Five Years In

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27 May Five Years In

I was poking about the archives, looking for inspiration and to my shock realized that Christie’s Corner recently turned 5. Five? Five! How’d that happen? As a classic ENFP, I don’t stick with anything that long. Okay, I’ve been married for almost 9 years, but to keep things fresh I rearrange the furniture every six months. And yet, this blog has been quietly chugging along in one form or another for half a decade. What gives?

To be honest, there are times I have considered throwing in the dish towel. I’ve often asked myself, Does the world really need another recipe for butternut squash soup? After all, other than an embarrassing amount of cat hair wafting about my kitchen and a natty TARDIS cookie jar, what sets me apart from the others? But just when I am ready to pack up my camera and wipe the virtual counter clean, a book, a person or an idea comes along that says, “Keep going.”

And you know me. I always do as I’m told.

So, for the next little while — I make no promises on length or frequency–  I’m going to look at a few of the resources that have helped me get past the blogging bumps. Recipe rubberneckers, here’s some soup. Go make a batch. It’s lovely. Everyone else, follow me. Today’s topic? Getting past “why”.

Great. Another Flipping Food Blog

Admit it. When someone tells you they have a blog, you change the topic and surreptitiously look for the nearest exit. And I don’t blame you. There are literally millions of blogs clogging the internet, and only a small percentage of them are worth visiting. And of all the blog topics in the world, food is one of the most popular subjects. And within this ridiculously over-populated realm, every nook, cranny and niche is stuffed. Southern, Asian, gluten-free, vegan, raw food and local are just a few of the specializations. I dabble in “homemade” which touches on everything but Sandra Lee. So, why bother? I asked myself this often. Then I read The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done by Gene C. Hayden. (McClelland & Stewart, 2010) and got my answer.

This book could have been written for me. While I don’t suffer from all the issues covered in its pages, I saw myself in the author. Hayden, a journalist of 15 years, once tested the often choppy waters of travel writing, dabbled in fiction and lurched toward a humour column before withdrawing. I put a fat green check mark beside all these. Like the author, “I wasn’t particularly adept at sticking to my goals.” If I’m completely honest, I define flibbertigibbet.

Hayden’s book isn’t about blogging or any pursuit in particular, but looks at  achieving your goals — professional and/or personal. She addresses such common stumbling blocks as self-doubt, lack of time / energy / money / passion, too many ideas (it happens!), impatience, boredom and fear of failure. I readily admit to impatience, boredom and playing endless games of Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe with my ideas. But my biggest stumbling block was Why Bother Syndrome. Hayden’s chapter entitled “Yes, But What’s The Point?” turned my thinking around.

I pulled out the highlighter for the following passages:

  • If a lot of people are already doing what you want to do, that just proves there’s a market for it.
  • The issue isn’t whether the world needs you to make your idea happen, but whether you need to make your idea happen to make your life more interesting.
  • We live in a copy-cat culture where goods and services are cloned by the second. But you can’t clone a human. What you bring to the playing field is your individual uniqueness. That’s your true added value.

I’m the added value? A book about following through on your goals, once again supports the internet adage:  Content is King.

In that case, hand me a tiara and call me Princess.

What blogging / career demons do you battle? Do share. Got a question? Ask. But most importantly, did you like the soup?


Photo © TheDeliciousLife. Published under a Creative Commons License.

 

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  • debbie koenig
    Posted at 09:25h, 27 May Reply

    Happy blogaversary! I’m coming up on my 7th, and these days my biggest fight involves time management. So easy to let the blogging slide in favor of paying work, time with the family, etc.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:50h, 27 May Reply

      Seven years? Congratulations!! Very impressive.

      Time management is always an issue. I used to post 5 times a week. Now? I max out at 3. I took unscheduled and lengthy breaks during a stint at a full-time office job, the kitchen reno and Andrew’s recent knee surgery. So pay and family do come first. When I returned, I was surprised how understanding everyone was. I have great readers!

  • Sheryl
    Posted at 10:20h, 27 May Reply

    Interesting. Going to the library to get this now.

    Having a unique voice is imperative in the current glut of blogs – from January to early-April when I did the Toronto food blog round-ups, I kept track of butternut squash soup posts; my brain exploded at 39 – but there is a point in the idea that if everybody is doing it then there must be a market for it. It depends though, on whether an individual wants to be a part of that market or wants to stand out for being different.

    To me, all that soup ran together and made me cranky. It’s what made me stop doing that column. I’d kill to come across a local blog with recipes from small villages in Thailand, or a culinary exploration of Africa. Alas, it’s mostly all just squash soup.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:55h, 27 May Reply

      You make a good point about whether you want to be a part of a specific market or not. I’ve opted out of certain niches because I lacked the passion or can’t do it nearly as well as it’s being done.

