I can't believe it has already been one year since I started writing and posting on Exploring Food My Way. What started out as a venue for me to talk about bread-related topics (which is where the Breads My Way blog originated), the tone and focus of the topics has ranged from eating to cooking to baking and even silly odes to my grandmother's green fluff. In the short year that I have been writing, I have been shocked and thrilled at the number of people I have met both on-line and, more amazingly, in person. Had someone told me that a by-product of writing a blog is meeting people, I wouldn't have believed them. I do now.
I look back at the first handful of write-ups that I did when I first posted and realize how much my writing style has changed over the course of just one short year. It seems obvious that one's style improves with practice, but I think there was a bigger Eureka! moment for me which occurred about three months into writing the blog. That shift was the discovery of you, gentle reader. What started out for me as more of an on-line journal I figured that only a few of my friends or family members would bother to read, morphed into the realization that a public blog that was searchable by any number of Internet search engines will bring in readers from all over the world.
To say that I changed how I wrote because I discovered that people were reading what I had to say is a truth, albeit a half-truth. I think what really happened, and continues to happen to this day, is that my writing is driven not specifically for my readers, but with the readers always in the back of my head. I wanted to make sure that I continued to post high quality, well written and edited pieces that not only informed people about the culinary world around them, but also entertained at the same time. What better way to drive home the point of a good story than with a laugh or two, right?
One of other interesting things I've learned from writing a blog for a year is the consistent effort you need to make to always come up with fresh ideas and new perspectives. What turned out to be just another weekend out at "The Lake" with my friends ended up with The Best Canned Corn You Will Ever Eat. An invitation to my friend Nancy's Passover and Rosh Hashanah celebrations resulted in some of the best photo-driven documentation stories that it was my honor and privilege to write about. I honestly thought by this point, I would be getting tired of doing this and I would've let it fall by the wayside. I've kept journals and blogs before, and while I was always gung-ho when I started, after I filled the void that writing gives me, the entries would gradually taper off and finally just stop.
Writing about food has been different though. Every time I thought I might have writer's block, I just sat down, tuned out my entire environment, and just started writing. Sometimes I would have to go back and rewrite entire sections of a post to get the right tone. Other times, like in my entry on my late Grandpa, it was as if the entire post had already written itself in my head and I was simply taking dictation as the words flowed freely from my brain to the keyboard. As I've pointed out here before, what I do here on Exploring Foods isn't rocket science. I don't hold a special degree, I haven't taken a special "blogger" class, and I don't think that my viewpoint is any more valid than anyone else's. What I do have is passion. Passion for food, passion for finding others who are passionate about food, and passion for writing about my experiences, be they good or bad.
I won't bother you with a recitation of statistics; that would be boring and silly and the only person who cares about that is me. I would like to point out, however, that since I started keeping track of my page loads at the end of April 2009, I have seen traffic quadruple in the last eight months. Some readers are of the one-time drive-by variety, directed to my blog by a Google search. Others find my blog through a link on another site or through a search engine and discover a connection to something they read. I always love to log into my statistics software to discover someone new who felt compelled to read the last forty entries that I've posted as they sit in front of their computer for hours on end. It is a real high for me because I feel like what I have written has really connected with them. At the same time, I get that my writing style isn't for everyone and I'm okay with the one-timers, too.
I want to thank all of my readers, whether you are a one-timer or a returning visitor. Granted, I think I would've continued to write and post even if I didn't know about any of you, but you have made this adventure that much more fun. The exposure I've gotten as a result of the blog has allowed me to meet many wonderful new people in my life and experience several food opportunities I might not have gotten otherwise.
As an anniversary present to myself, I had a longtime friend of mine who has helped me in the past with PR and Marketing, design a business card for Exploring Food My Way. I found that when I am out in the real world and people discover that I write about food, many are interested in checking it out for themselves. Unfortunately, expecting people to remember the web address for this site is unrealistic. So, with my friend Jayni's help, she assisted me in focusing my vision for the new business cards. Here is the final version:
If we happen to run into each other sometime soon, feel free to ask me for your very own card; I'll be happy to give you one (or five) to help spread the word. Thanks for your continued readership and I'm looking forward to another successful year here at Exploring Food My Way!