Today marks my sixth month of blogging. What an extraordinary experience it has been. Like a chef concocting a new recipe, I thought it would be a fun way to express my passions and connect with a few people as fascinated with the internal stew of the psyche as I am. But I was totally unprepared for the nourishment I’d receive in return. To celebrate today’s milestone, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned.
(1) Blogging is not a piece of cake. It’s thinking and reading and creating a recipe and gathering ingredients and measuring and stirring and preheating the oven and watching the clock and stopping the baking process before the layers are overdone and cooling and handling them with care so they don’t fall apart and making the icing and decorating with delectable images, then washing and putting everything away so you can get on with your life — all the stuff that goes into creating what you hope will be a delicious treat for an unknown clientele and then discovering that some people like the way it tastes and some don’t and learning to be okay with that!
(2) Blogging is not for wimps. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A blog is like a restaurant anyone can patronize. And I mean that literally! People have different tastes and opinions and there are a few who see other peoples’ blogs as open invitations to push their own agendas or flaunt their self-importance. I’ve had to get tough and uninvite one or two.
(3) Bloggers do not dine alone. Until six months ago writing isolated me from my friends more than it connected me to them. I saw them rarely and between visits they knew virtually nothing about my work. With this blog I have renewed some treasured old friendships and formed several new ones, and all of you know exactly what I’m cooking because you’re digesting it! This is a particularly lovely and completely unexpected benefit of blogging.
(4) The best dishes have the fewest ingredients. My writing has always been a bit wordy. I say “a bit,” but in one of the earliest articles I submitted to a professional journal the editor crossed out about one in every six words! While this was a definite wake-up call, it did not reduce my verbal flow with anywhere near the efficiency of blogging. Writing two 500- to 600-word posts a week for six months is correcting the sloppy writing habits of 50 years!
(5) The best recipes are creative and challenging without being too difficult. Technical writing and left-brained theorizing are appropriate for gourmet chefs, but the average cook? Not so much. Few of us have the interest or luxury to spend all day in the kitchen. Blogging is expanding my awareness of my audience and helping me practice what I preach. I’m ready to stir things up more in the cauldron of my right brain. Now where’s my ladle?
(6) Cooking improves with feedback. Your comments have exposed me to ideas I’ve never considered and questions I’ve never asked; and you’ve inspired me to try out new recipes I never would have attempted without you.
(7) There are some really fascinating, wise, generous-spirited and infinitely lovable people out there, and I’m very grateful so many of them dine at Jeanie’s Restaurant. Thank you, everyone.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave