On being 1: How to become a blogger

Kitchen Butterfly is 1! One! I (roman numeral).

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Actually, a bit older than one is she. He. It.

From concept to ‘live’ took a good nine months – time enough to birth a child. Or two. Or three.

Why did it take me from October 2008 to June 2009 to start this blog? Well, I’m a ladder learner – a word I invented. I love to take steps when I discover or embark on something new and so I took my time.

I turned to blogging, in shock after a good friend and my husband began blogs. Within minutes of them mentioning their blogs, my brain cells went ‘berserk’ – this was the shortcut I needed to publishing my cookbook! While I haven’t had any offers yet from book publishers, I am hopeful….hear me publishers, I remain hopeful that someday soon, my dream will be accomplished.

I haven’t looked back since: 12 months later, most of that time glued to my computer screen, I write to say thanks, to men, women, boys, girls, friends who have been there. Check this site out – WebDesign499 for more information.

I said to a colleague today, ‘My blog is one’. Know what he said in response? ‘Does anyone read it, apart from your family and friends’, to which I replied with a fair amount of indignation (for dear readers, you do read me, don’t you?), ‘Yes, people outside my inner caucus read my blog!

I need to say a special thank you to the following people (minus husband and kids) who were instrumental to this blog:

One man

One man made a HUGE difference to me and this blog – his name is Yaro Starak. I found him, I can’t remember how but I am glad for it.

I read a report he wrote – Blog Profits Blueprint (please read it if you can) and I learnt two key things:

  1. Content is king
  2. How to market your blog, using peer relationships!

To set up my blog, I followed his Become a blogger guide and have since shared it with many people. Thank you Yaro!!!!!!!

Two women

My first comment ever was left by my friend, Sheila on my Greek salad post. I was excited to see it one morning when I woke up. 12 months later, the feeling of joy when I receive comments on my blog hasn’t ceased. She also taught me to make Banana bread – that is her hand you see. Thank you Sheila.

The doness test

The second woman is Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. Boy, do I admire her….and respect her immensely. She gave me the first inkling that bloggers extraordinaire were human! One of the first recipes I ever made was her Gucci steaks, I call them Steak Bling Bling, using a method of super salting the steaks to season them. Well, it ended on a good note for me, a non-steak cooker and I emailed her to say thanks and introduce my blog. She responded, within minutes and left a comment on the post. Thrilled , humbled and enthralled, she has remained one of my food heroes!

Thank you Jaden.

Sel Herbes de Provence and steak

Many readers

Thanks to you, I’ve learnt what evoo (extra virgin olive oil) is. Even if it was only a few months ago!

I have felt honoured, loved, respected and treasured.

I have cooked, baked, thought, schemed, planned and loved with all my heart.

I’ve gone to bed dreaming of mozzarella and woken up to make a pizza.

I have sought the whole of my piece of Europe for ramps – and have come up empty.

I have hated my thickening waistline but loved how I’ve grown (I’m embarking on a lifestyle change next week, pity my camera is away so no photos yet but I’ll share some recipes: goal is to shed bulk, regain health, continue blogging and eat better!)

I have despised myself for wanting comments upon comments and have been surprised how funny life is.

I expected my sushi post to have tens of comments….it didn’t, even though I visited blogs a lot and commented.

Ginger and wasabi garnishThen in April, life was busy and I made Banoffee pies, which garnered 60 odd comments – I hadn’t had time enough to blog hop and connect with people but still…

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I have had a fantastic year but I have also realised that blogging is an all-consuming fire and I might get burnt and burnt out if I don’t manage it.

To this end, I no longer read 100 blogs a night, but take my time in the week to visit blogs, to really read the recipes, to get to know the bloggers behind the blogs. Often I read posts and don’t comment, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t need to. Because I don’t want to trap myself into thinking of reciprocal commenting. That’s my way of slowing down and getting to the heart of the matter. Thank you for understanding.

Accomplishments

I could reel off a whole load of things that have come into being – from finding myself to having my recipes as Editors picks on food52. But I will stop here.

Thankful. Grateful. Excited. Looking forward to another 12 months – but not addicted as I’ve been this last year. I need to strike a healthy balance in what I cook, how I eat and when I blog about it.

Thank you dear friends, readers, bloggers for being there and here for me. Lots and lots and lots of love. I have so much to say and have forgotten most of it.

*Mwah*.

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41 Comments

  1. Happy 1st birthday, Ozoz! Congratulations and thank you for the joy that you bring me through your words, photos and courageous creativity. I am glad you are there all the way on the other side of the globe smiling at me =)

  2. What a beautiful, thoughtful, and heartfelt post! Take this to your colleague. You are read and enjoyed by MANY more of us than we who comment. Why is that? I am like you. I love to interact, and collaborate, and develop relationships and learn – and get a THRILL every time I see a comment on a post – and, when it is thoughtful, I am deeply touched. I have had my blog since August of 2008, but it was on a terrible platform: Windows Live (MICROSOFT!!!) and there was zero support and no possibility to have readers. Great learning experience for me. So, in January of this year, I have become visible through wordpress. What a difference in my life. I am read. I feel heard. I had learned so much. Happy Happy Birthday, to you!
    🙂
    Valerie

  3. I’m still way behind from the one year anniversary. All I can say is that it has truly been about the journey and certainly not the destination.
    I loved this post because not only did so much ring true for me…it certainly will help newcomers and non-bloggers understand the passionate dedication that food bloggers possess.
    Congrats on your one year success 😉
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  4. what a lovely reflection on beginning and growing as a blogger – I am amazed at how long it took you to start the blog – I think mine took a few weeks once I had decided but I suspect the germ of the idea was there much longer.

    I understand how you say you need to slow down to avoid burning out in the blogosphere – sometimes I feel confined to such a small corner but others I feel I trip and skip across so many kitchens and wish I had time to stop and chat in each!

  5. I love this, dear Ozoz. 🙂 I love how you are finding your own way in this blogging world, doing what makes you feel happy, peaceful, healthy. It’s good to step back, isn’t it? I did that this weekend and oh, it was just what I needed. I feel renewed. Big hug and hearty congrats on your blog birthday. 🙂

  6. This is a wonderful post! Inspiring, heartfelt and I can totally, totally relate. For me, blogging is extremely therapeutic and whilst feedback and comments are great, I’d still continue blogging and wouldn’t change a thing!
    Congratulations on your 1-yr anniversary and looking forward to many more to come!!

  7. Congrats on your first year, and I am shocked as well that no publisher has wisely snapped up your cookbook. Shame on them, making us wait like that! In the mean time we reap the rewards as we get to read these incredible posts you deliver to us.

  8. Thank you dear readers, friends and inspiration for me – you have caused me to keep trying, keep thinking and dreaming of food. With no regrets. When I win the lottery, I’ll remember you. I should remember to play right? LOL

  9. Many congratulations, Ozoz! Happy Blog Birthday!

    After reading today’s post, I must tell you in the nearly two years I have been blogging, only 1 friend has commented! (I think they are intimidated by the process. My friends are a LOT older than you!) But I slog on, hoping somone is enjoying what I’m saying.

    Hope to be reading you for many years to come and that a cookbook will be coming your way in the future!

  10. Congratulations to you and Happy Birthday to your blog Oz 🙂
    I hope to read your blog for many more years!!!

    Enjoy your weekend…

    • Jaden, thanks. You did make a huge difference to me….and still do. Thank you for encouraging the young (and old!)

  11. Happy 1st year! You do so well with your blog, it’s hard to believe you’ve only been doing this a year! And I agree on your comments about Jaden – she was instrumental in helping me along too!

  12. congrats, I have recently found your blog and have really enjoyed your writing, pics and recipe..heres to many more years..

    sweetlife

  13. What a year for you! Congrats on being 1. I agree that the world of blog reading can be an all-consuming fire. I’ve often sat down in the morning to ‘catch-up’ and the next thing I know it’s lunch time.

    Anyway here’s to Kitchen Butterfly and more divine recipes 🙂

    • Alysha, a big thank you for your support and comments. Its wonderful when someone you see often and know reads your blog and enjoys it. I appreciate it!

  14. happy happy blog birthday OZ! i was fairly disappointed that you did not make it to london this year. wish i could have seen you again. but you are celebrating high and so you should. you have a lovely space here!

    • Thank you Meeta dear and not coming to FBC was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in recent times!!!!!!! We will meet up soon…..

  15. Congratulations on your first year!

    You should have come to FBC10 – Jaden did a skype presentation and Julia of A Slice of Cherry pie did a presentation on how she got published. But I agree with the scaled down blog hopping, it’s impossible to sustain it and keep up with posts.

    My blog is 1 in a couple of weeks so we must have started around the same time.

  16. I read, yes I read! As a newish blogger I can totally relate to everything you said. I’m so glad that I found your blog, it is always a pleasure to read and I appreciate every comment you have left me.

    Happy Anniversary!

  17. This was a very interesting post; it is a relief to see other bloggers that can identify with oneself. I hope you will continue this challenging but ultimately very rewarding path.

  18. What an honest post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and, of course, relate to quite a few of your comments. Congratulations on your first anniversary. I’m happy I found you through the Culinary Tour Around the World.

  19. What a great reflection on your first year…I just started blogging in January, and I’m so loving this community. I’m glad that I found your blog, and I look forward to a whole new year of great posts!

  20. Great post Oz! Congrats on one year. It’s funny how it changes our way of looking at things. I love Jaden too, she lives in the same town as I do. I first met her on twitter and we keep meaning to meet in person, life gets in the way, we’re so busy now! I used to catch her here on the local stations, she makes me smile!

    I will be excited to get your cookbook. Good luck with that, and wishing you many more years of blogging!

    Lyndsey~

  21. What a sweet post! I can relate to all the things you said. Blogging is so personal and it’s so great when people respond positively to what you’re doing. Congratulations on a great year and I can’t wait to see what’s coming from you in year two!!

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