“Mom, I had a nightmare.”
“There were three little squirrels trying to claw their way under the covers.”
“That does sound scary. But don’t worry lady, we all have nightmares. I had one last night too.”
“What happened in yours?”
“Well, we’d just flown back from a family trip and were at home unpacking our bags…when I realized that we’d planned another family trip for that very same day. It was a huge rush to repack everything and get back to the airport. And on top of it all, I had to write a blog post.”
“Um….that was your nightmare?”
Yes, my dear, as you age, nightmares become less about monsters, more about things like perfectionism and overcommitment. But maybe that’s just me.
Fortunately I don’t have nightmares about the blog too often. And when I do, it’s not about the work that I have to do, but about the standard that I try to maintain. As I look back at earlier blog posts, it’s wonderful to see an evolution. Which, in a sense, is what keeps me going.
I’m my own biggest critic, so when I see improvements – whether it’s within the writing, or the photography – I become excited to do more. To write more, to take more pictures, to develop a style that feels distinctly my own.
I read an article in The New York Times that said that blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants. Causality seems clear. People get caught up in the metrics – their pageviews, unique visitors, press mentions, and number of social media followers. It can be frustrating when you’re not getting as much exposure as you think you should.
I know this from prior experience. I was spending hours each week throwing myself into this new hobby, which somewhere along the line became a legitimate job – taking pictures wherever I went; writing at odd hours of the night. And I wanted to know that people were reading it. If not, what was the point?
Recently I wrote about perspective. About shifting your view, even by an inch, and suddenly the world looks a whole lot different. Yes, I was talking about Starbucks and grits, but the rules still apply.
Year 2 was about taking this new perspective.
Whereas year 1 was about non-stop work and unguided promotion….year 2 allowed me to settle into things. I relaxed. I focused on building community in the places that made sense. Most important, I deleted my traffic plugin. It was distracting me, and taking my attention away from the more important metric: how I felt about content. Did I feel happy when I worked on the blog? Or did I feel stressed and depleted.
I started to focus less on what people would think. Did I want to show failed food experiments? Could I tell the kinds of stories that I wanted to tell? Would I feel happy about what I was doing, even if it meant losing the occasional reader?
The answer is yes. Because the second I stop writing for me, I’m writing for someone else, and I might as well re-install that traffic plugin.
Being authentic is fundamental to this site. And it’s my pledge to keep writing honestly about my family’s stories – however shameful, exciting, or food-blog inappropriate they may be. Telling those stories, and being able to have a sense of humor about life, is what makes me happy. Sharing images of our life together makes me happy. Connecting with you – whether you write a comment, or email me to let me know that you read a recent post – makes me happy.
It’s shocking to know that I’m heading into year 3 of this blogging business. But you know what, it’s fun. I enjoy it more than I ever thought possible. I’m learning and growing and meeting new people; I get to be creative on a daily basis; I couldn’t ask for more.
I can’t promise that the blog format will always be the same. But even if the number of posts per week goes from two to one, it will be for the sole intention of bringing more diverse and interesting content to this space. It will allow me to get out more, meet more people, see more sights, get my hands dirty with urban gardeners, make chocolate with a Brooklyn start-up. Who knows? I don’t have an exact plan, but if I were to state my vision for this space, it would be to create stories about our family’s adventures beyond Chelsea and Greenwood Lake.
I end this post with a heartfelt thank you. If I’m true to my word, I’d be doing this in absence of readers, but you do make the ride more enjoyable. I look forward to your comments and am grateful for the friendships we’ve made. If I could click my heels and have a wish come true, it would be for another year much like 2014. With, I suppose, more dirt and chocolate.
So, onwards, into a messy 2015, full of stuck-on caramel and burnt cheese. Food allergies and family discourse. That was discourse. Not intercourse. You’ll have to find another blog for that.
Over ‘n out friends.
I love the way that you write and every single blog that you have written I have enjoyed thoroughly! Looking forward to another great year ahead!
Thank you ML! Onwards!
I always look forward to your posts! Have a wonderful week!
with you all the wayJessica! Again I am a little amazed at some parallels – MY TAKE and Wild YAM both entered year three this month and (blimey!) Aatmaavrajanam is already 9 months.
Daily posting to the best standard possible has been an enormous challenge, not to mention discipline. One of the hurdles has been to acknowledge that there are some days keeping three blogs going to that standard is not always possible and then discovering that ‘fill-in’ posts are as welcomed (sometimes more!) than regular d&m posts… I have never blogged for commercial reasons; to me this is a form of open-view journal (or teaching tool in case of AV) and I have no expectation of numbers or $$. It must never become a chore.
Or a nightmare for that matter!
I generally spend no time on blogs which are blatantly out for the dollar; I love that you keep yours personal and personable and your photography and writing always hold me present. Besides. I am in love with Jackson… &*>
Keep on doing it your way m’dear. I’ll be here. YAM xx
(Just will mention that for some reason, I am unable to ‘follow’ any of my WordPress pals which is a pain. I do check back over other posts when I am here on Tuesdays though!)
Ha, I love that- I’ll pass it on to Jackson though I hope it doesn’t go to his head. Three blogs, I don’t know how you do it. I can barely keep up with one! Thanks for your thoughtful comment, as always xx
Thanks for sharing this! You mirror my own feelings about the blogging side of life. And, it’s not always possible to keep up. I love the “new perspective” photos of your daughter and seeing the siblings getting along. Our family life has been similar in that the kids are close. And, it’s both of my blogs 3rd birthdays this year too. Take care!
LOL cute post…I sincerely hope you got over your nightmare LOL
Have a dreamtastic week 🙂
Onwards and upwards! My year has been a disaster so far.
