Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finding Balance in My Blogging

My sisters, Samuel and me, at my Brother's wedding, July 2012

Writing comes as a challenge for me.

I have perfectionist tendencies, and often have difficulties publishing posts that I feel aren't perfect. Generally, none of my posts are even close to perfect. You can see how putting my imperfect thoughts and feelings out there for everyone to read can sometimes be impossible.

Yesterday I had a lot of conflicting feelings. I really wanted to write, but I just couldn't let myself. I have very nearly reasoned that blogging is bad, and that I can't be a good Mother, Wife, or a happy person if I keep a blog.

Balance in life has not really been my forte. I'm not only a perfectionist, but I often have an 'all-or-nothing' approach. When I decided to back off of writing and tech time in general, it kind of started to slide into 'I guess I should just completely nix the whole idea of maintaining a blog. After all, so-and-so does a much better job of writing than I do.'

Throughout the course of a day, however, I start to feel little nudges. Small pushes toward the imperfect process of continuing to write. Yesterday, on the phone, I asked my Mom, "You really think it is nice, a good thing? Sometimes I stand back and wonder, 'Is this whole thing just a big waste of time? Is it just a distraction from the things I really should be doing?'" She enthusiastically responded, "Oh, no, it's wonderful. I love to see what you have, there. It's not a waste of time at all."

I originally started this blog because many dear friends wanted help on their journeys to better health. Some wanted recipes, some wanted to understand health principles, or ways to streamline their time in the kitchen.

The purpose was to inform.

Somehow the blog has morphed into not only sharing food, but sharing me.

I am not a spotlight person. I avoid attention and make a better wallflower than spotlight girl. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone would ever want to know about me. I'd frankly rather learn about you. Far more interesting.

I guess it's hard to not share a person's food choices, without sharing the person; behind food, and food choices, there is always a person. Granted, vegans are sometimes thought of as freaks, so hopefully sharing the real me, helps to dispel some of those myths (unless, of course, I really am a freak!?).

I came to the conclusion yesterday, that I should only blog when I have an absolutely mind-boggling recipe to share. Leave it at that. No more embarrassing or revealing posts into the real me or my life. Go back to the original intent of the blog in the first place.

Trying to cook in the kitchen, after reaching that conclusion, was a nightmare. I made a great new soup, that Paul loved. But because it wasn't the most perfect soup in the world, I told him, "I don't think I'll make this again." When what I really wanted to say was, "Since I don't think I'll put this on my blog, I don't want to cook it." There comes a point when, as a blogger, you realize that you are starting to live for your blog, instead of your blog being a reflection of your life. That's when you have to pull back. Almost start over again. Re-think the writing process.

Back to the drawing board. What is this blog really about? In what direction do I want it to go? How much time should I blog, and how often?

Is it really worth it? Will I look back on my life and be glad that I kept this little bloggy going? Should I only blog about food, and nothing else?

Ultimately, Paul says it's about balance. He is. Very balanced. He brings balance to my life. But really, what is balance? I was so frustrated with wanting to have the perfect soup in my kitchen yesterday because I wanted to write. I wasn't going to let myself write unless the soup was out-of-this-world delicious. I was a mess. My self-imposed restrictions were too strict.

If I had time, I would write every single day. Sometimes twice a day. I have to live, though. I have to find that balance between writing, and living. Right now, I am not completely sure what that means. I think, over time, I will be able to figure it out. I know I am grateful for you, and your comments. You keep me going. I think about you when I think about not giving up. I think about some of the recipes you have loved. I really want to keep going, for me, and for you.


  1. I am sorry things have been so rough lately. I am not the person to ask about balance - it's impossible, methinks.

    I know you will figure out something. Maybe write everything, but you don't have to post everything. That way you have control of your blog content, but you aren't restricted when putting your thoughts to paper.

