Why I blog

 

Reasons 

I’ve been thinking a lot about reasons why I blog.

In my undergrad years, I was an English major.  In high school I thought I was a smart cookie. College proved me wrong.  My personal essays, my critical theory were, in a word, awful.  In my classes I felt like such a poser.  I didn’t belong.  I was not talented.  I could not write.  What I could do though, was listen.  And I loved learning.  I wanted to be a writer, but at 20, I didn’t have anything to write about.  So the plan was to become an English teacher, a very practical, noble profession. (One that I ultimately, never entered.)

 

Evolution

I first began this blog, 3 1/2 years ago, as a way to share recipes & tips about how to go vegan. That was it.  I didn’t have a clue about the greater blogging world.  I didn’t go to conferences.  I signed up for twitter, but promptly shut that down since I couldn’t figure out how the whole tweeting thing worked (I have since rejoined, in March of this year).  The list of other blogs I read was less than the fingers on one hand.

My approach to blogging was straightforward:  have an idea in my head, take some pictures (if applicable), post, & move on with my life.  I always read comments, but I didn’t realize that it was good manners to do my best to respond to comments & help facilitate a discussion.  If I got a comment(s), I’d think, “oh that’s nice, a comment,” & get on with my day.  My life was a flurry of activity & lists that revolved around caring for my growing brood:  laundry, grocery shopping, breastfeeding, changing diapers, supporting a law student, teaching a dozen+ fitness classes a week.  My life was hectic.  Heaven only knows how I managed to post anything at all.

I posted a lot my first year of blogging, less the 2nd year, & then last year, hardly at all. I think I had a total of less than 30 posts during 2011.  There were even points during last year, where I thought, I need to ax the blog.  My life was too cluttered at that point.  I didn’t see the value of hanging onto something that seemed to only weigh me down.  But something in the back of my mind said, “no, just put things on hold for awhile, wait it out.”  After pursuing these feelings, I realized, sure, why not?  I’ve gone to all the work, why get rid of it–at least for the time being.

Sometimes I think I must be crazy.  Insane.  And that bloggers, in general, are also insane.  But I suppose the whole artistic community might fit under this description.  We create, we slave, often for pennies, & even more often, at an expense.  Why do we do it?  I can’t speak for others, but I’ll tell you some of the reasons why I do it.

 

Work 

Blogging, or at least blogging that is of any value, is work.  A daily blog is even more work.  It can easily be a never-ending consuming job, if one wants to pursue it professionally.  Which is ironic, because in the pursuit of sharing your life via a blog, you can lose your life.

If you’re a one man, or woman (as the case may be) show, you act as editor, photgrapher, recipe/craft/idea developer.  You have to market yourself, keep up to date on latest social media trends & establish a presence there.

I spend 20-40 hours a week on my blog.  Now many of the hours are spent developing recipes that I would do regardless of having a blog.  I usually have my kids help me out with that & it’s a natural part of our day.  I often have them help me take pictures & taste food.

Beyond that though, I’m at the computer.  I edit pictures, write posts, respond to comments. This takes 3-4 hours a day.  The actual post doesn’t take much time (usually), it’s the social networking that takes up a good chunk of time.

 

Network 

I realized early on, this year, when I decided to get serious about my blog that I could no longer operate in isolation.  I needed to branch out, make friends, collaborate, & participate in the greater blogging community at large.

This takes time–could easily take unlimited amounts of time.  Twitter never sleeps, nor does fb, nor do blogs for that matter.  It’s a constant stream of social interaction & for better or worse, it’s an important piece of the blogging puzzle.  I’m convinced part of the reason my blog has improved, has been because of the things I’ve learned from other bloggers.  By interacting & making connections outside of my own little world.

 

Time

When Joseph was around (& a SAHD, for that matter), I worked & blogged in the mornings & during the day because he was around to help tend the children.  Now that he’s gone, I have to be a bit more creative (ie. operate on less sleep).

My 18 month old requires the most attention & care, but my older ones are now at the stage where they can often be supervised from a distance, play outside, do puzzles, (sometimes) watch movies, play games together, without my full-on participation.  They also, many times, will play with Salem, so I am able to get things done during small increments of time during the day.  Now I do most of my blogging work at night, early morning & nap time.

 

$$$

Currently, although I post daily (or thereabouts) & have built up a readership, I do not make any money with the blog.  I do earn commission on sales from my Amazon store, but the profits are less than paltry.  I realized the other day, as I calculated my “profits” that in the 3 years since I’ve had my Amazon store, I’ve made a grand total of $100.  I make a few cents each time someone buys a book, so if you put that into perspective, people have purchased at least a thousand books through my link.  Makes me happy to think many, many people are using a cookbook or reading a particular book at the recommendation of muah.  That counts for something.

