Changing My Perspective

Literally and figuratively….I’ve been working on changing my approach…growing as a writer, growing as a photographer, growing as a “foodie”, for lack of a better word for one who loves to both cook and eat.

I wrote my first post on April 23, 2011.  Apparently, I’m way behind in the game of food blogging.  I read a post by another blogger last night asking if food blogs have “jumped the shark”.  Great.  I pretty much just started this, and I’ve jumped the shark?  Okay, obviously you have to be a good writer; that goes without saying.  This guy also asserted that you have to have “gorgeous photography” to be successful as a food blogger.  A unique voice or concept couldn’t hurt, either….

So, let’s start with my writing.  I think I’m a pretty good writer.  I’m not “tooting my own horn” so to speak….I couldn’t write a fiction piece if my life depended on it, but I got through four years of high school and seven years of college on my expository writing skills.  I catch myself at times, though, speeding through my writing so I can hurry up and post, since I feel like to keep my audience engaged I need to post fairly often.  I look back and realize that sometimes this results in flat, un-interesting writing.  Let’s face it, if enough of my posts are boring…people are going to stop reading them!

Next, the photography.  Oh, the photography.  Let me be the first to say it: my pictures….aren’t good.  Not that they’re bad persay, they just aren’t good.  I look at the photography of other (very successful) food bloggers and think, “Wow.  Will I ever get there?”  Take Bakerella, or Pioneer Woman, or Tartelette (granted, she’s a professional food photographer), or Smitten Kitchen….my photos don’t measure up.  I’m working on it, though, and I have promised myself that I will get there.  In fact, it may sound crazy, but I’d really love to actually be a food photographer.  In just the past couple of weeks, I’ve started to really work on my techniques and really learning how my camera works instead of “setting it and forgetting it”.  It’s a slow process, but I can already see a change in my photos.  Let me say it again: I will get there.

An early photo, taken with my point and shoot.....

This is a "pouring action" shot from one of my first posts shot with the SLR.

Here's a recent "pouring action" shot. I see a difference. Still far from perfect....but I keep telling myself, "it's a process, it's a process, it's a process...."

Finally, my approach…my “unique perspective”.  This is the tough part.  What makes me special as a food blogger?  I don’t live on a ranch.  I don’t make tons of super-cute baked goods.  I don’t cook for certain dietary restrictions as a rule.  I am not a recipe developer.  It’s enough to make me crazy….I’ve convinced myself that there’s nothing “unique” about me, my kitchen, or my point of view, and that’s probably the most difficult part of it all.  I’m just an average American working wife who happens to be pretty handy in the kitchen and likes to talk about it.  Hmmmm.  There’s the whole “Chattavore” part of it…writing reviews of local restaurants is definitely the most unique part of my writing, and most definitely the thing that drives the most traffic to my blog.  Still…my waistlane and my wallet can’t take any more restaurant reviews than I’m already doing (one every week or two), and I think I’d pretty much die from boredom if all I ever wrote about was restaurants.  I mean, I really enjoy it, but I want to do more (not to mention that I’m not going to drag my SLR camera into restaurants and the iPod I use for restaurant photography is more than a little limiting….).  I’m trying to find my voice in just talking about food, not necessarily cooking.  I got quite a bit of positive response from my “Why I Cook” post, but I guess I have writer’s block or something, because I can’t seem to come up with too many topics to write about!  That will come, though.

Part of my problem is my perfectionism.  I don’t want to wait or grow in order to be good at something…successful at this.  I want to want it and have it be so.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) life doesn’t work that way.  Life is a process and everything worth having is worth working for.  So, I’m going to keep working for this.  If you have any constructive suggestions, or anything you’d like to see my write about, or any photography advice, or you see a “unique perspective” in my writing that I haven’t seen….let me know!

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6 thoughts on “Changing My Perspective

  1. I have to say, I don’t read your blog because I am looking for perfect writing and perfect photos. (though I think both are pretty darn good) I read it because it is pertinent to my life as a homemaker and someone who enjoys eating out occasionally and would not want to waste her time at a bad restaurant. If you are grabbing an audience because they can relate to what you are writing about, why does it have to be unique or have an angle? It is special because it helps the reader become a better cook. They may try making a new dish because your instructions gave them the confidence to try something new. I don’t read many blogs so I can’t really compare, but I enjoy yours and look forward to everything you post.

  2. If you’re serious about wanting to learn more about this sort of photography, feel free to e-mail me. One of my good friend’s husband has been a commercial photographer (he’s done food work a lot, I believe) in Chattanooga for decades. He’s a super cool guy and I bet he would be happy to talk with you.

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