You’re Only As Good As Your Last Post & 9 More Thoughts on Blogging

Happy New Year!  What better way to kick off 2014 than with some unsolicited advice?

I distinctly remember the small, Xeroxed sign stuck to the wall with a little piece of clear tape. It hung behind the counter of a linoleum manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I’d stare at it while I waited for my sheet of linoleum to be rolled and put into the back of the VW. (I was a commercial photographer’s assistant and the linoleum was used as backdrops in photos. This was some twenty years ago now.)

On the paper was a hand-drawn picture of Charlie Brown wearing a suit and looking like Charlie Brown looks after Lucy has pulled the football away for the umpteenth time.  He was sitting down with his head in his hands. Next to him it said: Working here is like peeing in a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices. I think about that sign from time-to-time.  Blogging is kind of like that, isn’t it?

Sometimes you feel that you are writing into a dark and silent abyss. It gives you some satisfaction to put the words down, but if nobody is reading them, does it matter?  It never seems to fail.  The post that you labored over, that you’re head-over-heels in love with – the one you are sure will draw readers and accolades from across the globe – drops out of sight mere moments after it’s been published.  What’s the sound of one blog clapping?

A good exercise in understanding why you blog is to ask yourself this question regularly: why do I blog?  For fame?  Money?  Free stuff??  For your friends and family? For yourself? The answer will affect how you write your blog and how you present yourself to the world.

Being the (ahem) blogging expert that I am…here are some suggestions for new bloggers or anyone contemplating becoming a blogger.

Acknowledge your ego.  We all enjoy and even crave a little attention now and again. What is a blog if not a deeply personal, public request for attention?  It’s okay.  It’s especially okay if you have something interesting, constructive, funny, or unique to share.  I’ll probably pass on the blog that’s nothing but selfies at the gym, however.

Don’t blog too much.  Or too little.  When I first started blogging, I thought that I had to publish a post every single day – sometimes more than one post a day, even, to attract and keep readers.  I thought everyone would be just dying to read what I had to say.  But after a few months of that reality hit in the form of Major Burnout.  Life is stressful enough without adding that kind of journalistic pressure on one’s self.  I’ve settled on a two-times-a-week schedule and that has worked out the best for my own sanity.  And probably for the sanity of my readers’.

Here’s another way to look at it.  Let’s imagine that you’re a blog reader (which most of us are).  What if all of the blogs you follow published one or more posts every single day!  You’d have to quit your job!  Meals would be eaten computer-side, and the dog would need diapers.

Bottom line – figure out what writing/reading schedule fits with the other parts of your life.

Learn the difference between destructive and constructive criticism.  If you’ve blogged for any length of time, you’ve received a snarky or downright nasty comment or two (I personally love the one someone wrote about how the blueberry-macadamia nut sauce on my peanut butter and banana waffles looked like the “blueberries threw up.”  Nice.).

And every now and then someone leaves a comment that is uncomfortably close to the mark.  Those are the ones that really sting.  The trick is separating the wheat from the chaff.  Mean comments aren’t constructive – garbage-in, garbage-out I say.  But you can learn something from a thoughtful (if painful) comment.  P.S. it doesn’t hurt to let 24 hours go by before responding to a harsh comment.  And remember the delete function is your friend.

Don’t write for someone else.  (But write as if you have readers.)  Couple of points here.  First of all, don’t try to write in the style of someone else.  Readers are canny at sniffing out insincerity.  But – – if you like what someone is doing, study their technique.  What do you like about their writing?  Why do you think it’s successful and/or interesting?  Then distill those points down and write in your own voice.  (Bonus tip: Writing well also takes lots of reading.  I’ve learned more about writing from reading books than from anywhere or anyone else.)  My favorite blogs are those where I can really hear the author’s voice and get a feel for their personality.  If you don’t like to write, keep the words to a minimum; some blog types (food, photography, art, etc.) don’t require lots of words.

