On blogging

My blogging goes on in fits and starts. My content revolves around my three hobbies: reading, cooking, and travel. If I haven’t cooked or travelled, and I’m in the middle of a long book, my blog entries slow. When I get back from a trip I’ll have a big backlog of things to share. My blog sometimes languishes because I still work part time (I’m semi-retired) and keep busy with exercise, visiting, and just running errands. Life gets in the way sometime.

I want to be better at blogging so in the last month I’ve been thinking about blogs I admire. I’ve been reading four  blogs for inspiration: And Sew It Goes by Terry Grant, Dad Cooks Dinner by Mike Vrobel, Bev Cooks by Bev Weidner, and How Sweet It Is by Jessica Merchant.

These blogs are so different but follow some common themes. They are all passionate and intentional about their work and their blogging.

Terry Grant is an amazing artist with a focus on fabric. We are friends and for years I’ve been amazed by her work when we visit her and her husband Ray. Earlier this month she posted an entry on the benefits of art education which really resonated with me. Terry has a classic art education where she got a solid background in basic design principles, color theory and more. As I work through my photography efforts it’s become very clear that my lack of this strong foundation results in a long slow learning curve. That doesn’t mean I should stop what I like, I need to be more intentional about my work. At the end of the day, what I love about Terry’s blog is her voice; she is mature, thoughtful and passionate about her work and her life. She writes about the creative process and blogging about that process.

Mike Vrobel is passionate about cooking – and not just a little bit. I stumbled across his work when I was looking for a recipe. I bought a pressure cooker and started making my own chicken stock because of Mike. Making your own chicken stock is the simplest way to transform your meals from good to excellent. His blog is well organized making it easy to find  content you want. I like Mike’s casual style. I admire his passion for cooking and sharing about cooking. He has a full time job yet still finds the time to cook a lot and write about it. He even has a couple of cook books out. Unlike Terry, Mike started cooking (like I did) as an amateur. While he has lately been traveling to hone some specific technique or regional cuisine, he started like I did: heating up a grill or pot and throwing stuff in. Mike inspires me to stretch beyond the recipe and try some new things.

Bev Weidner and Jessica Merchant are new finds for me. I stumbled across one of them (I forget which I stumbled up onfirst) on FlipBoard  reading about food. From there I found a link to the other.  Bev’s work focuses mostly on food; Jessica has an interesting weekly post “Crushing On” where she waxes poetic on things she loves. She also has “Real Life Wednesday” where she opens up about her pregnancy, vision boards and more. These two women blog for a living; they post and use Instagram, Twitter, and other social media to get their words out.

These two young women exude energy about their work. Their styles are informal: I think of it as 80’s-Valley girl-meets-professional-21st-century-writer “whaaat?”,  “I’m beyond excited”. . (I mean this as a compliment – really). The energy and excitement is catching – I look forward to their frequent posts. And their food pictures are the best I’ve seen; not only do they convey what is going on, they are little works of art on their own.

All four of these bloggers make money from their blogs (Terry and Mike less than Bev and Jessica); that isn’t something I’m interested in at this point. But they all have lessons for me. From Terry I’m learning to be intentional about my photography and work at the craft. From  Mike I’m learning to be passionate and to experiment with my cooking; extend beyond just copying recipes. From Bev and Jessica I’m appreciating the cross-platform, scheduled work. Perhaps when I finally fully retire I’l be able to spend time a few days a week to get my words and images out.

As a way to kickstart my efforts, I’m experimenting with moving my blog from blogger (2for66 . blogspot . com) to wordpress (2for66 . wordpress . com). Once I settle on one or the other I’ll use the domain name (2for66.com) I’ve paid for the past 2 years but have done nothing with. WordPress gets great reviews and edges out blogger. From what I can tell Terry and Mike use blogger, while Jessica and Bev use WordPress. If you have a preference, please leave a comment with your impressions. Or better yet, let’s use the WordPress poll feature! Or NOT. I can’t get that widget to work – just leave a comment.


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