What Should Food Bloggers Write About?

What should food bloggers write about? A post with ideas and inspiration for food blog writers. | pinchofyum.com

This post is for food bloggers and food blog readers alike! My hope here is just to bring up a little think/talk/virtual coffee date sesh about what food bloggers should write about. Food bloggers, let’s think about what you like to write about, and food blog readers, let’s think about what you like to read about, because that’s sort of the end goal here. A matchy match on both sides of the story.

Every once in a while, I sit down at the computer to write a post and my brain is literally empty. Zero words. No thoughts. BLEH. And by every once in a while I mean all the time lately. Usually I am overflowing with words and thoughts and ideas and random stories that I feel an urgent need to share on a food blog (?), but somehow that just *poof* disappears when I try to write at times like 11pm or 5am, which has kind of been the norm as of lately.

And now, see, I’m already off track. This is why I need a conversation about what food bloggers should write about.

What should food bloggers write about? A post with ideas and inspiration for food blog writers. | pinchofyum.com

{Great quote, great book.}

How do you know what to write about?

To start honestly, at this point in my “food blog journey” and yes I did just use that phrase, I just take it as it comes. I’ve found after yeeears of doing this (coming up on 4 years to be exact, so I’m basically a blog grandma) that I can write with the most authentic voice if I’m just true to whatever I feel like writing about. It sounds most natural, it’s easy to write, it comes across as authentic. Because it is.

The problem comes when I don’t feel like writing about anything, and in that case, I hole up in bed with a jar of Nutella.

Juuust kidding. {eyes dart up and to the left}

When I’m stuck at the keyboard with nothing in my mind but chocolate oblivion, I try to go one of two ways.

1. The Food Talk

Chocolate Cake Bars

If life has been kinda ho-hum or I’ve just dry for anything interesting to talk about, then it probably makes the most sense to get started by just writing about the recipe. Whiiich is kind of a “duh” moment because we are talking about food blogs. But even though it’s so simple, it can be surprisingly hard. It’s like I sit down, get the recipe in there, have the pictures in place. Now, uh, what do I have to say? Yum. The End.

Here are some ideas of food related writing material that I use for inspo when I’m stuck. I’m not the only one, right?

2. The Telling of a Story

What should food bloggers write about? A post with ideas and inspiration for food blog writers. | pinchofyum.com

As I have started to develop more of a relationship with my readers (I’m lookin’ at you, xo), I’ve started sharing more beyond-the-food stories. Like dumb little stories about going to the movies. Or more experiential stories about living the Philippines. Or pictures of my house. Did I really just put those on the world wide webby? What in the world. Or even serious, sad, and deep in my heart stories about Bjork’s young aunt passing away after a battle with early onset Alzheimer’s. If it’s on my heart, I try to authentically share it in a way that is compatible with the recipe that I’m posting.

This is powerful because a) it’s authentic! three cheers! and b) because people love love love stories. Myself included. I remember once I read a post by Joy the Baker and I can still remember the hilarious story she shared about a misplaced bee and a taken-off shirt in the middle of downtown (major paraphrase there – apologies, Joy). But guess what? I have no recollection whatsoever of what the recipe was in that post. Yet I vividly remember reading that post because of the story, and I remember it again whenever I think of her blog. That’s sticky and it’s good.

Here are some great examples of powerful, moving, and engaging stories that I’ve seen:

  • a story that describes why the food was made and brings you into the experience, like this post from way back when
  • a food and life story about what the food is inspired from and what it signifies
  • a story about the person who gave you the recipe – this was one of the first posts I ever read by Jessica of How Sweet Eats and even though it’s old, IMO it’s a perfect blend of food talk with story
  • a story that’s random and funny, like the Joy Bee Story that I just found! awesome
  • reflections and authentic sharing of what’s on your heart, like this lovely New Year’s recipe post by Sara of Sprouted Kitchen

To my food bloggers, remember that we want to not only provide useful content (a rockin’ recipe) but that we also want to connect and share with a group of people who want to read our blogs. And that connection is built not just because of the recipes, but because of who YOU are as a person and how well your reader can feel like they know you. And the goal is that you can very authentically communicate who you with your readers through your stories and your voice.

In the last two years, I have changed my approach from just cranking out recipe after recipe to seeing my blog as a documenting of my story. Our year-long adventure in the Philippines sort of opened that door for me. The face of the blog is food, but I hope it always also tells the story of our lives and the people around us.

3. Always, always, always

butterfinger monster cookies

One last thing that I always consider a non-negotiable no matter what I’m talking about that day: describe the food. I sometimes forget because I get wrapped up in the gab fest, but it’s really important to me that I communicate to you, my food friends, what the FOOD is like and even more importantly, why I love it.