If you want to write: writing well takes practice.  Lots and lots of practice – most of which should never, ever see the light of day.  Save the good stuff for your public, and in my opinion, spelling and grammar are important.  Not only in how something “sounds” to a reader, but it shows that you have respect for the complexity and beauty of the written word, and for your audience as well.

Blogs are like crack.  True, not everyone has an addictive personality, but for some of us, blogging is a voracious, time-sucking monkey on our backs.  Once we get even a little taste of success (one person commented – woohoo!), next thing we know, we’re upgrading the original blog and contemplating spin-off sites.

The blogosphere is fickle.  Blog trends come and go.  Readers come and go.  Admittedly, I have the attention span of a gnat.  Don’t take it personally.  You’ll build up a nice loyal cadre of followers and friends.  Your dog blog pack is what makes blogging worthwhile.

You’re only as good as your last post.  Keeping in mind your posting schedule and the fickleness of readers, remember that blogs are all about fresh content, activity, and consistency.  Once someone leaves your site, chances are they aren’t going to really carry a particular post with them for very long.  That’s why you have to keep them coming back with new stuff.

Don’t buy an expensive camera just for your blog photos.  I started out using the camera on my cell phone – and yes – it shows.  However, there are many bloggers who get fantastic results with their cell phone cameras.

I graduated to a little point-and-shoot and my photos started looking a little better.  When I was sure I wanted to keep blogging and I wanted my photos to be more professional-looking, I treated myself to a Nikon D3100.  I use it primarily for food photos, but I also take it with me on trips and to capture special moments or situations.  It’s a purchase I don’t regret in the least.  Incidentally, I’m still strictly amateur.  My camera continues to confound me – but every now and again I’m kinda thrilled with an image or two.  So – it’s absolutely true that you don’t need fancy equipment – special lighting, props, etc. – don’t break the bank with trappings.  Use natural light and the “props” you already have.  To hone your skills, food photography advice abounds online and Amazon has tons of books on the subject.  A couple of good resources for polishing up your photos:

Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers, by Matt Armendariz
Tasty Food Photography, by Lindsay of Pinch of Yum
Food Photography E-Course
by Dana Schultz of Minimalist Baker (well worth the $19.99 price tag)

Screwing up is part of the process.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit Publish when I meant to hit Save Draft; or wrote tablespoon instead of teaspoon; or forgot to include the key ingredient.  It happens.  And it happens to all of us.  Believe me, your readers will let you know when you’ve messed up!

Have fun.  Duh.  If you aren’t enjoying yourself, why are you blogging?  You need to go back to my first point and ask yourself, why am I doing this?

What are some of your blogging tips/suggestions?  Why do you blog?


96 thoughts on “You’re Only As Good As Your Last Post & 9 More Thoughts on Blogging

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      This is a fantastic article, Veronique. Thank you so much for sharing the link. Lots of great points – especially that our minds are so active (not meant to go numb in front of the idiot box) – that writing is an outlet for all of that activity as much as a way to express and explain ourselves. I find that sometimes I just HAVE TO write. It’s a physical thing! The best inspiration for me is walking. That’s when my brain really starts churning. Thank you!

  1. sweetveg

    Thank you for this fun read, Annie.
    I started blogging so families I work for would have access to my recipes. It hadn’t even occurred to me that others would be interested as well. I was so excited when I got my first followers from places like Germany and Australia. Blogging is helping me find my voice and the courage to share my thoughts with more than just my close circle of friends. Plus, it’s been a great way to practice letting go of perfectionism. 🙂

  2. Sarah

    Rats. There goes my plan for my newest blog “Sarah’s Selfies” all taken of me at the gym.

    Lol…I don’t think ANYONE wants to see me, 40, sweaty and with bags under my eyes, at the gym 😉 It corks when I see those blogs…..

  3. greatveganexpectations

    Great post! Good to hear somebody else’s blogging experience – and super reassuring to hear that fancy camera equipment is not a pre-requisite for a good blog 🙂 Thanks for posting – and happy new year!