    Has anything negative happened by posting your thoughts? Why not post whenever you want to? Does it make you happy to write for the blog? Are you restricted by thinking that your blog has to fit a niche? Sorry for all the questions - I have been thinking all of these things lately. For me, I realized that I am not a consistent person. If I tell myself I can only write about certain things, it stunts my writing and I am unhappy. If I let myself write whenever I want to, about whatever I want, I am happy because it is what I want to do.

    Just because you started out as a food blogger doesn't mean that is the only thing to do. You don't have to get huge and popular and make money off of a blog. But you can leave a blog that represents you and will be something fun to look back on as time goes on, and to share it with your kids.

    I don't know what your goals are, but remember that it is okay to not have goals too. You can blog for the sake of sending your thoughts out into the world, and get joy out of sharing a great recipe or tip when you feel like it.

    And, you don't have to post all the time. You can post every day for 8 days and then take 4 days off and post again. You can really do whatever you want.

    Man, I don't know if I am helping at all, but I have these thoughts too, so I'm trying to help!

    P.S. I have to tell you, I finally tried the revised homestyle cookies. PER-FECTION! You nailed it Ashlee! I made it with wheat and did the oil free version. Perfect texture, moist and chewy. Seriously, the best cookie!

    Also, I tried that cheddar sauce on baked potatoes and we all loved it. And I tried that lentil tomato sauce tonight and it was so great! You have a serious talent, and I really appreciate you sharing the recipes.

    1. I am so glad you like those cookies! I love them with spelt flour, and I love the oil free version more than the oil version.

      And thank you, thank you, for the very sweet compliments! Wow! Thank you.

  2. P.P.S. Is there any other way to reply to my posts than through the blog? I ask because I always forget to go check previous blog posts to see if you reply to me. Anyway, take a deep breath and eat something yummy!

    1. I am starting to think about answering comments right in the blog post. Short answers. That way it's easy to read and you don't have to go back to other pages. Too bad I can't figure out how to have responses emailed to you. I know that's how other blogs work. Maybe I could Google it and figure it out?

  3. In regards to recipes... act like your blog is an online catalog of the food that you find you love to eat and makes you healthy- a kind of "pinterest" of sorts... Do it for you and you'll start enjoying it more. Even if you have to do a blog post about "simple food" that helps a gal stay healthy on the run, don't you think people would love that, too? People like your "vegan fast food" series! If simple helps, than do it! I think representing what is real is what people were asking you for in the first place :) P.S you already had perfectionistic tendencies before the blog, so maybe it isn't the blog that is the problem, it's just making some of your pre-exisitng tendencies more obvious to you. And maybe that is a good thing, maybe blogging helps you get to know yourself better and that is why blogging has become a love-hate relationship? At least, that's kind of what happened to me. Just some thoughts:) Happy Holloween Ash. Love u.

    1. Aims, I have been thinking a lot about what you have said about perfectionist tendencies. The love-hate relationship with the blog totally makes sense. I never thought about it that way before. I don't like having my tendencies, faults, and any other "issues" made obvious to me. Yet, it's nice to have a place to share those issues. So...love-hate....makes sense.

      I love the vegan fast food series, too. I have modified the Thai-noodles to be a fast food dish, and it has turned out very handy. I will keep looking for those fast food dishes. Yummy!

  4. I think it's also important to remember that when someone starts a project as big as a blog, there is a tremendous amount of personal investment to it. Then after the initial investing phase of money, energy, thought and time, you can step back and simply maintain it. Let all your hard work, work for you! Just update it when you want and don't feel guilty, all your hard work is already here on the blog working for you :) You have a foundation, so just build on it, you don't need to revolutionize anything. Breathe. lol.

    1. Yes, the blog work adds up over time. Paul has pointed out to me that one day's post can benefit the blog for years and years. So while it may not help someone today, it could help someone years from now, who comes across that post at the right time, when they really needed it. The foundation is great. And I love building on it. Blogging when I really want to, even for just a half hour, has been really fun for me lately. The whole process is much more enjoyable when I do it because I want to. Thanks, Aimee, for your thoughts. Love U!!! -Ash