People, this blog turns two today!
A year ago, due to a tight schedule, I was late to mark this big day down on here, for this tiny space I’d carved for myself two years ago in the boundless, expanding cyber world.
When I started this blog, I was a jobless fresh grad in the States. I had a mass communication degree in one hand and, in the other, a few years of training in journalism and copywriting. I was actively seeking job, but I was also not quite sure what to do with myself yet. (Remember the job market back then was gloomier, even?)
What I now do know of, though, is that my college years in the States had been formative. I was rediscovered in the kitchen; I was rewritten through language and words. Since then, food and writing have been taking center stage in my life. I knew that whatever I pursue, it’s got to do with food and words.
Unquestionably food blogging was a great answer to that. I’d wanted to write on a blog for the longest but was also intimidated by such a seemingly daunting commitment. That was why, when I was in college, I’d chosen not to blog because I was already writing for a student-run newspaper, my senior thesis, and other academic papers. Plus, I was held back by the language barrier that seemed to bother me. I’m not a native English speaker to begin with.
Then, the instant I discovered Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette and read her words, I was, for some inexplicable reason, startled. As strange as it may sound, I felt like I got punched on the face — and the blow was AMAZING!
My best advice is to write. Write honestly and thoughtfully about what moves you. Start a blog, keep a journal — whatever works for you. Just keep writing, and have fun with it. Set high standards for yourself, and work hard to meet them. Try to always write better, smarter, tighter. Read good writing and try to figure out what makes it work. Read up on book proposals and literary agencies, research other books and writers in your field, work hard, and stick your neck out. Definitely stick your neck out. And keep your fingers crossed.
Her words were like a mysterious force that — bam! — drove me to Blogger to create this blog on May 24, 2009, in that small efficiency apartment I once lived in. And the next day I’d written on here my first piece of food writing on a condensed milk pound cake. (I just reread it. My cheeks feel hot.)
Looking back into the archives on this blog, I’m astounded by how much I’ve evolved, be it in my baking and cooking, palate, writing, or thinking. I realized I’m not as pastries-savvy as I’d thought, that I don’t have the patience for details, and that I tend to stray from one recipe to another. Though I may be some homely snob who’s all for good home cooking, l actually enjoy learning about different cultures through, especially, food. I am, at heart, a writer who loves to cook and bake and photograph her food. (My cheeks still feel hot. Dammit.)
I seriously can’t believe this blog has made it to today, because over the year, I’d undergone bouts of meltdown — due to career, relationships, and uncertainty about my future — and was on the verge of giving up on writing this blog. Along the way, the devil’s advocate came knocking on my door.
Who am I writing for?
Do my words even get read?
Why am I writing on here then?
Okay. I have this
I’d tried to get myself back up every time I tumbled. I felt burned out and lost, and yet I still found myself sitting in front of the computer and write, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. Every time, I had barely an idea of what to write about, but I needed to write. I must write — like what breathing and drinking water are to you, me, and every other living thing.
You see, writing isn’t something that occurs in me naturally. Over the years, with practice as well as pointers and encouragement from my professors and fellow writers, I mustered up courage and forged ahead with writing. (Not that my writing and English are flawless now.) Every time I finish writing and self-editing, I’d exult with a sense of accomplishment. Had I not gratified myself through writing, especially in a long time, uneasiness would haunt me. Writing is so part of me, and this blog helps hold me accountable to writing regularly, even after work hours.
In those aimless days, even with only the faintest idea of what my future holds, I knew I had to be a writer (though I’d also tinkered with the idea of becoming a chef). In fact, the first jobs I applied for were, mostly, writer positions: magazine writer, copywriter, corporate writer, technical writer, and journalist. But now, while in the midst of greater self discovery, I believe I’m more of a food writer, and I perform best in a corporate-stress-free, no-interruption environment.
So, this blog has become an outlet for me to write with the most freedom and latitude and with the least interruption. This blog is where I can find my true self outside of the pretentious corporate world and the dehumanizing rat race of the brand-conscious society I’m living in.
This blog has also led me to you, my reader — known or silent. I’ve got to admit I like the satisfaction flowing from reading the emails and comments you’ve left on this blog. But sometimes I hear from you and other times do not, so my heart is teetering between certainty and uncertainty. It’s taking me an ocean of faith to believe that someone out there is reading my words.
Still, as I tried to stand up from every fall, the heartfelt and encouraging words from you came gushing toward me like water from a hydrant. Every word counts. They are comforting and so powerful that you, too, have pulled me back from faltering faith over and over.
Today begins my third year of blogging — another year of untold stories from my romancing with food and words. I really, really want to share with you a truckload of good and tested recipes from my kitchen, including the two perfectly chewy-crisp chocolate chip cookies that will make you swoon and ooooooooh. I don’t know how long this blog is going to last, though. The road hasn’t been easy, but I’m trying.
Oh, I think I can hear you. Can you hear me, too?