  4. tearoomdelights

    Very interesting points, Annie. One of my blogging tips is probably extremely obvious, but it’s to blog about whatever interests/inspires you. I don’t knit or sew and yet I follow a couple of blogs about those very subjects because the enthusiasm of the bloggers is enough to make me want to read. The point about how often to publish posts is a tricky one. I have noticed that people who post daily, or several times a week, tend to have a lot of followers and get a lot of likes and comments. However, even though these people frequently write interesting posts that are worth reading, I find I can’t read every post because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. It can really suck you in, blogging – both reading and writing – but I think it’s like just about everything else in life, best enjoyed in moderation.

    As to why we blog, I think you’re right about the ego boost it gives, and also the warmth of the blogging community. Most people are supportive, kind and encouraging, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? It’s a way of making friendships in a likeminded community, and for introverts like me it provides a relaxed and easy way of interacting with others. When I write a post and a number of readers leave comments it’s almost like being at a party. In reality I find parties stressful and uncomfortable because I don’t cope well with more than one or two people at a time, so blogging is the ideal way for me to ‘meet’ a number of people who have interesting things to say.

    I think this will prove to be a popular post, because any blogger who’s been writing for a while is likely to have thought about all this with respect to their own blogging activities. Happy New Year, Annie, and here’s to a 2014 full of interesting posts!

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Oh – right – yes, how did I miss such an obvious point? Got to blog about one’s interest/passion/inspiration. Thanks for adding that.

      I so agree. Blogging has become a social outlet for me. Living in a rural environment is isolating – but I feel as if I have lots of friends to chat with since starting my blog. It’s a really warm, wonderful feeling.

  5. Monetta

    What a great post! I blog to share things about my lifestyle that I think people are most interested it. I hope that by sharing my recipes and other experiences I can make a healthy lifestyle accessible to more people. Mostly I try to answer “What do you eat?” and I can’t work out/ do yoga because its too hard. The challenge is to keep my bog from being all recipes. I’m off to go find a blog of selfies at the gym because I had no idea those existed.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Ha! I’ll bet you might find one or two selfie-gym blogs out there. It IS a challenge not to do all recipes; I try to balance that as well. On the other hand, it’s what I’m comfortable with and what I know, so… Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. That’s what this post was really all about!

  6. Shannon

    Refreshing post. It helps to validate that I’m on the right track.

    I blog for myself. I work to keep it to teaching others that caring for soil beings and growing food with their help isn’t that hard (I have a vegan blog too, which I keep separate in content.) Mostly, it scratches my itch for a love of nature up close and personal and is a platform to show off the world.

    Shutting out search engines eliminates the “easy” brings to your blog (I find), but with only a few followers, it’s nice and intimate. That might be a good way for blogger to get his feet wet. I get most traffic from faithful followers, or through wacky comments I’ve made (my love of bugs, dirt, and habit of stealing others’ trash get attention).

    I’d add another tidbit for advice: give up the need for reciprocation. There seems to be quite a bit of pressure for scratch-my-back-i’ll-scratch-yours in blogging, but that can quickly unravel into stress and feeling on the outside. Let it go and just enjoy those who enjoy you, and enjoy those others who DON’T necessarily enjoy you. It’s all good.

    Commenting is where I sort out my thoughts and organize what’s really on my mind for a future post. Too many times I’ve turned a comment stream on another’s blog into something gold for DirtNKids. I find if I stay true to form and to what I do best, the work part is easy.

    Thanks, Annie! Don’t change a thing you do here! Even though I may not always come by and say so, I enjoy reading and have gotten much inspiration from your recipes (we’re ethical vegetarian). Happy New Year and keep up the good work.

    PS — Hm…about the blueberries, I’m sure it could’ve been said more tactfully, but the point was made and I actually laughed when I saw the photo. Looks delicious, though. Bookmarking for when my blueberries are producing in a couple of months.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Hi Shannon! Oh my gosh, you are so right about the reciprocation trap! It can feel overwhelming – trying to keep up, say the “right” things. Great point.

