I learned a lot of things about how I want to spend my time, how much I value my health, how much I love to write, and how much of my happiness is tied to how I make money. I learned how much I value my time away from the internet, how much I love going to bed early, and how much importance I place on taking care of my husband, my family and myself over anything else in life.
The way I see it, there are two types of blogs. There are blogs that set out to earn clicks with the specific drive and purpose to make money with the blog, be it through affiliates, sponsored posts, or advertising, and then there are personal blogs that are written as a personal artistic expression. Both types of blogs can make money, however the difference to me is in the intent.
The first type of blog can be profitable and popular. But every post that is written, every action that is taken, every social media interaction, almost every email that is sent is for the purpose of selling things and making money. Large amounts of time can be spent on emails with vendors. Many countless hours can be spent on giveaways on the blog and in social media. In fact, very little time can be spent on developing real, interesting, engaging content in comparison to the amount of time spent on the logistics of making money on the internet. To be frank, the thought of spending my days like that is exhausting, depressing, and not fulfilling at all.
Note: If that is how you would like to spend your hours on the internet as a blogger, more power to you. There is nothing wrong with having your own business on the internet that supports your family – for the right type of person, that is an awesome job. I just learned that I prefer to make my money elsewhere, and blog for enjoyment only.
The second type of blog can be popular and profitable, but to me, you can tell the bloggers that blog for fun and happen to be popular, and the ones that are constantly working on their business. I enjoy blog posts from both types of blogs, but I just know now how I do and don’t want to spend my time on the internet.
So the question for me was…. why have a blog at all?
I thought long and hard about if I even wanted to write my own blog at all. Did I have anything valuable to offer? Is there anything unique about the way I cook? Is it interesting? What kind of blog do I want to have?
So what I discovered is that I don’t want to have a blog that’s purpose is to gain clicks in order to make money. I just have very little interest in being an online sales associate. What I’d really like to do here is explore food in an artistic and expressive capacity. I’m not a salesman, I’m a chef. I’m a writer. A photographer. A wife. A nuturer and a nester.
I’m here to blog because I love to work on a project and present it in an aesthetically pleasing way. I love to write, and I love to cook. I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I know that I am good at both of those things. I think part of becoming a real adult is being able to recognize in yourself your true talents and your true weaknesses and learn how to live in a way that uses your talents for a purpose.
This blog is my artistic expression of my interest and loves. If I end up with a wildly popular blog that draws attention because people are genuinely digging what I’m sharing, that’s awesome. If a respected cookbook publisher seeks me out and asks me to write a cookbook, I would consider it… but that’s not my goal here. My goal is not to sell things or make connections. If it happens on its own because I have intriguing content, that’s real success to me. Sure, I may use affiliate links here and there, but I’m not going to use them if it isn’t something I already buy.
But I refuse to be a slave to facebook, gimmicks, and endless giveaways in order to “drive” people to my blog. I love to hang out on Instagram because I actually enjoy that platform, but all other social media to me is just a chore. My blog will not be a chore. It’s not something I’ll feel like I should do. Its a place I’ll go to share my recipes of the foods I actually eat everyday, and you’re welcome to read along, but I refuse to use gimmicks to make you listen to me.
I’ve also decided that I’m not here to sell you on being healthy or eating “gluten-free.” I have my reasons for using the ingredients I do, but honestly, the information is out there, and I don’t feel compelled to educate you on nutrition. These are the recipes and the foods I actually eat, and no matter if they are gluten-free or gluten-filled, I always make incredibly delicious food, and I always have.
It’s really easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. That’s true in life and in the blogging world. You see someone host a “mega giveaway” to celebrate an invented milestone, so you think you should too. Well, to be honest, those giveaways suck. Lots of hours go into securing items from vendors and negotiating terms, and then once the whole thing is said and done, 9 times out of 10 the winner of the giveaway never responds to the email. Many different bloggers find this to be a problem – a true story.
And what have you done really? Spent a WHOLE lot of time making other people celebrate an accomplishment you’ve “done” and congratulate yourself by suckering clicks and likes from new followers who were just there for the possibility of free stuff. Yeah, I just don’t want those followers. I could spend that time and effort cooking real food for me and my husband and then blogging about it.
I want people who come to my blog to see what I’m cooking. Period.
So my novel idea for 2015 is this: I will spend many hours on this blog, and more than I ever have, but I will spend those hours in my kitchen cooking, behind my camera, and writing engaging stories about the food I cook and the people I cook for. I won’t click bait, I won’t sell you on brands for money, and I won’t fight endlessly to be heard. What I have to offer is either interesting or it isn’t, and in a year I’ll see if this works.
Can a food blog flourish solely on good content? I think so.