The fun of reading food blogs is seeing people passionately in love with their food and oh my gosh, I just wrote that. Passionately in love with their food. Wow. But it’s so exciting to read about someone talking about something they love, and turning that individual love into a collective experience with a group of virtual friends is just a really cool thing.

Blogger Words of Wisdom

I most definitely did hunt down my favorite food blog writers and harass them until they gave me their responses to the question, “What should food bloggers write about?”

Bev Cooks

Bev says: What should food bloggers write about? Any ol’ dang thing you please. Just make sure it sounds like you. Of course this is coming from someone whose voice is resemblant of an armpit fart, but what are ya gonna do? I’m not one to wax poetically on the juiciness of spring strawberries, or the soul warming effects of freshly baked bread, or the velvet nature of melting chocola – AND now I’m starving. But if that’s who you are, that’s who you are! Don’t be afraid to talk about toenails (don’t listen to me), ingrown hairs (again, ignore every word) or dirty diapers (seriously, just run away). Write what makes your heart do a little skip dee do, and call it a day. And then go melt some chocolate.

Girl Versus Dough

Stephanie says: Tell stories. Write about what feels authentic to you. Maybe you made this muffin recipe because it reminded you of baking with your mom when you were knee-high to a grasshopper; maybe you made it because you found out your neighbor is sick and you wanted to bring over comfort in carbs; maybe you made it because you needed a little downtime in the kitchen, and this recipe provided that. The story doesn’t have to be epic or necessarily unique, but it has to be true. People want to be connected to you, to know more about who you are, why you decided to make muffins today and why those muffins are just oh-so-tasty to you.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 5.43.03 PM

Liz says: I don’t think that there’s one right answer to the question of what you should write about on your food blog. You really have to play to your own strengths. If writing is not your forte, let your beautiful images or delicious recipes do most of the talking.

But if writing is something that you enjoy, then by all means, make writing a central feature of your blog. Like the blogs that I enjoy reading, most of my posts include a story about what’s going on in my life or a notable event from my past, which is at least loosely related to the featured recipe. To be true to Carpé Season’s concept that life is seasonal, I will occasionally write about heavier, less-humorous topics, but for the most part, I try to keep my writing light and funny because I think that most people use food blogs as a quick source of entertainment as well as for recipe inspiration. Plus, I want to be everybody’s funniest friend.

If you are going to invest in your writing, my biggest recommendation is to let your personality come through. Some of my most responded-to posts have included major fails like times that I’ve totally stuck my foot in my mouth. People seem to respond to vulnerability, even if it’s cloaked in six layers of self-deprecating sarcasm.

When it comes to describing the recipe itself, I suggest keeping that portion somewhat brief and letting people read the recipe itself. I usually try to describe any interesting components of the recipe and highlight something that makes it stand out – a particular flavor or texture, or how easy it was to make. I try to keep it classy and avoid using the word amazeballs, but sometimes there’s just no getting around it.

Bottom line: Creating blog posts should be enjoyable, or you won’t stick with it. Figure out what your strengths are and what you want your blog to convey, and write – a lot or a little – along those lines. Find a writing style that helps you get in a rhythm and doesn’t stress you out.

How Sweet Eats

Jessica says: I personally think that bloggers should write about what comes naturally to them. And they should write about what they themselves would like to read. It may sound crazy, but I’m not interested in paragraphs upon paragraphs of the recipe itself. I’d rather read something relatable, maybe even something that has little to do with the recipe but can be tied in at the end. Finish up with a line or two on why the dish is fab… and boom. I’m happy.

Hey guys? Just one thing you should never do as a food blogger: write posts this long. Ohmygosh. If you are not drowning in the many words of this post, I SO SO SO welcome your thoughts on this topic.

Also welcome: thoughts on desserts. Mwah.

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Comments

  1. Wow! What a wonderful post! I will truly keep this post for many years to come! So much wonderful advice from one of the bloggers I look up to most, and have learned so much from! This was SUCH a great read, and I LOVE that you also got opinions from other great bloggers!!

    I feel that each person in the blogging world has their own contribution to what they can bring to the table…if that is the right phrase to use. I know I am able to provide my readers with an inside track to see what life is like for a elite runner. I try to share my stories, and what I do to be the best I can be. I feel like that is mostly what i should write about to stick with what is unique about me.

    I wish I had more time to spend on researching more for posts, as I believe the hard evidence you have to back up your posts makes them so much more reliable. I will be looking for a job soon, and I know I could use my blog as part of my application if I can make my posts more scholarly.

    Thanks so much for this post, I loved the advice, and I love your blog!

