Thoughts on Blogging

I’m celebrating a birthday this month, my beloved turns 4 in the next few days. Actually, I think it has turned 4 already, but there were some really wacky first posts that I just had to hide from public view, well, let’s just say back then, the blog had an audience of ONE.

My husband.

So, you can imagine the kind of (ahem) writing that went on a blog that I named “Steamy Kitchen.”

eeeehhhh…YEAH. We’ll keep those posts private for now. I wouldn’t want to taint my angelic aura of innocence with that kind of writing out on the loose!

Four years. Four blog years is like 17 regular business years, especially since I’ve dedicated a big chunk of my time to being a pioneer in the turning this little blog that started with an audience of one to now having the reach of millions of people each month.

It’s not easy being a pioneer, to stand up and take an oath of teaching everything I’ve learned (the good and the bad) to bloggers who want to be the same. The oldest food blog that I know of is only 8 years old! So you can imagine at our blogging conference, we’re essentially peers teaching peers, which is fantastic. There’s no stronger community than one that teaches and learns from each other.

I love sharing what I’ve learned in the past 4 years. I love spending hours studying, experimenting, making connections on how I can take my expertise and past business experience and marry that with the blog.

I love what I do. All of it. Okay, not so much the doing business tax stuff…but pretty much everything else, from developing recipes, snapping shots of food to creating strategies to turn my hobby into a dream job and also being on a never ending journey to learn as much as I can.

I teach at blogging seminars because I love building and fostering community. I teach because it’s the right thing to do. I teach because I’m insanely talented in a very narrow area and I’m good at what I do. Outside of the kitchen, I’m a branding and business madwoman rock star.

But there’s a risk to teaching. It absolutely takes guts to stand up in front of other bloggers, have a very distinct point of view and throw out expert advice.

I put it all out there and when I speak, I get so amped and filled with passion that I’m giving 1,000% of myself. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY! SO MUCH TO SHARE! Even writing this post, I can feel my body shifting, I’m sitting up on the edge of this chair and every once in a while I’m finding my feet dancing on their own! I want to teach others what’s worked for me and what’s failed miserably for me in the blogging world! Learn from my (very expensive) mistakes!

And the moment I sit down after the last applause, I instantly transform into a student. Diane taught me how to go from using my dSLR on fully automatic to 100% manual control while we shared a margarita in Mexico (oh and that photo of me up there? she snapped that on our last trip to SF!). I’ve learned beauty from Diana. I’ve learned oodles of loveliness from Elise. Ree teaches me sisterhood. Making a difference from Fed Up with Lunch, friendship from Monica and Smith Bites, energy from Kamran Marla and Garrett, creativity from Diamonds For Dessert. Storytelling from Lucy and David. I’ve learned so much from my friends, peers and fellow bloggers.

I may not always agree with what they say, but I nudge aside those thoughts and pluck out the gems. Oh my, are those gems bright and wonderful!

being a gracious teacher and student.

That’s the first lesson in food blogging.

The second? It’s that we’re all different and that’s what makes the community so great. We all blog for different reasons, have diverse talents and will absolutely go in different directions.

Some blogs are an art of expression

Some tell stories through photos.

Some love to snark.

Some love cooking on fire.

And for some, it’s a dream business come true.

Whatever the reason, intention, focus or expertise….it’s all good. As Brooke from FoodWoolf has learned, Diversity is wonderful.

that’s what food blogging is all about.

For me, my passion lies in 2 different spectrums – I absolutely am deeply, madly in love with teaching people how to cook recipes that are well….”fast, fresh and simple enough for tonight’s dinner.” Whether online, in print on television or in a magazine, it’s what feeds my soul.

The other is in the back side of blogging – the inner workings of what what goes on behind the scenes of a food blog, behind the pretty food photos, inspiring posts and great recipes. What drives my insanely fast-working mind is the intersection of blogging and business. Helping others build their dream career in food, whether it’s scoring their first cookbook deal or a regular television gig.

I’m not an expert on writing or being able to express my voice in words – which is why you’ll never hear me teach about either one of these topics! I’m going to share with you something that only a handful of my very close friends know – I have difficulty reading long blocks of text (my mind jumbles all the words together) and writing (I use voice recognition software to write)

While I lack in those abilities, God and Buddha have blessed me with one major talent that I would never trade anything for. It’s the gift of “making rain,” and having abundance in my life. I’m not talking about money, but I’m talking about a deep quest for learning, absorbing, mastering skills, applying strategies and “making shit happen.”

Thank you all for your friendship, love and cheerleadership (yes, that’s a word)

Food Blog Seminars 2011

If you’re interested in learning more about blogging, I highly encourage you to attend a blogging seminar.