      I’ve had many internal conversations about why I blog and my conclusion is that a wide popularity is great – for other bloggers. I just don’t want to put in the time and effort that it takes to reach a massive audience. And I want to stay true to myself. I love blogging, love writing, love taking photos, and meeting/getting to know people, but there is so much going on in (my) life that I want to explore and enjoy. It IS the “faithful followers” that are such a joy and make it worthwhile and fun.

      I laughed about the blueberry comment as well – it actually was spot on once I “saw” it the way the commenter did. BTW, the comment was not on this blog (in other words, I didn’t delete the comment), but on One Green Planet where the waffle recipe was recently featured. My gripe with comments like that is more about the anonymous mentality – that somehow it’s okay to be rude or crude because of the safe distance of the internet. Negativity gets me down :-).

      Whew – anyway – gosh, thank you for such a wonderful and insightful comment!

  7. Laura

    This is such a great post – I think it’s easy to get so caught up in blogging that we forget we did it at first because we loved it!

  8. The Vegan 8

    Great post Annie!! I completely agree with you on point #2. I try to blog 2 times a week, no more than 3. I always try to step back and look at my blog and recipes from a reader’s standpoint and how I personally would feel “do I want to read the same blog every single day?”. “Do I want my own email box overwhelmed everyday with blog notifications?” I don’t know how people find the time to blog that often and after awhile, I find the excitement from a reader’s view will die down if they are getting an email too often, instead a couple times a week keeps their interest, but doesn’t overwhelm them.
    Now, the reason I started blogging….my hubby used to suffer from very painful gout and the long list of the foods to avoid was insane. I had to get very creative in the kitchen to feed him and it became a passion, a real passion in creating delicious, but healthy vegan food. I started sharing those recipes on Facebook (I had an old food Facebook page from a few years ago that wasn’t vegan) and people started asking for them. I decided to let a blog be my creative outlet. I was thrilled when complete strangers started making my recipes and sharing them. It just became obvious that it was what I was meant to do because of how happy it made me and for me, reaching as many people as possible to show them that vegan food can be delicious, healthy, easy and beautiful! It is NOT boring lettuce and carrots, which most presume. My new blog is growing so much and mainly due to non-vegans making my recipes, and THAT is exactly who I want to reach (vegans are obvious) and help them make their own differences in their health. At the same time, I’m thrilled and it gives me confidence so many look to my blog for inspiration in their kitchen. It shows me that my blog is working for both me and my readers 🙂
    Oh, and I completely agree with you on the grammar. Ugh. There’s one blogi used to be subscribed to, but she NEVER capitalized the beginning of sentences or used punctuation. The whole thing was like one run- on sentence. I couldn’t stand it and just found it to be really lazy! I unsubscribed. Blogging for oneself is fine, but like you said, we should keep in mind our readers too!

    1. The Vegan 8

      I’ll add one more thing…. It’s easy to let it overwhelm you, so it’s important periodically to step back and just remember to enjoy blogging. I can’t comment on 50 blogs a day like I used to anymore. That would mean I have no time to give my own family and I refuse to feel guilty anymore about it, like I used to. I have a few blogs I read faithfully. Yours is one I read (obviously haha), but even though I read, I don’t always comment.

    2. An Unrefined Vegan

      I think that’s the thing many beginner bloggers struggle with – – how to balance blogging and engaging the blogging community (and life…) – – without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out! It’s so interesting to hear that other bloggers have had those same thoughts. Good to know, actually. What an amazing journey for you, girl! How lucky we all are that you decided to take charge of your husband’s health. He’s pretty lucky, too :-). It means A LOT to me that you count my blog as one that you read. There are so, so many out there – so many good ones. Anyway – appreciate your wonderful comment!

  9. Pixie

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Annie. They are real and I appreciate that! You admit that photography is difficult – and I don’t feel so badly that mine looks like just another shot taken on my boring kitchen table. lol No fancy backdrops for me, and I’ve learned to accept that. Some day, when I have an empty nest, perhaps, my photos will look better. (This would be when nobody is breathing down my neck waiting to eat for supper the plateful of my newest recipe post!)

