Welcome back for Part 4 of my super special two year anniversary post! This time I’m discussing how to find your true nature, how to see the things that really matter in life and realise which things don’t.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the wood for all the trees, but keep on walking and eventually you’ll get some perspective. The photo above was taken at Cannock Chase Forest during my 600 mile drive to Inverness, where I spent a week touring and camping in the Scottish Highlands, in the winter.
Fact 7. The most likes I’ve ever had on social media is 8,041 for a photo of a caramelised onion dip I made which Bon Appetit magazine re-Instagrammed.
Blogging has helped me find my true nature and changed the course of my life. It’s allowed me fits of apoplexy when my blog somehow went FUBAR shortly after having submitted an entry to a blog awards. It’s seen flying vegetables, fists thumping on desks and the word “fucking” appended with various nouns, shouted, screamed, snarled, growled or just internalised, ready to be unleashed at a later date.
…and the Joy.
Which makes blogging sound incredibly arduous, which is not the case. I get great joy from many aspects of the work, such as food writing and food photography. I knew a reasonable amount about photography before I started, but focussing on food photography saw my skills and subsequent enjoyment really start to fly. The thrill of the chase, then the joy when I realise I’ve created a perfect sentence or captured a scene perfectly.
I was surprised by the enjoyment of writing. I’ve found I get enormous amounts of joy and fulfilment from crafting words. It’s an incredibly pure pursuit, it requires so little paraphernalia to make it happen. Words feel like dough in my hands, like they are a collection of atoms ready to be squished and moulded into a pleasing shape, glazed and baked into something that is incredibly nourishing.
Fact 8. The posts I enjoy writing the most generally get the least pageviews. Blogs are visual mediums first and foremost.
Which Path to Follow?
Back to my life. I reached a point with my business that felt like a cross roads, either I threw myself into it with even more abandon, or I cut and run. Seeing as I didn’t really enjoy my job, I decided to get out of it, taking some freelance work with me. This gave me time to work on blogging and develop a new career.
What was the first thing I did? Got a puppy. A black miniature poodle named Bernard, who was able to devour my time and attention like an enormous fluffy black hole, but who I love with all my heart.
Fact 9. Miniature poodles are the second most intelligent dog and one of the longest living breeds.
I began to publish work consistently, churning out two recipe posts a week, alongside exploring other projects and their feasibility, such as producing a range of greetings cards, trying to organise a Regatta on the Long Water at Hampton Court Palace, building a house and many other smaller, little projects which never saw the light of day. All of these dead-end projects were very important, they were signposts along the road, telling me what to follow. If something kept on hitting barriers, it wasn’t meant to be, so I would archive the work and move on to something different, something which flowed.
My biggest failure was creating an expression of interest bid to the Lottery Heritage Fund and entering into talks with the Royal British Legion to create a field of several million poppies for 2018 in Hyde Park to commemorate the fallen of WWI. This was back in 2013, and the project was declined in a slightly vague way, only for the Tower of London poppies to be announced shortly afterwards.
True Nature, or Flow.
I realised that blogging meant a lot to me, it allowed rare moments of flow, but I didn’t understand it’s importance. I felt it was important to my personal development and the future of my career, but couldn’t see how it fitted into earning a living. I realised early on that making a lot of money from blogging is a very tough path, it didn’t feel like it fitted me, I didn’t want to put advertising on my blog and I’m not inclined towards the technical side of things, so I decided to just keep my blog as my hobby. Code makes me want to break down and weep and ‘monetisation’ makes me cringe, because it’s the pure pursuit of money.
Fact 10. I hate the technical stuff. If I could have a partner in blogging, they would need to be a techie web coding type person.
In late 2015 I responded to a #PRrequest for a photographer and was met with enthusiastic joy for my work. I was shocked to say the least, after all I’m English and have an innate tendency not to be confident or outspoken about my abilities. I then began to advertise the fact that I was available as a freelance food photographer and lo and behold, work appeared in front of me. No blocks, no obstacles, it just flowed. I was shocked, it was not a career I had sought out, it found me, but it was the first signs of how to make a career out of blogging.