12 Reasons Why it Sucks to be a Food Blogger
1. Cupcake Mamas
Wherever you look these days, people are pushing their recipes under your noses (and yes, guilty as charged). However, the majority seem to be those cutesy mom types, with immaculate hair and cupcakes frosted within an inch of their lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I like salivating over a towering cupcake as much as the next person, but the blog posts that accompany the pretty little cakes are usually as sickly as the heart-attack inducing frosting. I hate to break it to you, Mrs Perfect Cupcake-Maker, but your reams upon reams of mind-numbing garbage detailing what your cat gets up to, or how cute it is when ‘ickle Johnny won’t eat his peas, just bore the pants of me. All I want is the recipe, okay? And while we are at it, is there any need to show a million and one photos of the same cake? Seriously, we get it.
2. Pretend Friendships
Following hot on the heels of over-the-top mamas, the next on my list are faux friendships that pop up in the quest to get seen. Oh yeah, the blogging world is heaving with people who would sell their granny to be noticed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some great friends in the blogging world, people who genuinely support me, but I just can’t abide the simpering and sucking up that goes on. Like those God awful “Linky Parties” — the clever soul that came up with that idea should be tied up in a cold barn never to see the light of day again.
3. It’s Bloody Hard Work
Some food bloggers are so good they make it look ridiculously easy. However, the reality of coming up with a unique recipe, then successfully baking it, topped off by producing stunning photos, is no walk in the park.
The big-gun bloggers fool you into thinking that their kind of success is attainable, and sure it is, but it’s also important to remember that they have help; it’s highly unlikely they sit bleary-eyed at midnight typing their own recipe into WordPress.
Food blogging is tough — it takes time, a thick skin, commitment and bucket-loads of energy.
The Culinary Jumble
4. Friends and Family Don’t Get it
Blogging? What do you mean you blog? What’s that all about? It’s surprising how many people have no clue what blogging actually is. And when they are informed, they are just as clueless as to why you would bother doing it.
Family and friends are also the people least likely to support you. I know, right? They don’t do it on purpose; they just don’t get the relevance. They don’t understand how important it is to you, and that for people to see your work, it needs to be shared, a concept that many of the people close to me just don’t get.
5. Recipe Submission Sites
Oh, man. Where do I start on this one? Another necessary part of daily food blogging life is to submit your recipes to sites, in return for referral traffic to your own site. It is a mind-numbingly boring task, one where poking your eyes out with sharp stick actually starts to sound like a great alternative.
Some sites are great, accepting all photos on their own individual merits — this is how it should be. If you take the time to create something, and the energy to photograph it, why shouldn’t your effort be recognised?
However, there is one highly snooty site, let’s call them UpYourOwnArsePhotos.com, which seems to have fallen for its own hype, only accepting a fraction of submissions. You know, a blogging “your name’s not on the door…” kind of thing. Rejection stings, whatever you are doing. But when your photos are criticised, well, it’s like someone telling you your baby is ugly.
And as if rejecting your photos wasn’t bad enough, the cronies at UYOAP are beyond brutal with their bitchiness constructive criticism, critiquing submissions with comments such as “under/over exposed” or “poor styling/composition”. I even had one which said, and I quote, “sorry, this image does not meet our photo quality standards”. No, you are not sorry at all. You are a bunch of arseholes who seriously need to get over yourselves.
6. Food Photography
We’ve already established that having good photos is crucial in the success of your blog. However, what happens if you don’t know an aperture from a hole in your backside, or your bank balance doesn’t run to expensive equipment? Well, you are up shit creek without a paddle, that’s what. Learning about what makes a good photo is time-consuming and one of the most frustrating things about food blogging for me.
7. Opinionated People
If you put your photos and recipes out there, people will feel they are totally justified in commenting about them, warts an’ all. They tried your cake and it collapsed? Yep, your fault. Couldn’t possibly be that they didn’t follow the instructions properly. Dare to mention that coconut sugar is an unrefined sugar? Well, run for your life, while you still can.
America. I love you. I really do. You bring me most of my traffic and I wouldn’t be without you. But guys, come on! It’s 2016! You need to throw away the cups! Measuring in cups really doesn’t make any sense — it isn’t remotely accurate, and how on earth are you supposed to measure butter in them? Scales are good; really good. Go on, give them a go because I am getting a little fed up of having to convert recipes to a 21stcentury measuring system.
The Culinary Jumble
9. You Hate Yourself
Okay, going a bit OTT there, but being a food blogger brings out the worst qualities in yourself. Is the lighting okay? Should I throw a flower in the picture? Oh, there’s a tiny imperfection in my frosting. Self-doubt plagues every food blogger, so when you edit photos over and over again, and you’re still not satisfied, you know the food-blogger curse of perfectionism has you in a stranglehold. I wasn’t exaggerating (much) when I likened food photos to babies, so play nice when you look at our blog, and be kind.
Cookies. One of the tastiest things known to man, yet one of the least photogenic. There are only two ways to photograph a cookie: flat down, or stacking them on top of each other. Thinking of ways to spice up a photo of a cookie is one of the food blogging world’s biggest conundrums, and you can guarantee that whatever you come up with, you will end up stacking them anyway.
Pinterest, you suck! Everything I’ve read tells me that as a food blogger with fairly decent photos, I should be successful on Pinterest. Wrong! I’ve followed every tutorial known to man, and yet, my traffic is appalling. The thing is, the more your photos are pinned, the more you show up in searches. Less successful pinners don’t show up in searches. So how are you supposed to get your images pinned when your feeds are full of people who are already successful? It infuriates me. Give us a level playing field, Pinterest, please.
12. Blowing your Own Trumpet
Partaking in the playing of the brass-wind instrument is not my forte. I have to say that sometimes, posting my photos to social media is uncomfortable for me. There’s definitely an element of “hey, look at me” which I must confess, find difficult.
Unfortunately, Miss Mouse ain’t ever going to be successful in the food blogging world, and as difficult as it might be, you have to put yourself out there if you want to get noticed. And we do. We really do.
The Culinary Jumble
Come and find out more about me at The Culinary Jumble!
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on September 1, 2016.