    Seriously, the reason I started a blog was because I wanted to share my recipes. So many people can’t seem to cook a tasty vegan dish (I’ve had them at church potluck – ick!) and I thought I should share my successes. The bonus has been an unexpected one, though. When I take a trip to visit family, I now have most of my favorite recipes available to me on my tablet.

    One other point I would make about blogging: don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t posted in ages. Sometimes life does that to us. This year has been that for me. I started a part-time job and it took the few hours that I usually devoted to creating new recipes and writing the blog. *shrug* I will eventually get back to it, because this isn’t a forever job. Meanwhile, I just have to hold the guilt at arms length that wants to jump me over not posting for months on end. Most followers won’t “unfriend” you when you don’t post. They’ll still be there when you get back to it.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      So true – – I always worried that if I let my blog go idle for a while, everyone would disappear. But that hasn’t been the case. And yes, yes, yes, the photography part is SUCH a challenge for me! I have to let go of “perfection” and of comparing my photos to others. Hard to do. This is when I remind myself that I’m blogging to share my love of vegan food and to reach out to a wider community – not to make a living or to impress. I really appreciate you leaving such a thoughtful comment!

  10. Marfigs

    Oh boy! This post straight to me – I’ve been actively trying to blog once a day over the holidays, but I can see that it’s not very sustainable once I’m back at work. I’ve decided to focus on blogging two to three times max from next week onwards, especially once I take up my Masters degree. I’m so glad to hear other people also freak out about such things – food blogging is slowly becoming part of my identity and a way to relieve stress that I want to be able to refine my work over time and learn as I go along. Thanks for these great insights and tips!

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      It’s totally understandable – we feel really motivated and excited and want to write and share – but of course, we have so many other things happening in our lives that a full blogging schedule just isn’t always practical. I freak out about all kinds of things related to my blog 😉 – but the overall feeling is one of enjoyment and fulfillment and as long as I feel that, then I’ll keep publishing. Thank you so very much for taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment – and for mentioning my post in your post. How exciting to be starting a Masters program! Best of luck to you!

  11. mycookinglifebypatty

    I think your advice is spot-on, Annie. I have been AWOL from my blog for a couple of weeks and really wanting to get back to it. I can’t find rhyme or reason why some posts seem to resonate with many people and some just don’t. I think I’ve got more than one set of readers–some who like the recipes and food stuff and some who appreciate my thoughts and how I write them. I would add one more piece of blogging advice and that is to be sincere when visiting/reading another blogger’s site. Don’t just “like” everything – this isn’t Facebook. Do really read if you have time and acknowledge the blogger with your comment. That comes back to you and your blog a thousand times and really builds blogger friendships. I follow lots of blogs that I truly like and try to read and comment on as many as I have time for each week.

  12. The New Loaf

    This is really great advice for a newbie blogger like me. Thanks for sharing. The “who do you blog for” question really hits home – important to keep in mind why I started doing it in the first place.

  13. Sophie33

    This is all so true, Anne! I blog now for 5 years & Sometimes don’t love it at all but I love my readers & fellow bloggers! I love the writing too but hate the pr that you have to do.

  14. Trish @infinebalance

    Nice. Good advice for those of us who blog – new and not so new. I’m constantly asking myself why I blog, and while I understand it personally, I’m fairly certain it makes zero sense to anyone who has asked. No – it’s not be famous, and certainly not make $, its mostly I just can’t help myself.

    “for some of us, blogging is a voracious, time-sucking monkey on our backs.” – so true.

