I'm new to this whole blog thing. I've only been writing for 9 months. I started writing and keeping this blog as a way to get to know my relationship to food better, to understand how I cook, what I cook in a given year and also to chronicle all of this so my kids could read it someday. Also, I thought it would be pretty cool if someone outside my immediate circle read my stuff because it would mean I had something legitimate to offer. Usually, I put that aspect of blogging on the back burner. I write for me and that's that. Sometimes I'd sit to write (usually when I have been un-inspired and not in the mood) and thought "Why write? No one is going to read it anyway". But then I'd remember I was doing this for me. A self discipline and an outlet that I, most of the time adore. It sparks my creativity and gives me time to reflect. However, I couldn't help but start to wonder why other blogs I read had 50 followers, 100 followers, 750 followers, 1000 followers, and so on and why I had a meager 15, (One of whom is myself, how did that happen?) and five of whom probably read regularly. I didn't much mind this but I got curious as to how this happens and thus, I started to fall down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere.
The above picture is a shot of my computer/desk area. It's where I blog.
It's confusing guys, really. So the first thing I learned came from my friend Kel who said over breakfast, "OK, here's how you get followers...Read other people's blogs, comment and follow with a link to your blog" OK, fine. Simple enough. Except, I think I really only have an interest to read a limited number of blogs, so I wasn't sure how far that could take me. The second thing I learned was that there is this un-spoken, (or maybe it's is very spoken) rule that if you follow someone else's blog, (unless said person is a celebrity in the blog world) they should return the favor and follow you. If you are a celebrity you don't have to follow the "little people" because you have enough followers and don't need them. HA! Petty, even online! Here's the problem with that one for me; I'm not a fake person in real life (at least I don't think I am) and the same is true on the Internet. I'm not going to follow your blog to just get you to follow me. I understand why other people do this and yes, it actually works, but it's not authentic to who I am. I want people to read because they want to, not out of some bloggy obligation. In return, I'm only going to follow your blog if I like you and like reading what you have to say. I'm not going to follow you if I don't read what you publish. I just don't see the point. I don't have enough time or energy to devote to reading hundreds of blogs everyday, so why follow? I understand why other people might have other motives for doing this and that everyone has another way to look at it. This is just my opinion. I personally believe if you are good at what you do, are authentic, entertaining and know your stuff, people will follow. People are attracted when you genuinely have something to offer.
Then there's the argument that in order for people to actually know you are out there you need to market yourself to some degree. I hate this. Hate it! I couldn't sell you a $100 dollar brand new Aston Martin, let alone get you to read my blog. But I understand the necessity in this step if you want to expand your options, build friendships and create a network. So, I have no idea what I'm doing (I'm still in the process of this step) I tried to join this one network where people can find my blog and I can claim my blog (the name escapes me, but I remember it was something like "techno- something" Techerati, or something). Anyway, it's like a google for blogs, I think. Don't quote me on that. I also joined blog frog and I'm still confused as to what it does, but sometimes when I check out other peoples pages it lets them know I was there and leaves my information so they can find me and my stuff if they so choose. Then there's a blogroll and I'm still not sure what this is either. I tried to install one. It didn't work. I'm horrible at technical computer things, you know.
Who knows if will this will bring me more followers, and frankly, I'm too tired to actually find out at the moment. Following or commenting, I believe, is your civic duty if you have read someones blog more than a few times. That way they know you are reading. It lends support. It shows you like them, etc. It's just like how I believe that if you watch "Dancing With The Stars" every week for example, it's your duty to vote for who you are rooting for. It just is, and I can't help but think it. I have a friend who watches the show religiously and NEVER votes. You know who you are. I can't stand it! But I still like you...
There's also something called "Wordless Wednesday". Am I not supposed to blog on Wednesdays and instead just share a picture of food? I think not. And what's with the give-aways? I'm not complaining, but is the point to get more followers or more comments? Is it to gage how many people read your material? Or is it just that your love language is giving gifts and you just wanna express your gratitude like that? Also, how do you pick the winners? Do you play favorites?
I also just found out you can check your "stats" on your blog. To find out how many people have viewed your site that day or week or month, etc....yes, it's taken me this long to figure that out, (and I think it doesn't really know everything anyway because my husband said he read a blog of mine and it didn't show up as the page being viewed...weird) but none of that matters because what I found out is that completely random people read my blog! They really do! I had no idea you all were out there! I had like 55 hits this week alone (hundreds in the last couple months) on my recipe for spanakopita. That may seem like small potatoes to most of you, but to me it's thrilling! I found it odd however that the overwhelming majority of people were only viewing my spanakopita recipe and upon further investigation I discovered I was getting all these hits because my recipe is linked to some phyllo dough website (or maybe it's a Greek website?) for reasons completely unknown to me (how did they find me?) Maybe I should cook with Phyllo dough more often? OK, but aside from that I also learned that in the last week, 1 person from Sweden looked at my site, 2 people from China, 1 person from Italy, 15 from Brazil, 10 in South Africa, a couple from Alaska, and it's just so exciting. People I don't know reading my recipes. My stories. I'm beginning to understand why people are hungry for followers. There's a weird sense of accomplishment that comes from that and I love it. Of course all these people could have just glanced at my site, decided it was lame and moved on. Who knows? None of them are following me. I have one lone person who I do not know that currently follows me. But you know what? One is one. One is good. And I love comments/interaction so the more the better. I can start with one.
So In conclusion, I will still write for me and I will still only follow people who's blogs I'm interested in reading. And between those two things, perhaps I can wrangle a few more genuine followers...are you out there?
Let's talk Pumpkin Bread. Tis the season! This one bowl wonder makes 2 loaves, is incredibly tasty and moist and is ideal to give away to friends wrapped in parchment paper like in the picture above. It's equally as good to hog both loaves to yourself with a big mug of apple cider or buttered rum.
adapted from Paula Deen
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1Cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 large eggs
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour *see note
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 (8x5-inch) loaf pans. In a medium bowl, beat pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer (or wooden spoon) until smooth.
In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture, stirring to combine.
Pour into pans, and bake for 1 hour, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
*I used 1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour and used all purpose flour for the rest of the 2 cups. Just to attempt making this a bit healthier.
This bread bakes up beautiful and big, puffing very handsomely on top. It's a show off.