Becoming a Different Type of Blogger: Why I'm Not Going to be a Food Blogger Anymore

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Things got a little quiet around here last week.

With holiday gift lists, party recipes, and general internet buzz in full swing, I’m sure a missed post or two didn’t ring any alarms out in the rest of the world. But after nearly a full year (!) of sharing twice-weekly articles on this domain, it felt pretty bizarre not queuing something up this past Thursday—and missing my usual Tuesday post time yesterday morning.

It’s all been for good reason, though.

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Image: Judit Klein via Flickr

As a list-making addict and total sucker for a good goal-setting session, much of my recent spare time has been spent a) planning for 2014 and b) reflecting on 2013.

A lot has happened this year, y’all. Some things I did:

  • Left a job at which I loved the people but daily tore myself apart
  • Nursed my mom (with the aid of my sister and grandmother) through serious cancer-removing surgery
  • Moved, alone, across the planet, where I now love + hate + learn something from that decision every day
  • Wrote a book
  • Started this site, meeting a bunch of a-fucking-mazing people through it, and generally using it as a sanity-saving anchor + constant butt-kicker to keep cooking, writing and connecting

Whew. A lot of other things happened, too, but that’s enough for now.

Recently, though, I’ve begun to realize something. The direction in which Eat Well. Party Hard.is currently headed? It’s trapping me into a place I don’t really want to be.

A quick scan of Google Analytics shows that most of the traffic on my blog is generated by the recipes I share. And it’s awesome to know that people out there might actually be taking inspiration from what I cook up in this tiny kitchen. But here’s the thing, guys: I don’t want to be a food blogger.

I love cooking. Cooking is therapeutic and nourishing and magical. Seeing what fellow food-obsessed souls create (like here and here and here) is an activity I enjoy daily. But the process of sharing my own culinary experiments online is not what makes me jump out of bed in the morning.

What does do that is relationships. The one-on-one kind. Specifically, relationships with people. Not with my camera or with Photoshop.

At my previous job, it wasn’t the convince-this-music-director-to-play-XYZ-record routine (ugh), or the ever-packed show schedule, or even all the free music that kept me coming in to work. It was the relationships I had with my MDs, and the bond I shared with my radio team. Without those, I would have been fired for lack of punctuality months earlier.

Running this blog works the same way, as it turns out. It’s not the giveaway perks I really love, or the Instagram likes, or the Pinterest re-pins, or whatever. It’s the conversations shared with fellow bloggers and with readers.

Call me annoying, or call me a hippie (maybe it’s that patchouli-scented shampoo I’ve been using), but I’m here to love. I’m here to serve. Not to hold your hand and sing "Kumbaya" with you, but to help you pinpoint what’s stopping you from eating the way you really want to, and to help you accomplish the goals you’ve been sitting on for too damn long because the rest of your life is so overwhelming. Especially if you work in music or other creative industries, because I have been there and that shit is fucking demanding as hell.

Truthfully, I’ve been worried about how to transition from "food blogger"-y posts to more "helpful" + "industry-oriented" posts without losing everyone. What happens when my numbers plummet? I’ve cried. What if no one wants to read what I’m writing anymore? And instead of confronting those fears, I’ve spent more time messing with this book and creating another tumblr. Fake productivity at its finest.

But while digging through this amazing woman’s archives recently, I came across some terribly-needed lines of affirmation:

So much time in my business and life I feel like I’m wandering around in the wild blue yonder. The more alone I feel, the more I…wait for approval, look for certainty, wear pantyhose, join groups of people I don’t even like and try to get them to like me.

You have to risk being the weirdo cast-off in order to truly belong. You have to stand up and speak your truth. You have to risk isolation in order to find community.

I shortened her full quote for brevity’s sake, but you really should go read the whole thing. She is ON fucking POINT, guys.

So, I guess it’s time to stop freaking out and move forward. Eat Well. Party Hard. will evolve in 2014. There will be fewer posts (once a week, rather than twice) to make room for more worthwhile endeavors—like actually working one-on-one with people to help them achieve their health goals, and running a monthly column for these guys (as well as maintaining this one, so the recipes won’t completely disappear).

Will some of you drift away as the material here changes? Maybe so—and that’s okay. I still love you, and if you were looking for recipes, I completely understand that this space might no longer be your jam. But if you need someone who gets it—if you happen to be the assistant to some workaholic exec, or are managing royalties from a drafty warehouse in Bushwick, or you’re scrambling to put together your gallery opening in time for next weekend and subsist on more than just coffee and M&M’s—I am your woman. Know that I am here, and that you are heard.

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