5 Mar 2012
1. You will feel like a talentless, worthless hack but it will pass.
The first time I received edits about a blog article from a friend, I almost fainted. I was so overcome with insecurity that I couldn’t even bring myself to open the email. I felt like it was a ticking time bomb, ready to demolish any ambitions I had as a blogger.
I was wrong. The feedback was kind yet honest and fair. My tenses needed a bit of work but otherwise, the article was a good start.
Lesson: It’s okay to feel insecure at times but don’t let it get the best of you. I’ve written articles that have not been great and sometimes, barely salvageable. The important part is to just keep writing. Sharing your written words gets less scary over time.
2. You will need support, especially in the early stages.
In the early stages, if you’re like me, you might fall back into insecurity and anxiety. I’ve been very fortunate to have people in my life that support this blogging side project. Like a car stuck in the snow, you may need the help of some good friends to push from time to time, but after awhile, you will become self sufficient and able to get out of the rough spots yourself.
Lesson: Surround yourself with supportive people, but also understand there’s a limit to their love and your potential narcissism.
3.You will have less time.
I found that I had less time to work out, to go out with friends, and ironically, less time to cook. Monday and Wednesday nights, along with as much time as I can squeeze in on the weekends, are where the bulk of my writing is done.
Lesson: Treat blogging as a part time job you’ve taken up in the evenings. Set your schedule and try your best to stick to it.
4.You will need to edit, edit, edit and rewrite.
Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.” He was right. For example, look at the “Healthy” Instant Noodle post before and after rewriting
Draft 1: Healthy instant noodles? No way. That would be like believing oven baked chicken wings are healthy. Baked or fried, that’s still crispy, fatty skin that you’re eating. You can, however, change instant noodles into a more well rounded meal by including vegetables for nutrients and a protein source, such as fried eggs, to keep you full longer.
Editor’s comment: the mention of chicken wings suggest you’ll write more about them in the paragraph.
Draft 2: Healthy instant noodles? It sounds impossible, given a package of noodles provides not much more than a bunch of empty carbs, and some fat. However, adding a dose of fresh vegetables and a protein source such as a fried egg will turn this junk food dish into something much more well rounded.
Lesson: Try to get your work edited by someone you trust before posting it online. I love this quote about rewrites from Stephen King, found in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”
5. You will need to ask yourself two key questions.
(1) Would I do this for free?
(2) Would I want to do be doing this 5 years from now?
Answer 1: Yes! I can imagine myself retired and writing and sharing recipes with my grandchildren and the public.
Answer 2: Yes. I think some things about the blog may change or evolve over time, but I can see myself writing about food and cooking for at least that long into the foreseeable future, if not longer.
Lesson: Without passion, it’s going to be harder to persevere when your blog starts taking up more time than you anticipated.
Here is the summary of posts for Linh’s Kitchen’s first month online.
Featured above: Momofuku steak lettue wraps.
This quote from Marget Atwood’s The Blind Assassin: A Novel keeps me going as I begin this blogging experience:
“I’m not as swift as I was. My fingers are stiff and clumsy, the pen wavers and rambles, it takes me a long time to form the words. And yet I persist, hunched over as if sewing by moonlight.”
For the bloggers out there, what have learned through your own trials and tribulations?
For the readers, what are you seeking in food blogs? Recipes? Inspiration? Maybe you just like looking at food photography. I’d love to hear from you!