I also am an affiliate with Blendtec (which means I make a commission if someone purchases anything from Blendtec via my link).  Let’s just say, this money is not in any way close to paying the bills.

There are also expenses to take into account.  We put down a chunk to invest in a DSLR camera & a few lenses (probably would have done so at some point anyway).  I paid a coder & a designer to re-vamp my ( free, albeit lacking in so many ways) blogger site & move it to a self-hosted WP site (a move I’m thankful for every day), which cost several thousand dollars.  I now pay for little monthly fees related to running the site such as web-hosting, spam-prevention, etc.  Another expense is blogger conferences.  I’ve only been to one, but I’ve got tickets to next year’s Alt Summit in SLC & am considering going to another food blogger’s conference in Alabama in the winter.  YES.  It all adds up.  In the end, you’ve got ask yourself–is it really worth it?

For me it is.

 

Why

When I had my “ah-ha!” moment this past February & decided I needed to not only continue the blog, but pursue it from a professional standpoint, I weighed all these considerations.  For weeks.  I remember finally deciding, “Yes.  I’m going to go forward with this thing.”

Then I got online to look at other blogs one night & began crying.

“Why does it matter if I blog?” I blubbered to Joseph.

“If I don’t blog, someone else will.  The world doesn’t need more recipes.  Chances are, any recipe I’m bound to come up with has been shared by someone else.  Someone better.”

Also, only I can be my kid’s mom.  Anyone can blog.  I did not want to sacrifice precious minutes & moments at the altar of my professional/personal pursuits.

I remember looking at Oh She Glows, one site in particular that made me think–how can I possibly compete with that?  Joseph’s reply, & I’ve since realized it’s truth, is that the goal isn’t to compete.

“Just be yourself.  That’s why it matters.  Share you.  No one can compete with that.”

When Joseph & I had long discussions about the why behind my blog, we decided it was something I should do.  He would support me (& he has, over & over).

We feel it important to share the joys of family life (& good food, which is an integral part).  It would be much easier, simpler, to not blog.  But we feel it important to share.  For me to share our little world, through my lens, through my imperfect, (most times) insignificant voice.

 

Marathon

Writing a daily blog is like running a marathon.  You’ve got to have grit, dogged determination.  Be willing to work for free for as long as it takes.  To give, give, give.  And have lots of faith in what you’re doing.  Admittedly, not an easy task.

What really makes it worth it?

Loyal readers who often leave kind words that make my day (Dana & Tanya).  Readers who have been around since the early days of this blog & have stuck around through the thick & thin (Joya & Sabrina).  That reader who let me know once she found my blog she read every single post (April).  Emails from appreciative readers (you know who you are).

Knowing that no matter who reads my blog, how many unique visitors or pageviews, at the end of the day, I can rest my head on my pillow, content knowing that I gave it my all.  It may not be the best that’s out there.  But it’s my best.  That in some measure, it’s good.  Beautiful even.

That’s what matters.

 

Why I blog, part 2  I share a few more thoughts on blogging & I’ll tell you some of the blogs that I look to for inspiration on my journey as a writer & blogger.
Why I blog, part 3
Blogging: 13 things I wish I’d known sooner 

♥♥♥

Do you blog?  If so, why do you do it?
Is there something in your life that you do, even though it doesn’t quite make sense, that you just have to do?

 

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Comments


  1. Kristie Hill
    on July 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

    Hahaha, I love the graphic,”Why I blog… I’m insane” Only a blogger would understand.

  2. Pingback: Anne P.’s Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pecans. Plus, Making Time for Friends: How Relationships Keep Me Centered. « buttertown.com

  3. Pingback: Anne P.’s Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pecans. Plus, Making Time for Friends: How Relationships Keep Me Centered.

  4. Lauren
    on November 3, 2012 at 9:10 am said:

    I’m so glad you’re still blogging or I never would have found your site, which I have come to really enjoy.

