Joy the Baker

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

November 7, 2011

boss

It’s time for just a touch of real-life blogger talk.

It’s not often that bloggers talk honestly about the beginning, the behind the scenes, the flops, the late nights, and all the doughnuts.

Allow me to lay a tiny bit of truth speak on you.

I’m the boss of me… dig it.

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

(in no particular order)

One: What’s the secret when it comes to successful blogging?  What SEO trick will work magic?  What recipe will make people swoon.  What words will make people follow?  Truth is,  there is no secret.  Bummer, right?

Here’s the deal…

Only blog if you LOVE it.  Only make it if you want to eat it.  Only photograph it if you think it looks pretty, sparkly, or otherwise awesome.  Only write about it if you’re really into it.  Only wear it if you think it’s major.  When it comes to blogging… only do it if you love it.

Two: When it comes to photography there’s something you should know: find a camera that you’re comfortable with. You don’t need the biggest, baddest camera and lens to create a beautiful blog space.  Know what I love to shoot with?  My iPhone.  All of the photos pictured here are from my phone.  My blog started because of the photographs I was taking of food with my big, blocky TMobile phone.  Seriously… It took me years to work up to a major camera, and even now I love to shoot with my cell phone.

time

Three: Let’s talk about real life.  You have a day job because you totally have to pay your bills and buy cute shoes.  By the time you get home at night it’s a) dark, b) you’re starving, c) you totally just want to order Thai food, d) you’re out of butter, and e) you have The Walking Dead on your DVR and you want to scare yourself with zombies.  I totally understand this.  When are you supposed to create content and work on your blog… right?

I have the answer: it’s not easy. You’re doing a hard thing.  I know because I spent a lot of time doing the very same hard thing.  Know what I would do… because I was totally nuts-o?  I would wake up early in the morning and make and photograph an easy recipe.  I’d then come home late at night and blog about it.  On the weekend I would go nuts trying to create content that I would blog about during the week.  My friend all thought I was bonkers… and I was.  Most of my friends shrugged their shoulders.  Some of my friends made fun of me.  A few friends fell away because I wasn’t making the time for them.  I was following the (incredibly dorky) thing that I loved the most… that’s it.  I made sacrifices and I created time and… now I just sleep less.

Four: Make friends in the community because friends are awesome!!!! I think Twitter can be a magic/weirdo/Internet friend making machine.  I also think Instagram is fun.  Find people who do what you love and make friendship out of it.  It’s really exciting to see where those connections can lead.  Want to know a fact?  I met Tracy at a blog conference two years ago… now we’re major.

cheese

Five: Make things pretty.  Pretty things are important, and more simple than you might think.  Layer plates and patterns.  Use colorful napkins.  Burlap is cheap and totally adds texture.  Crinkle up some parchment paper and use it as a background.  Buy a few nice pieces of silver from a thrift store.  Raid the Anthropologie sale section.  Add a glass of sparkling rose to the background of your shot… and definitely drink it later.  When in doubt, add bacon and/or caramel.  People like pretty things.  It’s universal.

Know who is good at making things pretty?  The Cuisinerd.

ps.  Cheese plate preparation coming this week!

caramel

Six: Blogging with dedication isn’t easy.  It’s not rocket science… but it takes time, effort, vision, and more time.  But!  I try to make it look easy and feel effortless.   This blog isn’t about my heavy lifting, lack of sleep, or sweaty brow.  This blog is about cinnamon rolls and cupcakes and boys.  Keep it positive.  Keep it pretty.  If a recipe flops… and recipe always flop… move on, try something different, and add more chocolate.  Work hard to make it look easy…. and just be ok with the fact that it’s totally not easy.

Seven: I don’t think this blog would work if you didn’t know how silly bonkers my life is.  You know that there’s cat hair everywhere.  You know that I burn toast.  You know that I date boys and get dumped.  You know that I crash my bike.  You know that I occasionally eat my feelings.  I think sharing is important.  You know that weird thing you do with your sock drawer?  Share that!  Find you voice and  be vulnerable.  You’ll be surprised by how many people connect to your weirdness.

I admire Shauna of Gluten Free Girl for her disarmingly vulnerable writing.

Eight: Find people and blogs that you admire.  Know them.  Love them.  Emulate them but add your own twist, voice, and style… then write them an email expressing your sincere affection.

I adore Heidi of 101 Cookbooks.

