wanting to interview a travel blogger. I don't know if you've done that already, but I really enjoy Leigh at Hines-Sight Blog (, she focuses on luxury travel in the Southeast, though now she's in Italy on assignment. She's a journalist and writes for a travel magazine too. I love the places she travels to and I would totally love to be a travel blogger too!

  21. Since I'm not much of a cook, food bloggers are this strange new universe for me. They have these amazing photos of recipes they must have created from scratch (otherwise they wouldn't really be able to share them if they're from a book, right?).

  22. I only post food related posts once in awhile. It certainly isn't the majority of my blog. Every once in a while i find a recipe that I have made that is simple and that i really like. I'm glad you found out sooner rather than later! Thanks for posting on #ThrowbackThursday link up!

  23. It's always good to realize and accept what it is you don't want to do. That said...there is so much I want to do and no time to do it.

    I couldn't be a food blogger either - I wouldn't have thought about adding flavored peaches to that recipe, raw food creeps me out, and I would never eat what I made. Three-way fail for me.

    Hoping you are finding peace in coming to that conclusion and finding answers in new books!

    Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at #throwbackthursdaylinkup