When I started this blog in 2011, my oldest was 3 years old and his baby brother was just 6 weeks old. With few commitments outside the home and frequent naps inside the home, I was able to post pretty frequently. There was no pressure, no expectations and next to no audience. Just bad photos and a passion for food. It was great. I'd had a successful career and was happy to be at home with my kiddies. The blog was just pure, unstructured extra fun.
Then blogging got a little tricky for a while. When my youngest turned 2 and decided he would never nap (or go in the stroller) again, it was all hands on deck. It felt like every moment of my day was wrapped up in toddler kisses and diaper changes and keeping him from hurling himself off of someplace very high. My older boy, aged 5 by then, was going through his own, sometimes tough, adjustment to school. Somehow I was still blogging. I felt like my recipes were better, my photos were definitely better, and yet I was struggling to post as often as the social media gurus said I should. I was overwhelmed. Life was at an all-time level of busy. Then I signed a book deal.
The kids didn't understand what was happening at first. Mr. Feedbag parented solo on many weekends for 10 months so I could cook and shoot and write my face off. It was dizzying, and I missed a lot of fun family adventures while toiling away in my steamy kitchen. It was a lot of work, but it was fun work. I loved the creativity of developing recipes, picking out props and shooting every page. One recipe at a time, I got it done. The feeling upon turning in the manuscript was euphoric. It felt like I had thrown mySELF off of someplace very high and had managed to land on my feet. Somehow I was still blogging.
Along the way my blog had grown up a little. I had started working with brands, writing recipes for clients and getting invited on cool trips to learn about how food is grown. I'm not even sure how that all happened, but very good things had come into my life all because I had started this little food blog.
My manuscript was finalized last fall. With just a few weeks now until my book comes out, I feel like I'm in a good place with my life and my blog. My kids are happy and well-adjusted, and they sometimes even let their mom cook dinner uninterrupted. Now that they're a little older - ages 4 and 7 - I can be alone with my thoughts for longer periods of time, writing at my desk while they play downstairs. I don't need to check on the youngest one every few minutes anymore. They grab snacks and cuddles whenever they need them and they're good. I'm good. Everyone is happy.
I've gotten a little older too, and my attitude about blogging has mellowed. These days my focus is on quality posts over quantity. While I love hitting the 'publish' button every time, I'm fine if I don't have anything to post for a week or more. My feeling is I'll share when I have something worth sharing. And I'm getting better at saying no to things that don't suit what I love to blog about.
This summer will be a busy one for me as an author and a blogger. I have a book tour planned, plus three farm tour trips to learn how canola, lentils and other Canadian crops are grown. I'm excited about it all.
And somehow I know I'll keep blogging.
This post was inspired by a conversation over drinks with fellow Victoria food writers Elizabeth Nyland, Chef Heidi Fink and Rebecca Baugniet. Join us in a panel discussion about food blogging this Wednesday, May 20th at 7 p.m. at the Greater Victoria Public Library. You can register here.