  15. Pingback: carrot tomato veg soup and banana/fig blondie brownie bars! | marfigs

  16. narf77

    A great post Annie :). I blog because my muses would fuse my brain if I didn’t. I love my dear constant readers who put up with being slathered with words each Wednesday on a regular basis. I try to give them lots of lovely photos to look at so that the words are easier to swallow (sort of like sugar making the medicine go down) but they keep coming back so I must be feeding them something that they like ;). I must say, blogging as an out to what’s going on inside you is the best kind of blogging. Its sincere and there are no strings attached. I am addicted to other people’s blogs. I follow 230 other blogs and get up at 3am in order to satisfy that monkey on my back. I LOVE my early mornings, my newfound health (they weren’t telling fibs when they said “Early to bed and Early to rise…”) and how exciting my mornings are and how enlivened and awake I am when 7am rocks around and I am ready to officially start my day. I love the idea of doggie diapers. I can just imaging Bezial and Earl staring at me as I attempted to put one on them ;). The most important thing about blogging (and social media in general) is the ability to reach out and touch someone you would never have met for whatever reason. The chance that someone out there on the other side of the world could be interested in what you have to say is like crack, I agree. I love my dear constant readers dearly and they enrich my life with their comments, their suggestions and by them just “being there”. I have a rich online social life ;). Again, cheers for this excellent post 🙂

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Ah, you’re an inspiration, dear Fran. You’re right – those early (I mean early) morning hours are little jewels – of solitude and deep quiet. And here I feel virtuous for getting up at 6 to exercise, but you put me to shame :-)!

      1. narf77

        Needs must when you want to find enough time to do what you love…if you can’t find the time in the day, MAKE the time is my sentiment :). I went from being a 1am sleep girl and being something akin to a troll in the mornings to someone who hits 7am full of possibilities, bright with the joy of having learned something before the sun came up and positively bursting with energy. The down side is I often end up in bed by 7.30 but I count that a small loss :).

  17. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    This is such a great post! After a couple years of blogging I can totally relate to the “blogger burnout” you mentioned. Now I just try and blog when I’m inspired and I think my posts are so much better now because of it!

  18. Richa

    wow 45 comments already:). it is difficult to get off the crack and the ego boost. every few months though I have to step back and think about which direction do i want to take the blog. I was never an avid reader and so not a writer as well so I havent put in enough effort to practice that. I started the blog to keep me occupied, realized i loved to cook/bake, went vegan, was and am motivated to blog vegan options and get more plant based food on everyone’s plate. And as the popularity increases, the recipes reach more people. But there is another side to the effort I put in the blog. I was brought up to be highly competitive, self sufficient, gotta be able to support yourself monetarily or otherwise( cultural and competitive indian middle class where things do not come easy). and since now I do not have my old career to rely on, blogging seems to be filling up some of that requirement. Hubbs keeps reminding me that i do not need to fill that anymore and I can do it because i love to. It is difficult to keep that balance though and not get depressed over days when i do not or cannot do enough in the kitchen.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      I really feel and hear that struggle, Richa. Sometimes I feel SO guilty for putting the amount of time I do into my blog – for what essentially is a hobby. For you, I think it really could be a career if you want it to be – and think about it – you are reaching so many people (vegans and non-vegans alike) with beautiful, delicious food AND delivering a message about how we view and consider the voiceless animals with whom we share this planet. That’s a big thing. But your husband’s message is spot on – you gotta do it because you love it and are inspired by it. I think that love and inspiration shines from your blog. xoxo

  19. veghotpot

    Brilliant post, I used to feel upset if someone commented on a mistake I had made but I now appreciate it greatly and take it as it is meant – helpful. I’ve also this year decided to take the amount of posts I share down a notch, it became too overwhelming and the quality decreased as I tried to keep up. 2 times a week is perfect I feel. Thanks for continuing to be such an inspiration, your blog has been a constant source of knowledge and community xx

  20. Wendy

    Annie, you are so thoughtful and kind, and it’s interesting to read other blogger’s comments. I have no desire to blog, but read lots of them when I can. You are all putting your hearts out to the world, and there are people who seem to not like anybody, which I beg you to ignore! (Yes, I do know how difficult that can be). Your intentions are goodness all around, and that’s what really is transmitted to those on the same frequencies!

    I have really cherished your postings on caregiving and the end of life issues that no matter what, we will all be dealing with. I do hope you will publish that, even if it’s self-published, as so many people really need that information.

    I also love your recipes. I recommend to all you bloggers that you make sure there is a printable version of your recipes for those of us who don’t have tablets in our kitchens, and need to write things down on recipe papers as we work with them or don’t work so well with them! I am still of the generation of the written word, and that is where I am most comfortable. I know nothing of pinterest and all the other things and don’t really want to right now.