    I used to blog, but I too approached it more in the way that you did at the beginning. Then grad school came and took over my life. But I have this deep hope that one day I can have a blog again, one that I can invest in, pour into, and be myself on. That season is not here yet. Sometimes I’m sad because the blogging world keeps breathing as I’m taking my “time out”. However, I do enjoy following blogs. It’s probably one of my biggest hobbies. :)

  5. Pingback: Why Do I Blog? | Laid Off Mom

  6. Dana
    on September 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm said:

    Just *finally* catching up on reading my very favorite blog tonight! I am so thankful that you made the generous(!) decision to keep blogging. You touch so many lives for the better, Janae. We talk about outreach at church a lot, and to me, your blog exemplifies what that is all about. Thank you for sharing your faith, your family and your wisdom with us. And thank you for accepting all of us just as we are while encouraging us through your words and actions to work toward our own goals. As my oldest says, You totally rock. I’m so grateful to have discovered you!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 10, 2012 at 11:09 am said:

      Thank you Dana. Outreach, serving others can happen in various ways, & I’d like to think that’s what am doing, in a way, with the blog. Thank you for your uplifting, kind words.

  7. April
    on September 7, 2012 at 2:15 am said:

    I am glad that you continue blogging! I still read every single post and your blog is hands down my favorite. Thanks for keeping it up!

  8. Mitlik
    on September 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm said:

    Jeane,

    I read through most of your blog about the time you starting talking this last update to your website. I found it instrumental in an attempt at trying out a 6 day/week vegan diet that lasted roughly 2.5 months. During that time I lost 30lbs, and have never felt better. In all honesty I am trying to figure out why I can’t recapture the magic that let me do it before. With your blog in the matter of a few weeks I was able to change from a very meat centric diet to a plant based diet that I really enjoyed.

    I watched Forks Over Knives with my girlfriend (who had been a vegetarian for a 2 year stint previously, but never made it to vegan) and then looked around the web and found your blog. It gave the information and the motivation to try out a vegan diet, not just vegan, but the whole foods vegan that McDougal and other MDs like him recommend.

    I, for one, am glad you blog. Being a 20-something male with no interest in children of his own (but perhaps interest in adopting at some point in the future) I don’t relate well to the motherhood posts, but I enjoyed the wealth of information and the passion you’ve shared in your blog.

    • Mitlik
      on September 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm said:

      My sincerest apologies for mispelling your name. That is how I pronounced your name in my head. :(

  9. Gena
    on September 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm said:

    It’s easy to have that response of “I can’t compete with that” to amazing blogs. I feel that exact same way when I read Ange’s blog (and so, so many others).

    That said, I’ve also learned to put my blog in context. I adore CR and it animates everything about my life: I blog almost every day, and I love every second of the process. But the truth is that I’m not a full time blogger, not even close: I’m a full time pre-med, and school supersedes everything. I’m also a hospital volunteer, a part time researcher, and a person with personal passions, like yoga. I put all of my honesty and heart into every post, but there are a certain number of hours a day I can’t devote to the blog, which means photos are usually pretty average, food isn’t styled, and I can’t comment nearly as much as I wish I can. I used to feel a lot of tension and stress about this — never feeling like my blog measured up — but now I just relax, enjoy every word, and also recognize that I’m doing the best I can in the context of my own life.

    Which is all to say, I agree with your husband’s sentiment about being yourself. Wise words :)

  10. Heather
    on September 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm said:

    I am a “new” follower and am so happy to have found you – I look forward to your posts and the reason being IS because you are you – I love your honesty and getting to know you though your writing.

    I personally am so grateful you decided to continue your blogging journey :)

    Oh gosh – I had many of the same, shall I call them insecurities as you did about blogging; how do I compete, everyone is so much better – was being way to hard on myself…then I took a moment and stepped back and realized that I blog and create because I enjoy the entire process and meeting and discovering amazing people and blogs such as yours.

    Thanks for sharing, looking forward to part 2!

  11. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    on September 6, 2012 at 8:18 am said:

    Such a great post- I am so grateful you didn’t shut down this beautiful blog!!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 6, 2012 at 8:44 am said:

      Hi Liz! Thank you, very kind of you to say so.

  12. Joya
    on September 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

    I’m so very grateful you didn’t quit!! I appreciate what you do so much, you really do touch my life and you’ve added so much to my days by sharing yourself so freely with us!

  13. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on September 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm said:

    I think everyone who blogs comes to a crossroads wondering if their content is worth it and wondering “who cares.”
    I am glad that you made the decision to stick with it. I am so very glad to be reading your blog and connecting through Twitter (an awesome networking function now that I know how to use it).
    You are a constant source of inspriration and positive attitude. I can say that I look forward to your posts all the time.
    Keep the good work and I (as well as the many many others) will continue to read.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm said:

      Thank you Rachel. Twitter is an amazing tool for getting to know others. A lot of people just see it as a way to hawk their ware, but if that’s the approach, twitter doesn’t “work.” It only works once you start using it to socialize, & sharing. Then it becomes a natural, organic way to build your business, blog, what have you.

