Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How To Blog About Anything

Ojai, California, offers fewer encumbrances than the working life in Los Angeles, so I've had a chance to get a tan, clear my head and dive in to my meta-mind, the one that writes about being a writer.  Great. Hey, at least I told you up front so you don't have to jump the break to keep reading.

I've had a few breakthroughs since I've been here. I put them into tidy compartments for later use.


If you have a rule that you don't drink while writing, which I do, an equal and opposite rule should be made that you should drink heavily if you're stuck, angry or blocked.  It might entice a drunken inspired moment that if you are still sober enough to write down, the next day you may have something to work with.  The kumquat post came out of not drinking, not drinking, then drinking. People seemed to like that post.


Fall into and out of love with ideas often.  Take the idea to buy beautiful fresh fava beans at the farmer's market to discover their inner beauty at home. I realized since I've never worked with fava beans, that journey was going to be a pain in the ass to write about, so I made a grilled cheese sandwich instead. I'm going to make the fava beans, I'm just not going to blog about them. Sometimes you need to be alone in the kitchen as you're about to screw up something. Or someone.

Another example of "passion" is a box of tile that came home with me yesterday.  In addition to this being a bad idea from the start, taking on a new project, I looked at the box and thought an immoveable "What a perfect background for food photography!" I don't know what kind of goggles were on that saw these as gorgeous Fulper or Heath tiles and took this date home from the dimly-lit thrift store. These tiles are unattractive, uncharismatic and were probably made by child labor in Malaysia. But, they gave me an idea about improving my photography: I need to start solving my horizon line problems by creating my own backdrops.

Pea shoots inspired me last week but I didn't know where to put them besides in my belly.  They are so tender and sweet and...joyful. I took pictures of the salad and wrote something that withered like it had been thrown onto the compost pile. Delete. Today, I ate the last of the batch and thought, "What makes them so sweet?" To the books! Young plants, when they first start creating food for themselves via photosynthesis, turn that food into sugar.  When they get older, the food turns into starch.  This is why younger plants taste sweeter. See? Learned something. Smarter equals Better.

Straight Up Rules
Do not photograph everything. Lemonade for one is staged and depressing, even if it is sparkling honey lemon-basil lemonade.  This photograph looks like someone slipped me a tea and crumpet enema and I grabbed a camera before I pooed. Also, do not tweet everything.

Have a list of people whose writing you love and you want to be more like, and keep adding to it. My list contains voices so bold and scary, they make me feel like a wimp and that pisses me off. They encourage me to hit the "post" button when I probably should not.  I'm sorry if the named are finding this out for the first time. Note that none of these are food blogs. Food is just a filter attached to the end of a voice.

Becky Harks - She's such a lovable bitch! I would have turned out, like, soooo different if we went to the same high school.
Chuck Wendig - Articulate + Scary = Swoon, for some of us.
Ameena Din - Publicly hates her daughter by loving her to pieces. Priceless.
Jessica Gottlieb - Has a mom-look in her voice which means you'll do anything she says.

Remember Your Reason To Be
Paul Bocuse, a culinary master, has a rose named after him. I do not know why.
Not every post is going to be liked, read, or interesting to others. But, by posting, you are advocating that someone sees things through your lens, and that alone is an incentive to continually ask whether every vice, passion, influence, curiosity and rule works for you.  Tell me, dear friends and readers, what inspires you to keep doing what you do? I told you about a box of ugly tile. Come on, give it up.


  1. Your posts keep getting better and better! xoxo

  2. Ugly tile makes for great back drop. We just nabbed some orange tile for that very reason. Loved this post. The sun is good on you!

  3. I kind of love drinking while writing! Not a lot, mind you. Just a glass of wine (or two!). But, I always go back and mega-proof before I post. :)

    Your thoughts on lemonade for one are hilarious. Its true, though. I tend to photograph everything and then later I'll decide what I feel like posting. I'm glad that not every meal I make ends up on the blog. And you know what, sometimes I am just too damn hungry to take a picture. :)

  4. At the end of the day it's all because I love it! Being in the kitchen surrounded by food, foods I know well and don't know at all, fills me with an excitement I don't feel anywhere else. It's the colors, the aromas, the textures... Every little piece of it is like a glorious puzzle I've been laboring over, one piece at a time. Little by little it has taken shape over the years as my knowledge and skill has grown. But I love that it will never be complete! That is my bliss and what makes me write. I do it all for me, and if someone joins me and shares the ride, that just makes it all the sweeter.

  5. I keep doing what I do out of this inexplicable urge to! Hmmm, to inspire and to be inspired, yep that's it! Thanks for the inspiration. Great read CR!

  6. You inspire me with your eloquent writing style and your stunning photographs.

    Thank you for the lovely mention! You are too kind. :) I do hope that we meet up one of these days! We are too close not to.

  7. I'm taking a break from writing my next post and love to see that some of my "issues" are similar to others. The post is about not feeling like I have to follow the rules, have a specified niche and have to feel compelled to write what I think a reader wants to read (and looking at my bounce rate, I often wonder if anyone is actually reading what I write). If I want to write a saucy little story that was inspired by a fork in my kitchen drawer, then so be it. Not everyone is going to "get" me and that's okay. Inspiration for me is everywhere. How I execute that inspiration is the challenge. I consider myself successful when I do what I want with my inspiration. And it never hurts to have a cocktail in hand; it loosens everything up.
    Lucky you to be hanging out in Ojai. I live nearby and visit often and feel like I'm on vacation every time I'm there.
    I'm going to BlogHer Food next month. Are you?

  8. I am going to BlogHerFood!!! Who else is going??


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay positive!