I absolutely adore your blog and look forward to your posts every week!! My stress dreams always include some type of test i am taking that i forgot to study for and am totally unprepared. Keep doing what you’re doing! Love you:)
Thanks rooney tunes, that’s so sweet. Love you xx
Your family is so beautiful and it’s great that you have high blog standards.
For me, blogging consistently is a challenge, so I’m doing it 2-3 times a week.
Thanks for sharing your nightmares and dreams.
“And I wanted to know that people were reading it. If not, what was the point?”
I nodded my way through this post. I’m also heading into my third year of blogging and recently after finally hitting 300k pageviews a month, disconnected myself from the stats and the traffic counter because it wasn’t making me happy.
There was too much focus on promotion and never enough time for the content and direction I want the blog to go in.
My odd nightmare is about not being prepared for a presentation at work or inviting guests to a party at home and forgetting to arrange the food. Such is growing older.
Now to the meat of my comments. I love your blog. You have a great sense of humour and manage to slip it into your writing when I’m least expecting it. Truly laugh out loud humour. That makes it really fun to read. I also love the information that you share. I’ve made a number of your recipes and they’re always tasty.. Then there is your family. Wow! Beautiful shots of beautiful people. Well done, Jess. Best wishes for year three.
Thank you so, so much, love you xx
Happy birthday to your blog! I need to see that perspective entry and I will after this. I would just want to say that I am a fan of your so many talent! Your photos are an inspiration to me!
Happy birthday http://www.feedmedearly.com!!! I love this space and thank you for holding it for all of us who come here for a smile or some inspiration! Xo
Thank you so much Meg! xox
wow, such a great a post! Thanks for sharing and the honesty…oh and I love, love, love your photos
Time does go by so fast that we have to enjoy every second. Little ones soon are not so little and we, well that is still to be seen :).
Take care and Happy St. Patty’s day!!!
Have a good week and I always enjoy your posts.
Congrats on 2 years! I appreciate what you have to say about blogging for yourself and not for traffic. It can be hard to not get caught up in all of that, and I sometimes also have to ask myself if I would still do this if no one was reading. And the answer is I think so … but it helps to know that I’m reaching someone with it at the same time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your perspective; it’s refreshing.
Thanks so much Sara….definitely hard not to get caught up but I swear, deleting that traffic plugin was life changing. I still have google analytics, but it’s off-site, so I check it only when a brand asks to see my stats.
One of my favorite of your posts so far. Fantastic pictures (whoever thought the light of an ipad could create such a romantic dreamy photo) and words of wisdom. What DID you do in your unguided promotion of your blog (which I realize is a question that counters your message)?
And by the way, I forgot to answer your question. In terms of promotion, I hit Facebook and Twitter really hard, submitted my recipes to about a million contests, reached out to media outlets like Elizabeth St and Big City moms to submit work and broaden my reach; networked with brands like The Fresh 20. It was exhausting and not the best approach!
oh curses, I accidentally put a second link on your post (books on brats) which was from last week. I didn’t mean to do that! I can’t figure how to take it down either. Sorry!
Congrats. What you have achieved in 2 years is so inspiring. Continue doing what you are doing 🙂
I look forward your year 3.
All the best
Thank you so much Kimberly!
I hope you and your daughter do not have any more nightmares anytime soon. They do not sound fun. I’d hate to travel, only to find out I had to travel again and write a post.
this year I started to blog less as well.. less stress, and more time to think through and explore 😛
Love that mid-jump snapshot! Hope the nightmares have subsided.
Jess, don’t mess with perfection! I LOVE your blog!! I love your sense of humor and your food and your photography!! I feel like I’m stopping to chat with a friend for a few minutes when I read your posts. Sometimes, I even want to live in the city (which is pretty amazing for me to even think that! Good job!)….
Trust me, you have a fantastic style all your own that we love reading!
I totally get the standard thing. And the “if I don’t have something significant to say….” issue.
I keep blogging to 3 days a week. I can handle that. Especially because my photography tip posts can easily take 6 hours to write and post. I have to choose the pics, write on them, write the blog post and then go to a few blog parties. If I want to keep teaching the way I do, I have to spend the time doing the photo tips well. And since I’m not making any money at blogging, I realize I can’t spend 4 -5 hours a day on blogging.
But I love teaching, so I only post 3 days. Wordless Wedndesday is my biggest interaction day.
So I agree, I need to love what I do while blogging. So far, I do. And I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve formed online.
I’m a big fan Jess! I think you’ve found your voice and niche!
Happy b-day! 🙂
Thank you so much Mary, that is so beyond sweet!
Loved reading this post (as always). It was so inspiring! It’s fantastic you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Happy travels in 2015! XO
Thanks so much Carrie! I so appreciate that you read the posts! xox
“Backward, turn backward, Oh time in your flight.
Make me a child again, just for tonight”~ Margaret Allen
Great photos…. made me think of this piece….oh and don’t be so hard on yourself, life is too short.
Oh, how sweet, love that piece. And don’t I know it, life is short and I do make time to smell the roses. But probably not enough 😉 thanks for the comment….
WOW. I really REALLY needed to read this. Thankyou. I have been really down lately..having nightmares too..very stressed out and overextended etc etc.
I know I just need to breathe and shift my focus, but it’s just sooo hard and overwhelming
Happy Birthday and by the way, your nightmare sounds like one that I would have!
Nightmares suck, but the pictures are great.
Happy Thursday! Thank you for hosting this link up and for linky!! Have a great weekend ahead!! xx Ashleigh @SimplyWright
My nightmares are still about monsters. Maybe that means I don’t try hard enough in real life to be more perfect.
Meanwhile, I hope your gorgeous little ones never have anything more scary than squirrels in their dreams.
Love the lighting in your photographs….and your writing of course 🙂
Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia
Thank you so much!
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