      Thanks for being so kind. Glad to have you as a blogging buddy & excited for your new dietary change. You’re awesome Rachel.

  14. Cadry
    on September 5, 2012 at 10:23 am said:

    I love this post and especially this line: “Just be yourself. That’s why it matters. Share you. No one can compete with that.” The blogs that resonate the most with me are the ones written by people who speak to their own unique experiences and lives and with their own voices. It begins to feel like a friendship, where we go to hear stories and share viewpoints.

    Like you, I started my blog three years ago to help people who were interested in transitioning to a vegan diet. When I’d gone vegan, there was a lot about the process that seemed overwhelming. I wanted to help simplify that for other people. It was also a creative outlet for writing, photography, and cooking. In these three years, it’s become a place to find community, build relationships, and find common ground. Definitely worth the work! :)

  15. Sabrina
    on September 5, 2012 at 7:10 am said:

    I so glad you never quit blogging. I have lots of blogs in my feed reader (too many, really) and most posts I just skim but I always make a point of reading yours. You have a lot of great insight, experience and instruction and an enjoyable way of expressing yourself. I devoured all your whole foods vegan posts right when I discovered your blog and was starting into a whole new world of nutrition I knew so little about. I always thought it a shame that I had just moved from Provo a few months before I discovered you because had I still lived there, maybe I would have run into you one day, maybe at library time at the beautiful Provo City Library or something. Anyway, I am glad you decide to continue and expand your content. I continue to enjoy getting to know you, even if it is just via cyberspace.

    I have a blog where I mostly just posts pics and stories from our lives, for relatives and far away friends to view. I used to keep it up. Now I feel like it’s a real chore, so I can’t even imagine the time it takes to make a professional blog with regular content. I hope it continues to be a source of joy for you and your family. Then, the readers, can continue to enjoy reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 5, 2012 at 9:28 am said:

      Sabrina, I think I remember you mentioning you used to live in Provo. That would have been lovely to run into you at the library (I’ve actually ran into a few readers at the library & at the grocery store when we lived in Provo–it was so fun!).

      Thanks for reading & commenting, you add so much to this little space. I appreciate all your kind words Sabrina. ox

  16. Drisana
    on September 5, 2012 at 6:14 am said:

    Hi Janae! I loved this post, so much truth. I blog as a form of creative expression, sharing things that I am passionate about with others. There is so much value in that alone! Although, I often forget and have to remind myself :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 5, 2012 at 9:20 am said:

      Hi Drisana. I think you hit the nail on it’s head. So much of it is about having a place to creatively express yourself. Combining that with goodness & passion, even better! Good thing to remember there’s such value (even if it’s not monetary) in creative expression.

  17. Ashlee Crozier
    on September 5, 2012 at 4:09 am said:

    How ironic that you compared your blog to others and then felt like quitting. Isn’t that always the way? I still find myself doing this, and then realize, that no matter how many other people blog, it doesn’t satisfy MY need to share what I have learned or MY need to share my voice.

    When I first went vegan a year ago my husband found your blog after doing a google search for the word of wisdom and veganism. Up came your blog. You had awesome thoughts and responses to questions about the gospel + being vegan.

    AND, you had amazing posts about how to do veganism the RIGHT WAY. Because there are so many ways to do it wrong.

    I built my first meals off of pictures that you posted — they weren’t even recipes. I know now that they were meals from the McDougall program, and hence I lost 20 pounds in short order. People have asked me how I knew to do it the way that I did. Among having family members who love whole foods, your blog was right up there with the reason for my success. Your book references to John McDougall (and your obvious love and passion for his program) and Dreena Burton have been life-savers. You taught principles that will feed this family for a lifetime. I don’t know if you remember your cookbook challenge? BE BOLD, you said. Get some cookbooks, and not just a few, and try out recipes. What works for one family may not work for another.

    Now I can’t help but share that passion for learning and creating. It’s like an intense itch that keeps getting worse until I share on my blog.

    I never thought your old-er blog was boring or hard to navigate at all. I never thought it was too simple. Just hearing from YOU, your experiences, seeing pictures of what you ate on a day-to-day basis, reading your book references, etc. Made all the difference in my life. Because your writing is so real. It’s not trumped up, it’s not a facade. It’s who you really are, and it was all about how you really succeeded. Thank you for sharing – don’t ever give up.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 5, 2012 at 9:25 am said:

      Ashlee! I’m soo glad you took the time to comment. I was actually thinking about you yesterday–I was trying to remember the name of your blog because I never added it to my google reader & I really wanted to see what you were up to. I’m now following your blog, & so happy to see that you TOO are sticking with it. I’m so impressed with you & your enthusiasm & your willingness to share (because, as you know, it’s not easy to share or blog with lots of little ones to care for as well!). Made my day to hear from you & now looking forward to following you along your journey. (& thank you for your sincere compliments–means so much.)