Nine: Start small and let yourself grow and learn. I started this blog with three readers.  I was stoked.  Three months in I had 32 readers.  I was majorly stoked.  100 readers a day!?  I was over the moon!!  What I’m saying is, don’t sweat your numbers.  Don’t worry about the amount of comments you get.  Really.  Leave all that mess alone.  If you love it… just have a doughnut and keep going.

dinner

Ten: Buy yourself flowers, take yourself out to lunch, drink a lot of tea, find the time and make the time to blog… but only if you love it.  If you don’t love it… that’s totally ok too.  Be kind to yourself.  For serious… it’s just a blog.  No bigs.

Joy the Baker is fueled by:

WordPress.  Butter.  Flour.  Black tea.  Late nights.  Flickr.   Twitter.  Facebook.  Instagram.   Canon EOSm.  iPhone.  Emails.  Friendship.  Aperture.  Natural light.  Michael Friedman. Kettle corn.  Post-it notes.  To-do lists.  Deborah Lippman nail polish.   Nesting bowls. And an irresponsible sweet tooth.


491 Comments Add A Comment

  • I so love this post. I think everyone wants a guide of sorts and its nice to know that other people struggle right along with you and have the same problems. Doing it because you love it is brilliant! It kinda helps put things in perspective instead of getting lost in the number of comments and readers. :) So THANKS!!

  • as someone just starting out with a blog, I totally appreciate the REAL tips :)

  • Joy, this a really great post. One of the best parts of the blogging community is the supportiveness (totally not a word, but I totally think it should be!) of other bloggers. Thanks!

  • i love the realness of your blog. thank you for being so real, and for really sharing it with us.

  • Hey! Thanx for this inspiring post! It is time for me to do the things that I love. :)

  • …Oh Joy, you are a godsend. Bless you for that. :o)

    …These are all things each and every one here needed to hear and so perfectly said too I might add, I am taking heed to everything in this post. I even love your posts about boys and dating altho’ I’ve been married for 19 years now and even still would love to dump my husband every now and then but alas, such is love. *sigh*giggle*shrug*

    …And btw, LOVE your shoes and LOVE the bowl with the chickens!

    …Thank you Joy for sharing this – it is priceless advice!

    …Blessings :o)

  • I’m so glad that someone else uses their iPhone to take pictures for a blog.

    I also use GIMP, a image manipulation programme, to edit photos. It’s free and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you along.

  • Love this post!! I love the balance of only do it if you love it, but work hard at it. You are an inspiration. :)

  • Dear Joy,

    Hello and nice to meet you! All the way from Japan, where I’m an English teacher by day and reclusive baker by night :P In similar secretive fashion I’ve been following your blog with eagerness and awe–you are an incredible inspiration! It’s my first comment and I just wanted to say how much I value your advice and encouragement, and how relieved I was at knowing I’m not crazy after all for declining weekend parties in lieu of photographing my dinner ^_<

    Sincerely,
    Melanie

  • it’s interesting to find out a bit about how you make it work. & also, your shoes are cute :)

  • I love this post. I have always adored how you share parts of your life with us. When I get a post in my mailbox telling me that there’s a new blogpost from you, I’ll read it, even if I I’m not digging the recipe, because you write in such a passionately honest and wonderful way – I love sharing about your cat and your nails and your social faux pas and, usually, somewhere along the way, I’ll start wanting to make the recipe I didn’t originally read the post for. And I do like that your blog and your and Tracy’s podcast IS all “real life” and there’s no sugar coating and pretending that you don;t do silly things or that everything you make and do is perfect with only the odd slip up. And it keeps me going with my own life and difficulties in ways that you don’t even know. Thank you for all of that.

  • Hi Joy!
    I have recently started a blog and hope to get loads of recipes on there to share with everyone my love of food and baking etc! However, I have just started a degree and living in shared accomodation isnt great for cooking!
    Your blog is fab and really great to read. You have inspired me to get going and start blogging recipes like I want to and not just my day to day stuff, regardless of kitchen situation!

  • What you love show. Sincerity pays. Thanks.

  • I love your blog- i think you know that by now. :) I check it every day and I look forward to it. You always make me smile or inspire me to bake fun new things and your pics really are pretty.

    you are pretty fabulous!

  • great post. I struggle to find time to blog but my goal for next year is to be more organised and focused. And to make it a greater priority with my time. Thanks for your advice – and such a great blog :)

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