Techmunch Austin (March 11)
Food Blog Forum Orlando
(April 9)
Food Styling and Photography Workshop Los Angeles (April 9)
Camp Blogaway (April 29-May 1)
Eat Write Retreat! D.C. (May 20-22)
BlogHer Food Atlanta (May 20-21)
FitBloggin (May 20-21)
IACP in Austin (June 1-4) *I’m giving away a few passes
Evo 2011 in Park City, Utah (July 7-9)
Big Summer Potluck (July 29-31)
Food and Light Boulder, Colorado (August 2-3)
BlogHer 2011, San Diego (August 5-6)
Food Blogger Connect in London (August 12-14)
Food Blogger Camp (next event not announced yet)
International Food Blogger Conference (New Orleans August 26-28; Santa Monica November 11-13)

There are more! See current and past events over at Jenn Cuisine and Namely Marly.

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Comments 77

  1. Janet Foster

    Jaden I want to thank you for being so transparent and so giving of your talents. I was in Atlanta at Food Blog Forum and it opened my eyes to the world of food blogging and personal branding. Congrats on 4 years, you rain maker. May you have many more.

  2. Simone

    I just learned that you are attending the food blogger conference in London in August! I am planning on coming there so it will be fun to finally meet you! And wow, only four years and look how far you’ve come!!

  3. Adam

    Really enjoyed reading your personal take on food blogging. We just started about a year and a half ago….we already LOVE the people you meet and surprises along the way. BTW, we just purchased Food Blog Forum tickets last night. Can’t wait to meet everyone there πŸ™‚


    Jaden, You are a true inspiration, not only to fellow food bloggers but to women aspiring to get out there and make their dreams happen. I wait on the edge of my seat for my first experience being in your audience in April.
    Thank you!

  5. Dee

    Happy Birthday, Steamy Kitchen! Congrats to you, Jaden. Love reading your blog and trying out your recipes. You are inspiring, gracious and generous.

  6. Angie

    Happy Blog Birthday! I am so sad I won’t be able to go to the Orlando event here, it was such short notice, and we had plans to be out of town several months ago.
    I really like to work, doing what I love and actually getting paid. I hope to keep expanding what I do as much as I can. Today is a first for me, starting weekly videos.

  7. Single Guy Ben

    Happy blogaversary! Thank you for being you. I always appreciate how you’re so willing to share what you’ve learned, and to continue to learn. You are a sexy pioneer!

  8. Lyrical Lemongrass

    You’ve come a long way girl. I still remember visiting your blog 4 years ago and it’s wonderful to see it evolve to what it is today. I’ve always loved your writing style and your sense of humour, so don’t ever lose that. Keep up the good work!

  9. Melissa Crane

    Happy Blog Birthday Jaden! I love that you’re so open to sharing about your experiences (and mistakes) to the rest of us food bloggers.

    Blogging is an amazing journey if you put the effort into it, I’ve only been in it for a year and I’ve already met some incredible people and learned some great lessons that I’ve been able to apply to my bread and butter business.

    Congrats on your 4th year of blogging! Keep up the awesome work! You are a rock star!!

  10. Wylie Goodman

    Dear Jaden,

    Thanks so much for this post and for being such an inspiring teacher! Meeting you and the other bloggers at FB Camp in Mexico truly changed my life, intention, and dedication to this strange thing we do — writing, eating, telling stories, and taking pictures.

    Congratulations on Four Successful Years!

    Couchsurfing Cook

  11. Bonnie Deahl

    Jaden, Thank you for an informative post. You share the passion for who you are in your blog and your success shows that you live what you believe. Thanks for the links to 2011 blogging seminars. I have just signed up for the one in DC in May and it is paid for as of now! Can’t wait.

  12. Amy I.

    Congrats on 4 years, Jaden. That’s huge. You’re such a lovable inspiration to so many of us… keep doing what you’re doing, and here’s to 4 more years of massive success!

  13. Chris

    WOW! Thanks for the link, Jaden!

    Excellent post, funny was always with salient points thrown in! It is a community, isn’t it.

  14. Amber DeGrace

    Happy blog-birthday! I’m sure you know this, but you are inspirational, amusing, and your recipes are incredible. So happy I found you on this amazing interweb. πŸ™‚

  15. Sarinya

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I started to do the food blog & launched it this month. I found myself this is what I have passion for. I already have 3 posts and today I feel like this will be a long process but I need to be patient right? And keep blogging right? Your post inspires me not to give up on what I ‘m doing.

    Thanks a million,

  16. Michelle @ Taste As You Go

    Congratulations on your blogging milestone, Jaden! You were a huge inspiration to me when I started blogging back in 2008 and continue to be a major influence. I can’t wait to celebrate Taste As You Go’s three-year mark in August!

  17. Al Sefati

    Congrats on your blog’s bday. Ever since I started working for, I have been inspired by my employer and bloggers such as yourself and I have been thinking of starting a food blog too that specialized in ethnic but healthy recipes. So I have been reading many food blogs and getting ideas. I really like to get more into with bloggers, and being a male, I don’t want to feel left out so any advise you can give me would be much appreciated.

    Congrats again on your blogs bday.

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