Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK friends! I cannot even express how much I am looking forward to it. I know most of you are here for a recipe — perhaps a handy tip for a perfectly cooked turkey or extra creamy mashed potatoes (I do make some might find mashed potatoes). Alas, I disappoint you.
I don’t have a Thanksgiving recipe to share this week, so I’ll save you from having to read any further. Go on, shoo — the internet is a buffet, and there are plenty of good holiday treats to be found elsewhere.
Oh… are you still here? Well hey. I know I haven’t been the greatest recipe blogger lately, and I’m sorry for that. Here’s the thing: food blogging was becoming a problem for my mental health. Well there’s a truth-bomb I didn’t see coming.
For those of you who aren’t bloggers, it may be hard to understand. What’s not to love about working from home, cooking delicious food all day, and taking gorgeous, mouth-watering photos? Nothing, right? There certainly are perks to those things, but food blogging is actually a tremendous amount of work. I like to point out that at any regular company, there would be a least seven people doing the job a single food blogger does on their own. A writer, a web developer, a chef, a photographer, a marketing specialist, a data analyst, a stylist, a designer… the list goes on.
But the point isn’t about how much work it is, or even about how companies and brands try to take advantage of bloggers because they are willing to do so much work for so little. For me, the breaking point was inside the blogging community, not outside it. It was seeing my Facebook feed full of posts about how to optimize SEO, make your images more pinnable, adapt to some new rule Google rolled out, get more likes on Instagram… all good, important things! Things which, you might argue, are part of any online business. But what I realized… or what I knew all along… was that these measures of success don’t mean anything to me. The harder I worked at those aspects of my website, the less enjoyment I had.
My measure of success wasn’t about numbers or likes, it was about people, and sharing something I was passionate about. The times I felt most successful were reading emails from real people who had made my recipes and loved them, or getting a comment that someone had baked something for their grandmother while she was in the hospital. But those moments are few and far between. More often — daily, in fact — I felt drowned under a sea of people trying to get ahead, emails asking me to work for free, or empty, one-word comments left not because they read my post, but in the hope I would return the favor and boost their SEO.
And I get it, all these things are part of the blogging world, and that’s not going to change. Truly, I’m not trying to complain — just to explain. For me, these things became overwhelming, to the point where I was having trouble finding the good parts. The parts that were supposed to make it all worthwhile. I kept trying to see past the disingenuous face of things to find those moments of authenticity, of real connection… but the truth is I was tired of fighting the current. I felt alone, burned out, and like the passion that had been so bright in the beginning was about to flicker out.
So I took a break. A ten month break, in which I secretly dreamed of a website that wasn’t about food. (Gasp!) In which I could write without pressure. Without having to include a picture-perfect recipe (do you know how long it took me to even decide to make this post without a recipe in it? Weeks.) Without putting my heart into a blog post everyone will scroll past to get to the recipe at the bottom. Really, I thought… the internet can survive with one less food blog, right?
That doesn’t mean this site is going away — I know there are those of you reading this who are thinking, “that’s not me! I don’t just scroll past what you write!” — thank you, and I know. You are why I loved food blogging so much to begin with. But the recipes you love aren’t going anywhere, and heck, I’ll still be here too, even if I’m not making new posts.
What I am getting at with all this is, I finally accepted that food blogging wasn’t good for my mental or emotional health. As much as I tried to ignore that fact and focus on the parts I enjoyed, I couldn’t deny it forever. To all my food blogger friends reading this right now — you have my deepest respect and admiration.
And now, for those of you who have read this far (thank you) I’m happy to share some news. That website I was dreaming about? I made it happen.
The new site is called The Gratitude Log, and it’s all about the importance of gratitude, and cultivating gratitude through journaling.
I’ve talked about gratitude journaling a few times before, and it’s pretty much just what it sounds like: journaling with the intention of finding things to be grateful for. This explanation is deceptively simple, though, and doesn’t do justice to just how awesome keeping a gratitude journal can be. If you want to know more about why I love it so much, you can read more about it here.
And it’s about more than that, too — it’s also about creativity, art, bullet journaling, hand-lettering, mental health and positivity… basically it’s about life, with some art and journaling thrown in.
If you are interested in following me on this new adventure, or if journaling is your jam, come check it out at TheGratitudeLog.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love to see you there.
And of course, I would be remiss to talk about the importance of gratitude, and to paint such a dark story of my recent months of food blogging, without also pointing out how incredibly grateful I am to have done it. Creating this site has had many up-sides, the most important of which is making connections with all of you — each and every one, whether you have commented or not, whether you’ve made any of my recipes or not — if you are reading this right now, thank you. That sounds so stupid and cliche, but I don’t have a better way to say it right now. Thanks for reading.