  2. I actually had this exact dilemma the other day, there was just nothing going on writing wise.

    It’s definitely important to be authentic to who you are, and over the years, I’ve found that showing vulnerability has been something that people have really connected to. That said, it can be pretty difficult to show that side of yourself. On a blog, it’s pretty easy to push all of that under the rug, especially if you’re, 19-20 years old like me and don’t know who (friends, professors, bosses etc.) are reading your blog, it’s an interesting position to be in. Recently, I wrote about how even though I’m almost done university, I feel more lost than ever and people seemed to really connect to that.

    I think the great thing about blogging is that you are always cultivating your writing style and there always room to improve and room to make mistakes.

  3. Great post with great tips! I, frequently, sit down to write a post with tons if ideas floating around in my head and once I get ready to type every thought evacuates itself from my brain. I swore it was early onset Alzheimer’s so I’m glad I’m not alone here.
    Love that you received thought from some of my other favorite bloggers.
    Thanks again for the super long post that I didn’t even realize was super long until you pointed it out.

  4. Beautifully written and very well said. We all have times when the words won’t come out. Thank you so much for this post. I will keep it and use it often.
    Sam

  5. Love love love this post!! You picked a great group to ask for advice – so inspiring.

  6. This a great post. I feel that a blog is my way of shining a bit of happiness into someone life. Whether I am sharing my problems, rantings or even worries; i hope that someone take a bit away from what I write. Also coming from someone who had problems with linguistics, it is so rewarding to have people like what you write on the blog too.

    Be yourself is my main goal. if people do not like it, so what? there is another hundred who do.

  7. This post has such truth, love it! I completely agree, sometimes I sit down to write and all I can think is ‘What the heck am I going to write about?!’.

  8. Yes! I love this post. It can be so hard to really find your own voice as a blogger, and I often find myself getting writers block when trying to fill in the blank post space around my photos. It’s good to hear I’m not the only one!

    Also… I totally clicked on the link to Joy the Baker’s bee story – and laughed out loud!

  9. LOVE this post, Lindsay! One time I actually couldn’t think of anything to write about so I wrote about not being able to think about anything to write about. But as I was writing, a few things came to me and it all worked out well!

    I’m one of those people who does my post the night before (and sometimes even the day of) it’s going to go live. Time isn’t always on my side but for some reason, the words usually come to me. :)

    Have a lovely day, Lindsay!

  10. This is good stuff! At times I feel confused as to what I should discuss. I honestly just start typing. If I have a song stuck in my head I will write about how I got this song stuck in my head and where it came from. Sometimes my blog posts have nothing to do with the actual food itself. I think the blog “Local Milk” has some good writing too.

  11. I heart this post so, so much!! I’ve spent a good portion of the beginning this year struggling on and off with feeling inspired (probably bc I get stuck in my own head so much). This definitely makes me think about writing from a different perspective. So helpful…thank you!!

  12. Hi Lindsey and Bjork,

    I guess I would have to say I am more of a food blog reader. I sometimes write about Appalachian cooking because it is ugly and plain and misunderstood, yet so delicious. I try to defend it and explain the simplicity and necessity. However, I read way more about cooking on food blogs than actually cooking.

    So why do I do that? I know the answer. Food bloggers are encouraging. I come and visit you because you are real and you are kind. Your marriage is real and I enjoy knowing that you both are using your giftings together to further something. Maybe cooking, but maybe something else.

    For my part, I don’t mind if there is s a recipe or not. To be honest, I have never used a single recipe of yours, yet I still visit. Please don’t be insulted, your food looks incredible and I have definitely gotten ideas from your recipes.

    My point? Write about anything. I will still come. I enjoy your writing and I enjoy your husband’s writing. You are encouraging. We know you probably bicker over the blog, but it is still a good work and a worthy one. Knowing you disagree over it sometimes makes it all the more authentic.

    My guess is sometimes people say mean things and maybe sometimes you feel bared and exposed to the whole world because we have seen your bathroom. But be encouraged. Most all of us think you are great. We would never dream of writing something mean and we can’t fathom that someone would try to log into your blog. Yikes.

    So tell us anything. Have a decorating your house blog post day if ya want. Just keep encouraging everyone to good work.

    You are changing the world.

    • Everything that Heather says here is SPOT ON!

      As a food blogger I read a lot of food blogs, spent countless hours on various food photo sites looking at food porn and I read a lot of blog about blogs. I also have a health blog and freelance blog that is my oldest site. I find writing for any of them to have challenging days.

      I’ve been blogging online since the late 90s, so sharing my words comes pretty natural. My struggle is with these same topics you mentioned – what to share and how much is too much?

      I think at the end of the day it all just becomes trial and error. What works for one website and their audience may not go over so well for another.

      What keeps me coming back is your endless amount of encouragement to your readers whether they are going to create your recipe or just visiting to get inspiration for their own website. You treat everyone the same. Kindness. Honest.