  18. lfwfv
    on September 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm said:

    I love your blog and it is the only blog I comment on! There’s something about your writing style, transparency, love of family, dedication to nourishing food, and your pictures (love your pictures) that just speak to me. I love reading every post you write.

    As a professional violinist, i can totally relate to working for pennies to do what you love! Yes, i make a good living at it, but when I add up all the hours I have spent, and continue to spend practicing, prepping, lesson planning, performing etc.., it is evident that much of my labor is not compensated monetarily. I need to continue to make my living at it though, because it’s my passion.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm said:

      You are so sweet. You have no idea what these kind words mean to me. Seriously, they’re my bread & butter. You’re a classy, extremely intelligent lady, so you’re high opinion means so much. Thank you, & thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful, kind note.

      I know I’ve told you this before, but I think it’s so cool that you’re a professional violinist. I desperately wanted to be musically talented growing up, but never had the parental support to take lessons. My 3 older kids are starting piano lessons this year, so hopefully they’ll have a better musical foundation than I ever did. Awesome that you can pursue your passion & get paid for it (although I’m sure you *should* get paid more for it than you do!). Again, thanks for being awesome Tanya.

  19. Sandra
    on September 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm said:

    I DO blog and sometimes I also question why I am doing it. I have that Ira Glass gap between the vision I have for my blog and the reality of what I am able to execute right now. But then I look back to where I began and where I am now and see what I have learned and the community that I have built.

    And yes, the comparison game. Gah….I have idea “x” and then see a bunch of other bloggers do it much better than I can. But your guy is right – only you can tell your story. Only I can take photos like I do.

    When I get frustrated or down or discouraged, I remind myself of why I started this blogging thing – as a commitment to myself to live more creatively and also to make friends/build community around shared interests. Is that happening? Check.

    And as to the things that I do that don’t make sense – but I have to do them. Do you have the time? Film festivals, jazz piano, photography, etc. All sorts of passions and interests that make no sense in a dollars and cents world. But they do feed my soul.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm said:

      First, anyone who alludes to, or quotes Ira Glass is my instant attention & respect.

      Second, I think you hit on many important points. The key to it all (if there is one) is realizing there are absolutely no short cuts. Any successful blogger has put in the time, hours, & consistency. The consistency & endurance is where most people fail, I think. I know I was “this close” to quitting at about 2 years. Just seemed pointless, no pay off. Not that I’m making the big bucks, but only now am I starting to see real momentum from years of hard work. I finally feel like I have a history with people. I feel a lot more comfortable calling myself a blogger, & feel like I’m finally hitting my stride.

      You pointed out another significant detail–so much of what we do in life (especially if we’re art lovers) doesn’t make dollar sense, but it feeds our creative hunger.

      Thanks for stopping by Sandra & taking the time to leave such an insightful comment (I loved your post on heirloom tomatoes, btw).

  20. Christie Jones
    on September 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm said:

    I loved reading this! I do blog and I am in the same boat now trying to make the move to a self hosted site and really amp things up. I get discouraged all the time when I try to compare myself to other but then I too have to remember that I am me and no one else is. Thanks for sharing!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm said:

      Hi Christie! Being a design blogger would intimidate/scare the pants off of me. You are doing great! Your site is lovely. Like I was telling Sandra, it’s time + hard work + consistency + more time. No escaping the time factor. Simply no way around it. & comparing. Ah, that’s a tricky one, because you’ll never win. There is just ALWAYS someone better, isn’t there? Thanks for your thoughts Christie, & hang in there, bit, by bit.

  21. Ricki
    on September 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm said:

    You’ve really summed this up beautifully, Janae. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But I do feel that the connections one makes via blogging are priceless. I have met so many wonderful people–some in person, most not–and made true, lasting friendships through blogging. It is, indeed, hard work, but something I can’t imagine not doing. And your lovely, unique voice is one that’s appreciated by so many (not to mention the gorgeous photos, food and family!). :D

    • Janae Wise
      on September 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm said:

      Thank you Ricki. I agree with you, the relationships are what it’s all about. Just priceless to be able to connect with so many amazing, talented & wonderful people. Thanks for stopping by!

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