I’m participating in wordpress’s Writing 101, a self driven course with support and guidance from editors at thedailypost and other bloggers out there. I hope this project will help me develop a habit of blogging regularly. Each morning we are provided with a prompt and a twist and we can use these to guide our post that day. Before starting today’s exercise I was very excited to see what the prompt and twist would be. But when the exercise at hand was to free-write for twenty minutes, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, it burst my bubble of what that stimulating prompt or twist would be; secondly, I have always had trouble writing or solving open-ended problems. I like to have a goal that I need to work towards. That’s much easier than not knowing what the goal is. But I decided to take up the challenge anyway since I didn’t want to give up so soon. As I started to write, I realized that this is a really useful exercise. I used my free writing time to explore why I want to blog and it has been useful to recall some key drivers for me to blog. Doing this at the beginning of this project has helped me strengthen the possibility to complete this blogging marathon.
If you do read this post and can relate to what I’ve written here or would like to share some of your experiences with me, I’ll be happy to read your comments and respond to them.
Here are my twenty minutes:
Why do I want to blog? There are thousands of blogs out there, all blogging about food, about Indian food too and a couple hundred about south Indian food. Then what is my motivation to blog? Will I be able to continue blogging if my inspiration and stimulus is from the outside alone? i.e. to receive more readers on my blog, or to make my blog a popular reference for south Indian cooking? My guess is that I would lose my enthusiasm to write very soon. That’s what has happened in the past. I need to reflect on my reasons to grow this blog. Not only does it give me a great tool to document all the recipes that I grew up eating, it will also help my sister, my cousins and many in my family who would like to learn some recipes that our family cooked while we were children. In addition to this, and more importantly, blogging provides me a great way to exercise discipline. Discipline to follow through something that I start, so as to make a habit out of it. Nothing great has every come out where the characteristics of discipline and constancy are missing. Having this at the back of my mind broadens the objective of my blog – from being a place to document and share recipes to something that is valuable to me since it helps me to cultivate the quality of discipline and perseverance. It also gives me a channel to use my creativity, both in the way I write and present the dishes that I make.
For any blog to sustain itself, there should be a steady source of inspiration. In my case, considering that is a food blog, this is the food that I cook for my family. So I hope that this blog also encourages me and pushes me to constantly cook healthy wholesome meals for my family. One thing I need to be careful of is my temptation to cook a lot of treats for myself, just so that I can blog about it. I want to develop this blog organically, using the dishes that I make on any odd day in my kitchen, rather than for it to be an outlet for restaurant–style special cooking. Not that there is anything wrong with restaurant food, which I really enjoy when cooked well. But I need to save such recipes for occasions that warrant such indulgence. I recently read a book by Michael Pollan about some rules for food. One rule that especially touched me was to save treats for special occasions. This simple yet profound axiom makes so much sense in my reality where it’s easy to make a habit out of eating outside. It’s easier to eat a dessert just because I feel like it, even though I haven’t really earned it. This makes me want to go back in time and embrace a simpler period in my life where treats and sweets were saved for special occasions such as birthdays or festivals; when my mother and other women of the household would cook up some delicious sweet treats. After reflecting on the consequences of eating out and eating out too often. I’m trying to practice a similar habit at home where I don’t make extravagant recipes requiring lots of special ingredients, deep frying etc. on just any regular day. I want to save these recipes for special days where I can plan ahead and wait to make them. I think that makes me appreciate the dish much more and value the end product. I think I digressed a little with this last point. But I needed to clarify this to myself, in order to have a strong reasoning to guide me as I progress through my posts.
If I had to summarize my objectives to blog and to blog regularly, it would be the following:
- In order to document precious recipes from my family, both from my mother’s and grandmother’s generation (whenever I can)
- In order to cultivate discipline through regular blogging
- In order to hone my skills as a cook and get better at making simple home-style recipes