      The fact that you and Bjork give back, not just to your organizations, but to your readers as well. It’s what makes me come back. I just love your openness and willing to share. But most of all, its your ‘pay-it-forwards’ spirit that shines through.

  13. I struggle with this regularly. I love the recipe and want to share it, but you can really only say it’s AH-mazing so many times before people start to question your sanity.

    I have a hard time expressing stories because they don’t relate to the food and I almost always feel like they have to. Its something that I am conscientiously working on. This post was great. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  14. I found your blog while you were in the Philippines and I must say its why I stuck around. I haven’t actually made one of your recipes yet, but I do pin plenty of them! I love when bloggers incorporate a story. (and I promise to make a recipe of yours soon!)

    • Also…are you familiar with the Healthy Living Summit? It will be in Madison this fall and might be a good match for you if you’re interested!

  15. HI! I am not a food blogger but these tips seem to apply across the board. Thanks for sharing

  16. I loved this! I often struggle coming up with things to write about. I write at nap time and sometimes I’m just too zapped for my brain to work. When I’m stuck I go to writing about the recipe, giving tips on how to make it and times to serve it. That at least gets things going and hopefully sparks something more creative!

  17. How much do I like this post? A LOT!! Thank you, Lindsay!! So many fabulous tips, but the advice I was happiest to read was this, which I think you said several times if I remember correctly: ‘BE YOURSELF!’ Who can argue with that? :-)

  18. Super inspirational! Thanks so much. :)

  19. Great post, Lindsay! Awesome advice. Thanks for sharing. :)

  20. Lindsay, thanks so much for sharing this post. I often have writers block and no matter how much PB I eat by the spoonful or breaks that I take – I still can’t come up with inspiration to find my words. I loved reading what other talented bloggers had to say and what they enjoy about reading food blogs. Thank you so much for sharing! Gives me inspiration for when I feel lost.

  21. Thanks so much for this post. it is really useful and will spark my juices during those moments when I get a little bit stuck on what to write about.

  22. Lindsay, I love this post and will be going back to it many times. I often struggle with this and I wonder if people really want to know the details of my life but in reality, that’s what I enjoy when I read other blogs. Very inspirational, thank you for sharing.

  23. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a total brain fart some days. I enjoy the writing aspect of blogging most of the time, but lately that’s been the slowest and most unnatural part of the process for me. I think these things go in seasons. Sometimes my photography feels effortless, some days it’s like pulling teeth. I would be interested to hear from more bloggers about how they feel about writing about more serious topics on their food blog. I’d love to get more into food politics, food justice, and food’s relationship to faith and community. But I think since my voice tends to be more on the funny/lighthearted side I find it hard to transition into these heavier topics. Thoughts?

    • No way! I think people with that funny, lighthearted bend have a huge advantage in writing about heavier stuff. You can bring it up, you’ll have to just be true to yourself and push down the urge to be funny in every sentence to really get your point across, but lacing those posts with humor is so great for people to read because it makes the posts serious and thought provoking, but not overwhelmingly heavy. Does that make sense? Check out Jen Hatmaker’s blog – she writes about life, faith, adoption, etc, all serious things and with a deep passion for them, but almost always with her lighthearted writing personality coming through.

  24. This is such a timely post for me; thank you for your insight. You and Bjork inspired us, and we started our blog about a month ago. We’ve had amazing results already, thanks to your advice on photography (and Tasty Food Photography), and even had some photos accepted to FoodGawker, Tastespotting, etc.

    But, along the way, I think we kind of lost our way. Our original idea was to write about how we raise our boys to be adventurous eaters, but recently we’ve been talking more about the recipes than the adventure. My partner is getting overwhelmed with posting recipes and taking photographs to the point that she’s considering stopping, and I’ve found I’m looking more at view counts than content. When I think about our content, it’s really more about talking about the recipes themselves. That may be helpful to beginning cooks, but not really interesting to a lot of people. I was thinking this morning about how we can get back to our mission, so to speak, and this has helped me get some new direction.

  25. WOW! Did you read my mind? I love, love, love this post.
    Thank you {best friend in my mind} for helping me get out of my rut! You’re the best!

  26. This is a great post. Since I haven’t even been blogging for a year, I’ve struggled with this a good bit. I want to consistently put out great content, but for me, posting every day just seems to be a little unrealistic. I don’t think I can fully develop whatever it is that I want to say and make each post as polished as I want it to be. I am really in awe of some of the bloggers that post almost every day, with a new recipe.