      As technology advances, you might find those blogs you long for. In the meantime, I won’t post any more squash soup recipes, but brace yourself. Strawberry season is fast approaching and you might drown in shortcake.

      Thanks for your great comments.

  • cheryl
    Posted at 12:45h, 27 May Reply

    Wow, I had no idea CC has been around that long. Congratulations! You’ve done amazing work here, and you’ve certainly taught me quite a lot along the way.

    I loved this line especially: “The issue isn’t whether the world needs you to make your idea happen, but whether you need to make your idea happen to make your life more interesting.” So true.

    Happy anniversary, Charmian. And seriously? We need to meet, for real.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:57h, 27 May Reply

      Thanks, Cheryl. I’ve learned from you, too. But isn’t that what it’s all about? I figure the moment it becomes formula I hang up the keyboard and camera.

      And yes, we seriously need to meet. For real! Really wishing I’d signed up for the IACP conference. Maybe next year.

  • terry
    Posted at 14:02h, 27 May Reply

    Oh congratulations. I always look forward to your latest blog and am so happy that you have continued on despite, well a bunch of hurdles (most recently a certain convalescent, lol). I for one love what you’re doing.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:26h, 27 May Reply

      Thank, Terry. That means a lot. Really.

      Recently, many of the hurdles have been mental. I don’t want to “phone it in”. Nice to know you don’t mind the lapses!

  • Jill Silverman Hough
    Posted at 14:13h, 27 May Reply

    Happy, happy birthday! Very, very cool.

    And I, too, love the second bullet point. It asks you to evaluate your actions not on their marketability, but on their importance to you. Like, if you HAVE to write a blog, it really doesn’t matter whether the world needs another, only that you’d be compromising your integrity, sacrificing you happiness and self-expression if you didn’t do it. Those things are waaay more expensive than committing a marketing blunder, you know?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:32h, 27 May Reply

      Thanks, Jill. I agree totally. With so many “experts” telling you to research keywords, use SEO, establish your niche, there are times when the joy just gets sucked out of the process. If I ignore the Alexa number, the number of daily hits, the “reach”, etc, I’ll stay sane.

      Marketing blunders be damned. I’m soldiering on!

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 10:31h, 28 May Reply

    Wow, – 5 years deserves a celebration and I will drop by with a special gift later today in honour of the occasion!
    I love your blog because it is funny (very funny) inventive, covers a variety of topics, includes pictures and is so ‘human”. Your blog is also a winner because it is so interactive.
    So, keep blogging as long as the satisfaction you get outweighs the work and frustration – which I hope is for the next 25 years.
    Bon Appétit!
    Love,
    Robin

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:13h, 29 May Reply

      Thanks, although I should disclose to readers that you are very biased — being my sister and all.

      Not sure I can promise 25 more years of blogging but I do look forward to what the future brings and this blog will be part of that for as long as this technology makes sense. Plus, I can’t let all this hard-earned tech knowledge go to waste.

      And thanks for the celebratory gift. It was delicious!

  • Lana
    Posted at 02:30h, 29 May Reply

    I am patting myself on the shoulder for recently celebrating my first blog anniversary, and here you have put five years of blogging behind yourself. I don’t need more inspiration, truly!
    Five years of witty, entertaining, wonderfully written posts, speckled with real food recipes is much, much more than the majority of food blogs have had to offer. I am so happy that you endured:)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:23h, 29 May Reply

      Congratulations on your first anniversary! Pat yourself on the back and raise a glass of champaign!! The first year is the hardest. It’s not just the learning curve of the tech, which can be a challenge, but figuring out your place in the blogosphere. In some ways finding your groove with a blog is like breaking in a really, really stubborn pair of workboots. It causes discomfort and takes way longer than you think it will, but eventually results in a perfect fit only you can carry off.

      Thanks so much for your kind comments. I’m blushing. And I’m touched to know you’re inspired. That’s worth a tiara any day.

  • Karis' Kitchen
    Posted at 00:13h, 01 June Reply

    Congratulations on your milestone! I really enjoy reading your blog. I’m hopeful that I’ll make it to five years too…I’m an ISTJ, maybe that’ll help? :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:11h, 01 June Reply

      Thanks so much. I checked out your Myers-Briggs profile and you will no doubt outlast me by a long shot. I bet you even make an editorial calendar and stick to it. I plan and then a new idea bumps things.

      For those who don’t know this M-B type, ISTJs are “very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are ‘good citizens’ who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities.” Sounds like the perfect profile for a conscientious food blogger who’s in it for the long run.

      Keep at it!

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