    Please know, all of you, and you Annie especially, that the many many people that look at your blogs enjoy them and want you to be keeping on. But, there is no sense in doing it every day or every week, unless you feel that is right for you. None of us can keep up with all of that activity. There are addictive qualities to reading blogs and perhaps blogging itself, but all addictions lead to burnout. Just be yourselves, be real, be honest within yourselves, find what works best for YOU! All of us are precious beings, worthy of respect and honor. If you find your life isn’t bringing you that, perhaps it is time to seek another pathway.

    I am so thankful that you are willing to put yourselves out to us who need to know more and want to learn.

    Gratitude and blessings to you all,

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Wow, Wendy. You have no idea how much you just made my day. I had no idea that anyone felt the way you describe – it makes blogging so incredibly worth it. Thank you.

      As for the Terminal Illness Primer, I am planning on turning that into an ebook; it will take me some time to edit, etc., but it’s on my To Do list for 2014. I’m glad that you’ve found it helpful.

      And…I hear you on making recipes printable and I am also working on that! I hope to have both Print and a Save options available for my readers soon!!

      Thank you, Wendy! xoxo

  21. A Tablespoon of Liz

    This was a great post! I’ve been blogging for a few years now, but I still feel like I’m a fairly new blogger because my posts are so inconsistent. I blog for myself, but at the same time, I’m posting it publicly on the internet, so I do want people to read it, haha. I think the part about writing in your own voice is really important, sometimes I find myself trying to mimic a blog that I like, and it just doesn’t work.

  22. little miss black bean

    Such a great collection of tips at the start of a new year – especially with the blogosphere becoming more and more oversaturated with people lookin’ for a quick buck. I also like the 2x/week schedule, although sometimes it’s more like 1-3x/week haha

  23. Veggie V! @ Veggie V's Vegan Adventure

    I just published my 225 post a few minutes ago. And, after over three years of blogging, I still get super excited when someone likes or leaves a comment on a post. It doesn’t happen that often *sigh* but I’ll take it 🙂 [Side note: One benefit of not getting many comments is that I’ve yet to get a hater comment. Woot!]

  24. Angela @ Canned Time

    Love this discussion and cheers to you for being bold enough to make us all look under the hood………I blog to educate and intoxicate. When I changed my life by changing my diet, I had to let other people know just how extreme what you put in your mouth is to your health. And then after they’ve learned, hopefully they’ll drool a little too.
    Still using my phone for photos but I love the day by day improvements as a blogger. Can’t sleep nights thinking about recipes some times though….that’s my addiction….trying to problem solve a recipe can take me over.
    It is definitely a community that I enjoy mingling with. Food police and all 😉
    Thanks for all your hard work on all of our behalf… rock ♥

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Excellent reasons for blogging, Angela – and you do both well. AND you get spectacular results with your camera. I really don’t know how you do it because my cell phone photos were abysmal. Maybe you should write a how-to post…

      1. Angela @ Canned Time

        I got a tripod and lenses for my Galaxy S4 cell that is pretty cool and transports well. I’m certainly not against using my Canon but my cell is always with me so….I’ll send you the link to the tripod on FB. Pretty sure they’d have one for most phones. The tripod alone is cool for holding your cell still at least….Thank you ♥

  25. Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)

    “Why do I blog?” Ugh, such an on-point question with an answer that is often totally elusive. Am I doing this for me? For others? To establish authority? Make new friends? Meet potential business contacts? The desire to do EVERYTHING AT ONCE is often one of my biggest struggles in creating a solid blog focus. Great post to get the mental gears turning.

  26. Kelli

    Great piece, Annie. I’ve been thinking about so many of these points over the past few days myself, especially around finding my own voice and adding more writing to my recipes. I’ve always thought that creative writing was my weak point. Give me a research paper and I’m good to go, but not so much with the creative side of things, so that is one of my main goals for this year – to write more and write better. And I laughed at the part about your blueberry photo. One of my poor choices in photos was a green soup garnished with chopped tomato and pumpkin seeds. Someone commented that it looked like a fingernail floating in the soup 🙂

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Oh dear – – I think some people have difficulty knowing when to “edit” themselves and not share everything that pops into their heads – – about barfing blueberries and toenails in soup! Check out the link Veronique left in her comment (above). Her creative writing article has some great pointers.