  27. Lindsay, I truly enjoy following your blog for so many reasons and this post is one of them. You are so honest! I have always appreciated that you are super enthused about whatever recipe you’re describing and appreciate knowing that it doesn’t always just “flow.” You are a terrific writer and have developed your very own unique style. You (and your wonderful hubby) are also excellent teachers and it’s nice to read any blog (this post is an example) that humbly instructs as well as entertains. The stories and glimpses into your life really do add a lot to your posts (I especially loved your posts from the Philippines!). Loving photography like I do, I am so impressed by your skills as a photographer, too. You’ve definitely got food photography down, but your portrait photos are outstanding, too. I don’t know how you manage to accomplish so much, but I just want you to know that I am very proud of you.

  28. Thank you so much for this post! It’s a great inspiration, especially for those of us (me!) new to the food blogging world who has no clue what she’s doing! Such great advice; thank you!

  29. This was probably my favorite Pinch of Yum post! So happy I’m not the only one that sits in front of the computer with photos and a completed recipe while hearing crickets in my head. And usually what gets the creative juices flowing is, I always ask myself “What is the truth?”
    I would love to see more posts on this topic. Hearing what the other bloggers had to say was helpful, too, and introduced me to some new blogs! So happy to find Bev Cooks – funny stuff!

  30. “It’s like I sit down, get the recipe in there, have the pictures in place. Now, uh, what do I have to say? Yum. The End.” <– Story of my LIFE. Sometimes there really is no way to get the deliciousness of a recipe across. Apple needs to start working on a way to get smell and taste across a computer screen. That would solve so many of my problems.

    But thanks so much for this post, Lindsay. I find the blogs that I enjoy reading the most are the ones where the blogger writes with their true voice and doesn't try to be someone or something that they're not. I generally don't even care if the post has nothing to do with the recipe itself as long as it's a pleasure to read, which yours always are :)

  31. my writing style has changed over the years and with a lot of practice and after getting comfortable, I feel ok sharing my personal life with the readers. Its always nice to have a mix of personal voice along with recipes :)

  32. I think you have a great mix of content. Personally, when I follow a food blogger, I (obviously) first come for the food, but I also like learning more about them as a person, hearing a bit about their life, and I have ZERO complaints when the odd post ventures into lifestyle blogging territory. I think it’s good to have a focus and to generally stick with it, but I also believe that readers are multi-dimensional and odds are, they are somewhat interested in life beyond just the food.

    As you said, speaking naturally is the real key. I don’t like pretense or falsehood – I like it when I feel like I’m hearing the authentic voice of a real person. And those are reasons I really love your blog. :)

  33. I definitely find myself stuck with a blank screen lately because to be honest, trying to find a job post-grad school is pretty uneventful as far as stories to share. Thanks for the tips!

  34. Funny you posted this, because I was just thinking about what to write for recipe posts! I came to the conclusion that it’s best to write whatever comes to your mind- that’s the most natural and the most like you! I am absolutely in love with your blog, especially your writing. Thanks for the help, Lindsay! :)

  35. Love. This. Post.

    Just started a food blog recently and writing the post can definitely be the hardest. My problem tends to be that I am lit’rally ALL over the place and I just need to hone the h in on one (or two or three…) topics and just write!

    Good to see that seasoned bloggers like you have the same problem sometimes :)

  36. Great post, Lindsay. I definitely try to always include stories with my recipes, and I go for a mix of serious and funny. I like reading blog posts that give me a peek into the blogger’s life, too.

  37. Lindsay, you are a rock star!!!!!! Like so many others, this is definitely something I struggle with ALLTHETIME. You do it so well, I thought you must have just been born with the touch ;) These words of wisdom are priceless. Thank you!!

  38. I so appreciate this post! Lately, it seems like it’s been a bit of a struggle for me to come up with new and clever things to say about my recipes…or food in general…so I really love your ideas.

    When I wrote a food column for a local newspaper, I always found that personal stories got people. But they had to connect to the food, of course — and the food had to sound spectacular. That isn’t really groundbreaking, I know, but it’s my two cents :)

  39. I love this post so much, and those words of wisdom are gold!! Thanks for taking the time to write this!

  40. I have always loved your blog for the recipes, content and especially the photos! As a rookie, these are excellent tips. After diving right in, I am feeling more confident with telling stories. It’s great to hear perspective on this from other successful women bloggers. Thanks for putting this post together!

  41. I really like this post Lindsay! Thank you!! Writing is not my strong forte and sometimes I just don’t share a recipe because I can’t think if what to say. And sometimes I go back to old posts and ask myself what was I thinking? Why would anyone want to read that? Thank you for these inspiring tips!! They will definitely come in handy :)

