The day called for a strong cup of coffee with a little something extra.
I should have been cooking the recipe for stufffed mushrooms that I had bought all of the ingredients for and had now been sitting in the refrigerator for the past week and a half. I should have been sifting through my props, setting up my backgrounds and taking photos of that well-intended-but-now-imaginary recipe. I should have been creating my next post. And the other four I had planned to tackle over my Christmas vacation.
But I couldn’t.
It was like I was frozen—in a completely-opposite, turned-around, frenetic and scattered sort of way. That way when you know you have so many different agendas on your to-do list that you just. can’t. focus.
So what did I do? Oh, I decided that I should de-clutter the closeted cupboards in my laundry room/office. FOR TWO DAYS. Um, why? No, not because anyone else but me sees inside them nor was I looking for something I couldn’t find.
Or was I?
After an insanely intense 9-month period that included working at a full-time job, teaching as an adjunct professor one night a week, creating another start-up business, working on freelance gigs (including my first paid photo shoot), launching the blog, launching the magazine and still trying to be a semi-present mom, wife, daughter and friend, I now realize I was just plain burnt. Burnt out. Rubber on the road. Done.
I thought I could do it all. Afterall, I always had.
I’m a multi-tasker who tends to put a lot of pressure on myself to make things work better for myself and for others. No matter how hard I try, I can’t just sit and watch TV without doing some other task like folding laundry or skimming magazines for design and foodie inspiration. When I brush my teeth in the morning, I scurry through the house putting odds and ends away—and drive my husband nuts in the process. When someone stops by for a quick hello or a even a full-blown dinner, instead of being present and connecting with them, my brain is wandering to the recipes my readers might like, the media kit I need to put together, and the blogs I’m not commenting on.
I’m hoping I’m not alone—minus the roaming toothbrush.
Why else would a person get the notion to start a blog about their personal passion, agonize over content they don’t know if anyone will ever bother to read and photos that may never be seen. Yet bloggers still have the passion and tasking talents to coach an unknown reader on how to lead a more fulfilled life by creating passionate posts that include tips on everything from save-your-life-gluten-free-vegan recipes to DIY-how-to-bedazzle-your-bedroom-dresser tips. And for that you have to have drive, ambition and lists. Lots of lists.
Organizing those already organized cupboards was my escape from my to-do list and my multi-tasking. Filtering through dog-eared books to be donated and aged art supplies in need of tossing helped me leave my ever rotating lists in my head and focus on something I didn’t have to focus on.
And because of that I think I found what I was looking for…
The realization that the only way to connect with my readers is to connect with myself and let the lists in my head go.
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and with that comes high expectations. By nobody but me, myself and I. And sometimes those levels of expectations leak to those around me, so that I expect the same of others as I do myself. But that’s not fair. Not everyone is compelled to have 948 different projects going on at one time, nor does everyone’s brain work that way. Having a long to-do list doesn’t mean you’re more efficient or better, it means you’re distracting yourself from your tasks by spending more time organizing and less time doing.
So like the books I cleared from my cupboards, in 2012 I’m going to let some things go so I can clearly see what I want to focus on and spend more time doing.
My first laser-pointed focus of 2012 is my family.
This year its going to be all about striving for more, more and more time, quality time, with my daughter who every day sends tingling shivers from the top of my head to the tips of my toes with her absolute happiness, humor and the sweetest love I’ve ever experienced. A love as true as that of my man—who I’m so grateful to for all he does for our little nucleus.
They’ll both still see me swinging my camera in their faces before they can take a bite, or sitting at my computer, scheming new foodie projects and posts. But when I’m with them, I’ll BE with them, minus the Twitter, the comments and the to-do list. I’ll be present and accounted for.
Next in line with clear-eyed, bushy-tailed focus is FoodieCrush.
A friend recently asked me, “As you take the end of the year to reflect, what are your “visions of sugarplums for FoodieCrush?'” I doubt she realized the foodie entendré of mentioning ‘sugarplums’ but I’m taking it as a sign that good things are in store for FoodieCrush.
When I launched FoodieCrush, my mission was to feature food bloggers, their recipes and photography. I’m proud to say I think I stayed true to that vision and am so thankful for the support of my readers and commenters. The food blogging community is such a talented group of individuals that I’m honored to highlight them in any way I can.
2012 for FoodieCrush will be all about the bloggers, starting with this year’s first food blogger interview (and a giveaway, yip!) posting on Monday. I’m excitedly touring new-to-me food blogs, and of course some true-blue favorites as I plot the editorial lineup for the next issue, one that will once again be available for free online and new for 2012 will be available for printed copies by a third party on-demand printer. And as always, I’d love to hear about your favorite food bloggers and who you’d like to see in the magazine too.
I’ve had several people ask, “You created this magazine, but why no ads?” Well, I had originally intended there to be an advertising revenue stream—similar to how traditional magazines are built to survive—to help fund the editorial and the amazingly talented contributors. But there’s only so many things a gal can do in a day, so, I had to let that model go.
Truthfully, I’m far more pleased to have created an organic, content-rich product that had no revenue or income than be polarized and compromised by the fact the debut issue was not going to be my silver bullet. That was never the purpose. The purpose was the passion. That said, in upcoming issues, you’ll be seeing new partners that I’m thrilled to be connecting with and I think you will be too.
And finally I’ll be introducing a new arm of FoodieCrush Publishing and some amazingly fun projects, one of which will be debuting in March! I cannot wait to tell you more about it—soon. It’s going to be a seriously sweet sugarplumcookie so stay tuned.
Huge thanks and bear hugs to all of you for your support through 2011, I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for food bloggers and their readers. And I’m so proud to be a part of it. Here’s to 2012, shorter to-do lists and being present and connecting with others.
I’d love to hear what you’d like to see more of in FoodieCrush or tips on overcoming your challenges of blogging. Please comment below with insight, links and the like or e-mail me directly at heidi @ foodiecrush dot com.
And now, cheers to letting it go with a little something to make your weekend a little smoother.
Happy 2012. XOXO
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Homemade Irish Cream
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 6-9 ounces of Canadian Whiskey to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 2 minutes.
Refrigerate for 6 hours.
Serve on ice or with coffee for a tasty, boozey, chocolate treat.