  27. The Jolly Beetroot

    There are some awesome pointers in this article, so thank you 🙂 As a relatively new blogger myself (ok, very new!), I’m always on the look out for advice when it comes to blogging. I feel a bit like Bambi learning to walk haha! I’ll bookmark this page to refer back to along the way 🙂 – Niki x

  28. coconutandberries

    What a great post Annie. I’ve only been blogging 6 months but I can definitely relate to it “taking over” a little! I love it even more than when I started though- the whole process of planning recipes, making and photographing them, editing and writing up posts and connecting with my readers. I admit that for a period I was feeling the pressure to get posts up more frequently than was possible, but like you, have realized that less frequent but still regular posts work better for me and probably my readers too!
    P.S. We have the same camera 😉

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      I’m into year 3 and am kind of amazed that I still love doing it. I guess it’s because I continue to learn and to challenge myself in the kitchen! And of course, the community is so amazing and warm – hard to give that up! How fun that we have the same camera! xoxo

  29. Vicky

    Great advice! Now my working day is much longer I don’t have anywhere near as much time to blog but I’m not fretting about it!

    I also have the same camera AND I’m also delighted when one of the many, many photos I take comes out well! I’m still getting used to it after a year!

    Happy New Year!

  30. Brittany

    EXCELLENT post, it reminds me of my blogging for dummies page. I feel a small twinge of sadness when I leave my last post behind for a new one, but yes it’s all apart of the process! I have to say, I have not received any negative comments on my blog in the 2+ years I have been blogging!! I guess that’s rare! I used my iPhone for all my photos for the last 2 years as well, and JUST now upgraded to a DSLR…but more so because I am becoming interested in photography!

    P.S. You’re totally in my blog wolf pack..

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  32. annesturetucker

    Love love love it Annie!! I think your advise is spot on 🙂 I love blogging and the many amazing people I have met through blogging makes my heart jump with joy – you are one of them 🙂

  33. Pingback: Chocolate, Cherry, and Nut-Stuffed Braid | anunrefinedvegan

  34. celestedimilla

    Wonderful post Annie! I knew you had a lot to share about blogging girlfriend!! I laughed out loud when I read ‘don’t buy an expensive camera’. It’s too late for me to take your advice about that, but I’m thinking you’re probably right. I have the fancy camera but I’m still clueless about how to use it. Oh well, maybe one of these days I’ll figure it out.

    Like you, I felt like I had to post everyday in the beginning (and for a long time after that). I read that you were supposed to do that in several blogging books. Maybe it helped me to kick off my blog, but that pace is maddening! I’m starting to slow down now and it makes blogging more fun.

    Lastly, I have to say that I was surprised that you said, “sometimes you feel that you are writing into a dark and silent abyss”, because you seem to get lots of comments on your posts. Maybe this was something that you felt more in the beginning stages of blogging, I don’t know.

    Happy New Year chica!! Thank you for this post and for all of your posts. I really, really do love your blog. Celeste 🙂

  35. An Unrefined Vegan

    Celeste, each time I pick up my fancy camera it says to me: Let me handle this! I have a real mental block when it comes to understanding how it works. But I keep reading and tinkering so maybe one of these days it will all sink in.

    For a very long time I wrote into that abyss – as most of us do. It’s the nature of the beast, but it can still make one feel silly and alone and unpopular. It’s hard not to compare one’s self with more successful blogs. For me, it’s about the community and friends I’ve made rather than widespread popularity. Getting to know people like you – – that’s the best part. Can’t wait to read about your time away :-)!

  36. Amy

    I soaked up every word of this post. And am bookmarking it for when I need a pep talk! Thanks for taking the time, thought and effort to write this excellent piece, Annie.


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