  42. It’s funny because when I started my food blog I didn’t even consider that fact that I would have to come up with engaging and interesting content. I figured I would be taking photos and posting them along side the recipe. My first post consisted of a 3 sentence paragraph and my sister told me it was ok, but eventually I would probably start writing longer posts. I’ve never been great at writing and started to get a little nervous about what I had gotten myself into! But, sure enough, only 4 short months later, I’ve come to really enjoy the writing part. I definitely have my days where I can’t think of a single interesting thing to write, but I always make myself sit down and write something, anything, and although I usually end up deleting most it later, I almost always end up with one good point or fun story that I’m able to expand into a full post, that hopefully my readers find interesting! It is relieving knowing that we are all in the same boat and when I read your posts they sound so natural that I would never believe you struggled to come up with them! I’ll definitely be keeping this post to look back over, thanks for all you do to help other food bloggers out! :)

  43. This was a great post! It really hit home with how I have been feeling lately. I go in good runs, I have a ton to put out there and I do, then the next minute, I feel like I spend 2 hours staring at my blank screen. Just found your blog, and totally looking forward to coming back :)

  44. Thanks for giving me food for thought. I struggle BAD with writing. I hate it. But I liked the idea of letting pictures do the talking when you have nothing to say.

  45. My blog is 3 plus years old which makes me like a ‘great aunt of bloggers’ :) It took me quite awhile to figure out that nothing will sound right if I am not me! Even if I’m a bit ‘off color’ at times, and I am.
    I usually try to talk about why I am posting this recipe is the first place – we all have tons of recipes on the back burner that we don’t use…how come this one made the cut? (okay, sometimes it’ s because the pic’s came out good :) But there is a story behind every recipe!
    Great post Lindsay – you have a great art of saying what we are all thinking and it’s much appreciated!
    Kathi

  46. For me this is a very timely post. I have been blogging just on a year and feel only recently that I am settling into my voice. I have information and knowledge I want to share but have struggled with trying to get it across, until I realised I was possibly trying too hard. One of the best pieces of advice I have read is to act as if you are in a conversation with your readers, and it is a conversation albeit a one sided one. Since taking this perspective I find the writing is easier but we all have those days when the words just will not come. Thanks for a great post. It is always nice to know you are not alone.

  47. Lindsay, this is something I struggled with for years as a blogger. I could never write well enough to please my English teachers, so I thought I couldn’t write. Period. It took me over 2.5 years to finally overcome that, and somewhere around last summer, I finally found my voice. Around the same time, I realized how much I loved to tell the stories that always floated around in my head but somehow never found their way out through my mouth. Typing them was much easier, and when paired with a few tips and tidbits about the recipes I photographed, everything just worked. So happy for you that you’re comfortable with your writing, your voice, and your blogging style!!

  48. This post could not have come at a better time. I was just struggling with some writer’s block, and these tips really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing!
    -Carrie
    http://dietdeepdish.com

  49. Hey everyone! Man it’s nice to read everyone else’s comments and realize I’m not alone. Sometimes it’s so easy to just whip up a bunch of recipes for the sake of quantity over quality. The food blogs that stand out (Like PunchOfYum for example :)) really take the time and make every blog post perfect in their own style. That’s what it takes! Great tips Lindsay and Bjork,

  50. This post came at a really great time for me. I’m struggling to establish my voice and figure out how to balance writing about food, since ultimately, I am a food blogger, and our travels in South Africa.

    I think you and the other bloggers are right- authenticity is ultimately what’s key. I did write a whole post about what a pain in the but it was to get here, and it was one of my most popular.

    I think this can be harder as a blogger who is trying to establish a following, like myself. If I’m authentic and the post gets no traction, is that a reflection of my story/writing/myself? Since most of these hits are coming from Foodgawker/Pinterest, are people here ultimately just to grab the recipe? Should I make the writing short for their sake?

    Thank you for the encouragement :)

    • Good things to think about Chelsea. I hardly wrote anything when I was first starting. Just a paragraph or two, and now I feel like my posts are sometimes excessively long. But at the beginning, you are building your audience and you are also building up the recipes on your blog, and I think that’s of foremost importance during that time. Nobody really knows you at that point in your blog, so what does it mean to them if you share about your life? It’s hard. I feel like the writing voice is something that develops naturally over time and you’ll naturally want to write more as your readers start to know you more (and as they want you to write more, too). :) Bottom line – be real, be engaging, and let people know who you are without losing sight of the food if you want to keep it about food! :)

  51. You are a my hero. This is seriously such a great post, and so incredibly helpful for bloggers who are are still middle-aged (if you’re a grandma after 4 years, I guess I’m hitting my mid-life crisis at 2 years…!). But, seriously, I’ve been trying to strike the balance between stories and recipes and funny versus serious and everything versus everything else for awhile now, and my blog is growing, but not as fast as I would like. I know photos are what attracts people (and I’m getting better!), but I think the words are what keeps people around. Just as I’m reaching the point of “what else can I share?” and “how many different way can I say yum?” this post gives me a way forward. :)

    • And, OMG, I just spotted like 3 typos in my comment which is my pet peeve and also, I think, important to remember when writing your posts…. I was just so overly-excited (think puppy doing a pee dance) about this post that my words shot out of my fingertips without a second look. Blog Mistake #1!

