Beyond the Kitchen

10 Things I’ve Learned In Ten Years Of Blogging

You know what’s all the rage? Food blogging. Wait… right? 

This week marks the 10th year that I’ve showed up in this humble space as Joy the Baker.  Ten full-on years. Can you believe it? 

Here’s what I knew in 2008 when I started Joy the Baker: nothing.  More accurately, I knew how to teach myself to navigate the kitchen with a recipe, and I knew I wanted to share that with no one / everyone (aka the Internet).

I knew I wanted to be a baker as evidenced by the fact that, at the time, I was one- working in one of those aggressively lit kitchens where your eyelashes fuse shut if you’re wearing mascara and open the giant deck oven too quickly.  

In 2008 I knew that I was a rubbish wedding cake decorator (still am).  I knew I wanted to share recipes and stories around food.  I knew that there was a space on the internet where, for very little money you could create food and stories and shout into a void with the low, but present chance that someone might shout back.  Aka, you could completely disrupt the small world of food magazine based food writing if you just kept at it.  So here we are. 

In ten years we’ve shared five kitchens:  All The Kitchens We’ve Lived In.    I’ve been in between 5 and 7 romantic relationships though as some point I decided to spared you most of those silly details.  You’ve moved with me from California to Louisiana.  I’ve written three cookbooks and you’ve come out for three book tours.  There’s TRON, the largest cat this side of the Mississippi. And there have been countless incredible opportunities and friendships that have emerged from this space that just blow me away.

Ten years and it’s all just process.  Everything and still. 

Here are 10 things I’ve hustled together after ten years as a food blogger: 

•  Good grief…. be authentic.  That means: be yourself, don’t use the word ‘branding’ in a sentence about yourself, and in general- try to use less sentences about yourself.  I’m so much more comfortable when I’m just myself and talking about cats and Real Housewives and butter ratios. 

•  Always learn something new. Listen, I figure if I want to learn how to shove banana pudding into a freshly fried doughnut, you might want to learn too!  I’ve recently mastered bagels and I’ll show you what I know soon. Important: Banana Cream Pie Doughnuts.  

•  Keep it loose, keep it tight. Things are always changing. I wake up at least once a week and wonder if blog life is over and it’s time for me to open a B&B or start bagging groceries at Whole Foods because if so, NO PROBLEM LET’S GO!  Creating a career on the Internet is slippery and the key to holding on is not holding on too tight.

•  Quality over quantity.  Guess how much garbage there is in the world? Plenty.  No need to add to it. Let’s just save everyone some time. 

•  Have some respect for peoples’ time, money and energy.  I think a lot about what it takes when you decide you’re going to try a recipe for the first time.  Getting to the grocery, finding all of the ingredients you need, fishing your debit card out of the tight slot in your wallet, measuring and chopping, mixing and stirring, wondering if you’re even doing it right…. and then viola! You’re done and maybe a little sweaty, hopefully proud and not disappointed, for better or worse.  I hope this space is a tool for you.  I respect your efforts.

•  You can’t photoshop your way to a good recipe.  Listen… if the mini chocolate chips in the cake batter settled to the bottom of the baked cake layers in a chocolate chip cake, sure you can photoshop them to look evenly dispersed- but what good will that do anyone?  Well, it’ll make your photograph really popular on Pinterest.  What it won’t do is give the person making your recipe a clear idea of how their recipe will turn out because their chocolate chips will sink to the bottom of the pan too and they’ll think they did something wrong and they didn’t…. but they don’t know that and you do.  

Pro tip: dust your chocolate chips in flour before folding them into the batter.  

 Do what you want to do creatively, even if it feels silly.  See: Drake on Cake

•  There is no straight line to a dream.  Sometimes, in all honesty, you don’t even know what your dream is until you’re halfway down a road.  Persistence. There’s a lot to be said for just keeping on with a thing: persistence. 

•  Don’t believe the hype or the nastiness. There is plenty of both if you pay enough attention.  I keep my eye on the prize and the prize is actually the process. 

•  Be kind, not nice. Kind people have nice qualities with (very important) clear boundaries.  When what you love also becomes your business, kindness is more effective than niceness.  In other words, don’t come for me…ya feel me?   

 First post:  Mis-En-Place.  

 Most popular post:  Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

 My favorite posts are most often unsolicited advice:  The 7 Rules of Compliment Club.  And I’ll throw these Double Chocolate Sunflower Cupcakes on the list because gosh I still love a sunflower (the perfume included). 

Thank you for being here! Thank you for buying my cookbooks and sharing the recipes that you make on Instagram.  I mean that most sincerely.  I’m really so grateful for you and I’m thankful for this space.

Finally, thank you for being here even though the typos are sometimes ridiculous.  Nevertheless, she persisted- you and me both. 

xo Joy