      • I almost included a little note about editing in this post but then I realized that I never do it, so I better not be talking about it. ;)

  52. I love this post! You included a bunch of my fav bloggers in this list! Thank you for making me feel better about the way I write posts. Sometimes I tend to beat myself up because I’m not a super poetic writer, but that’s okay. I don’t have to be. I write my posts the way I talk to my friends, and I think people respond better to that. Great post :)

  53. I LOVE that “authenticity” underlined over and over again in this post! If we are just trying to follow the trend and write about “what is in” at the moment then there is nothing that sets us apart from each other. I am in my second year of blogging and just finally starting to feel the confidence to have my own voice, tell the stories that are significant to me and share the food that inspires me. Thank you for emphasising that there is no formula that works for everybody!

    • Good for you Julia! Developing your writing voice takes time – I feel like just in the last year I’ve become more comfortable with it… that’s after 3 years of practice!

  54. Thank you so much for sharing this Lindsay!

    I’m a new food blogger and get writers block wayyy to often. These are great tips from those that have mastered the art are are sure to help newbies like myself!

    Thanks for the constant inspiration!

  55. Love love love this post…and the joke about Nutella (which I’m totally a sucker for too!).
    You always do such an amazing job with all your posts, I sit there and am just drawn in, and you’re such a great writer and photographer and an inspiration. THANK YOU!

  56. Perfect example of how you gotta talk about what you’re thinkin about! And most likely others are thinking the EXACT same thing….like me…ha! Thanks for sharing…makes me feel more human on my blah days…which seem to be coming more often than not these days…and I’ve only been doing this for 8 months:)

  57. I totally agree, write what you know and be true to yourself…. sounds easy… until like you said. you have one of those moments, where you can’t think of a thing to write. It really makes me feel like I’m part of the food blogging community when someone writes a post like this. I totally relate. Thanks

  58. THANK YOU for posting this. I get mean emails about how they don’t care about the chit-chat and don’t care about my life and just want the recipe. Well geez, there is a REAL PERSON behind my dang blog!! To me, my blog serves as an open online diary and it’s where I store a bunch of my fondest memories (surrounded by food, of course) and ugh, it just irritates me when people say stuff like how “they don’t care.” It hurts! I mean, that’s fine and all, just scroll down to the recipe but don’t tell me how you don’t care and dictate what I should write instead. I’m thankful for all my readers and a large % LOVE the glimpses of real life, etc. so obviously I’m going to ignore the haters! It’s hard but I know you can’t please everyone and you gotta chug along and do what you love and haters gonna hate..buttttt it’s always something that’s going to bother me every now and then when I get a mean email :) can’t help it!

    Anyway – thank you for posting this! xo

    • How frustrating. Like, people, as if it would be really hard to just scroll down two inches for the recipe… come on now. So glad that this post resonated with you – my favorite posts from other bloggers are always personal posts! :) Keep em coming!

      • @ Lindsay, I just recently discovered your blog and have bookmarked a few of your recipes that I’d like to try. I like the fact that you allow your blog readers to see how much money you are making from blogging because that to me, makes you a real person who is honest.

        @ Julie, I believe that people should be respectful when voicing their opinions and I don’t think that it’s very nice that some readers are sending you rude emails telling you that they don’t care about your stories. That is beyond hurtful. With that being said, I have several food blogs that I like to visit for new recipes and inspiration, but I don’t like to have to sift through tons of pictures or read a lot of words just to get to the recipe. Yes, I could and do scroll down just to get to the recipe most of the time, but I find it rather unnecessary that a lot of food bloggers post so many pictures of the same recipe. I understand that people like to read about the recipes being posted, but at times I find it to be too much. Yes, as a food blogger, the person has the right to write about whatever they choose, and they can post how many pictures they feel is necessary, but it can be too much at times. I don’t believe that the people who are sending you nasty emails are “haters”, they simply want to get the recipe. I do believe that they should voice their opinions in a more respectful way.

  59. I am still a baby in blogging or maybe toddler ;) Only my second year. I struggle with story telling on blogging because I felt like people are still getting to know me. Plus, English is my second language, it makes it harder to express my self. My mind is still wired in Ukrainian language, lol… I really appreciate this post, thank you!

  60. Kinda feel like I snuck onto the blog-writing honor roll list up there. You put me among some of my heroes. Sheepish smile and a hearty thanks.
    Also. That bee story from Joy the Baker is hands-down one of my favorite ever blog posts. I laughed so hard the first time I read that.

  61. Loved this post…then I loved reading through the comments. It’s helful to know that most everyone struggles with this and to keep on pushing through developing- I know I still feel like I haven’t found my ‘voice’ on the blog. I’ve also discovered people are gracious and kind and no one has screamed at a post that was most definitely sub-par.
    Thank you for keeping it real- all the way to the Nutella in bed.

  62. This post has been so helpful!!

  63. As one of your many,many regular readers and not a blogger, i can report that it becomes obvious when you channel someone else’s style. When you write from your heart (Phillipino posts for example) you shine through and I enjoy those posts the most. When you pinch a style it’s like you are lost to me, as your reader, and then I don’t value your commentary as much. I’m happy to read less, and enjoy it more, than read more and have to wade through the ‘noise’.

    In a nutshell when you are in the right space to let your thoughts and creativity shine I love your blog. When it feels forced to you, sadly it also feels forced to me.

    And now, I’m sure many will hate me for my honesty. Apologies if you think I’m out of order.

  64. I have been in this same (no words to write about) kinda days…many, many times. It comforts me to know that I am not alone on this.
    Thank you Lindsay and the team of bloggers that also shared their thoughts here for the refreshing, and encouraging words. I love posts that include a personal story. I think of the bloggers I follow as friends, even if we haven’t met, reading their stories and seeing the pictures they share not only about food, but about life too makes them more real to me.
    You inspire me and many others and I want to thank you for talking about topics like this one, topics about life, struggles, fear, happiness, sadness, joy and etc. Thank you and keep them coming.

  65. This post has been so awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  66. I found it interesting that all the bloggers had the same basic advice — be true to yourself and create your own voice, and be sure to include stories.

    That is basically what I have found to be true for my own travel/photography blog, which is also coming upon 4 years now. Your article and the advice you received is not limited to food blogs, but pretty much fits for most blog topics.

  67. Thanks for writing this. I find it incredibly helpful and agree as a blogger only 3 months in!

  68. Hi Lindsay!
    Thank you for this post (which doesn’t seem too long to me); reading about your writing process, about your tips and some related posts (on your blog or others’) was really interesting. I think asking the same question to fellow food bloggers to complement your answer is a very good approach… Nice to see all of you converge on the importance of being true/authentic :)
    Have a great weekend!
    –Aujourd’hui, j’ai testé.

  69. Thanks Lindsay and Bjork! I have been following your blog for quite some time now and I’m always so impressed. I also love that you are so open to sharing these valuable tips with your viewers. I am also a teacher and at times I’m worn out by the end of the week, but I find your consistently with the blog helps to keep me motivated. Keep up the fabulous work. Polly

  70. Niiiice! Very cool and timely post, and I love that you have answers from different food bloggers. I love Howsweeteats and Jessica’s writing! It’s so funny and easy on the eyes. :D

  71. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Lindsay! Sometimes, I think it’s just me that struggles to find things to say! Sooooo glad I’m not alone! :)

  72. I’m really glad I ran across this on Pinterest this is a great article and now I will start following your blog thanks

  73. Glenda McLean says:

    I think you nailed all of the components. As a reader, I like to be inspired to cook something you have, informed by learning something you know or did or saw, and entertained, because after all, what else is there? The one thing I will say turns and makes me run immediately is too much humor. Like enough already with the cutesy 2014 vernacular! Sure, some is fun but way too many use way too much and I find it off putting. If you are naturally funny it’ll come through. The rest of you are trying to be something you are not and believe the lack of authenticity is evident. So many bloggers gave advice to be who you are and they also happen to be some of the others I follow. Just sayin.

    • Thanks for the comment Glenda! I think most food bloggers try to be engaging by sharing some humor, but it’s surprisingly harder than it seems to communicate your sense of humor in writing. It’s a skill that takes time to develop! But it’s better to spend time developing a light and funny vibe than taking yourself too seriously, in my opinion. :) Appreciate hearing from you!

  74. Good post. I have just started food blogging seriously & appreciate the different perspectives. I personally like a little writing but mostly recipe & judging from the advice given that is ok & I will continue on. Thanks!

  75. Thanks for sharing! For a food blogging newb, this provides much needed inspiration and insight!

  76. I also have tips for those who want to write on blogs: learn how to, on the most basic way. Talking like writing is an easy thing, when for most people it just isn’t.

    I always knew how to write, since I was a little girl (that’s way I’m a journalist/history researcher). And there are only TWO THINGS that make you a good writer: practice and loads, loads and loads of reading (not blogs and magazines, but real literature). That way you’ll identify with some authors writing and, instinctively, try to imitate his/her style.

    Good post, though. Always good to overthink the theme :)

  77. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this! As a complete newbie to the food blogging world I really struggle with the “what to write about” part at times. And I’m so glad to read here that it’s ok to just do what feels right to me! Another things I’ve done for inspiration is reading books by somewhat famous food writers, it can be really helpful too!

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