The world of blog analytics and blog 'success' confuses me. It is also probably the area of blogging which leaves me feeling most unsure, ambivalent and at times, quite down. This week has been particularly interesting for the wave of quite contradictory emotions that it has raised in me...... Perhaps I analyse my emotional responses too deeply (get a thicker skin I tell myself...), but I am who I am. So bear with me.... this may now get a little rambling as I try to make sense of my thoughts....
I love writing my blog..... It is my creative outlet in a crazy world...... my opportunity to crawl into a little bubble at the end of the day and do something which is far removed from my day job..... It is the thing I go to when I need my 'space' within the pulling demands of domestic life...... It is what I do that gives me an element of separate identity in a life where being a mum, a wife and a professional in public service is not always enough....
So why does it sometimes disappoint me? Why does it sometimes leave me feeling demoralised and lonely?
The lovely Vicki at the Free From Fairy recently wrote a post entitled Awards - A Controversial Post. In it she argued that blog awards are fundamentally flawed because they appear to rely on requests from nominees to get people to vote for them. Effectively they become a sort of popularity contest, which is not necessarily about the content or quality of the blog.......
Her post was published mid-way through the voting period linked to the Allergy Blog Awards (which run to the end of November) and for which I have been nominated. I am absolutely thrilled to have been nominated. Whilst I hate the idea of asking people to vote for me, the fact that someone (and I have no idea who) actually thought my blog was good enough to put forward, made my day! I love that I am in that list...... it gives me some degree of validation for what I do....
Then the self-doubt came in. Being nominated meant that I would also be judged and I became confronted with the possibility that I may get no votes at all (well..... maybe the person who nominated me might get me one!)..... and I would look like 'Billy no mates'. I looked down the list of nominees and thought..... I haven't got a cat in hell's chance against this lot. They are fab, have massive followings and many blog as their career! How can my tin-pot efforts compare?
As is the domino effect of the thought process within my head..... this question then got me thinking further about blogging in general, what I do and why. Those of you who have read past posts, will know that the blog is motivation to record my recipes for Miss GF and her future...... a sort of family recipe book that will be there for her when she grows up. We choose to share with the world, because it would be way too selfish to keep our successes to ourselves and if other people might benefit from our hard work.... then they should! (You can read a little bit more about us here)
Okay.... so that's bit's clear and solid and absolute. But I often worry about feeling so excluded from the blog world. I know I do it as an add-on to my day job, but I invest huge amounts of time into my recipe development and posts, so why do I feel so unsuccessful? I know that I have limited time to pull on social media and this means that I miss out on a driving force to bring followers and support, but this shouldn't dictate how relevant or successful we are..... should it?
My statistics are a constant source of bemusement to me. I recently went from within the top 250 on the Foodies 100 index to outside the top 500 in the same of a month...... I couldn't work that out at all.... I have climbed very little since.... Yet this week, I was notified that within a different set of analytics (Feedspot), I come up at number 45 on a global list of gluten free blogs. I was not only astounded and thrilled, but flummoxed at the same time......
My excitement however is tempered, as I watch on with envy at my favourite bloggers tales of invites to fabulous foodie events on the back of their success and popularity. I am really pleased for them and love to read about their adventures, but at the same time, I feel sad to not be a part of these amazing opportunities to spend time with each other and experience such amazing shared experiences..... and I have no idea how to bridge the gap without giving up a well-paid job and changing my world completely..... which I can neither afford to do or would want to risk..... And maybe that is the crux of it. I should be happy with my lot in life...... A (mostly) rewarding job.... a great family.... and relative financial security.... The blog is an optional extra. End of.
I have absolutely no idea why I am telling you all of this....... Perhaps I just need an opportunity to gain my equilibrium and to explore the constant question about whether I should be blogging at all. I guess I am just endlessly frustrated that effort and value in this world (whether blogging or anywhere else) rarely equates to success, whether real or imagined...... Perhaps I am just having a general confidence crisis. Either way.... for those of you who have bothered to stick with me to the end of this read.... thank you!
I couldn't go without sharing an amazing recipe with you..... Made with left-over pumpkin from Halloween, this delicious Roasted Pumpkin, Ramiro Pepper & Leek Soup is a perfect winter warmer. It is cheap and healthy and with a hint of ginger and smoked paprika, it will leave you feeling like you have been internally hugged better. Just what I need today......
I am sharing with the following linkies :
No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.
Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma
Recipe of the week with A Mummy Too
No Croutons Required with Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes
Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie
Tea Time Treats with Lavender & Lovage, Travels for Taste and Jo's Kitchen - this month's theme is comfort food.
Roasted Pumpkin, Ramiro Pepper & Leek Soup
1.2 kilos pumpkin flesh - chopped into chunks
2 large Ramiro (red pointy) peppers - deseeded and sliced
1 large leek - trimmed, washed and cut into slices
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1 large onion - chopped
3 large cloves garlic - crushed
small piece of fresh ginger - peeled & chopped
½ to ¾ litre GF vegetable stock
1 tablespoon shoyu GF soy sauce
salt & black pepper to taste
Optional Roasted Pepper Soured Cream/Dairy Free Yoghurt
1 additional small Ramiro pepper - roasted & chopped
150 ml soured cream or dairy free yoghurt
- Use a large roasting tin and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil onto the bottom. Add the pumpkin, peppers and leek and drizzle a further tablespoon of oi over the top.
- Add the paprika and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and using your hands, toss the veg in the oil and spice to coat lightly.
- In a hot oven (220 C/425 F/Gas 7), roast the veg for about 40 minutes until soft and beginning to char at the edges. Whilst roasting, stir from time to time to ensure an even roast.
- When the pumpkin, pepper and leek are roasted, get a very large saucepan and using a little olive oil, saute the onion, garlic and ginger until soft.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and stir through.
- Add the vegetable stock, shoyu sauce and a good grind of black pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the flavours to deepen and infuse.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Using a liquidiser, blend the soup until smooth in small batches, transferring to a clean pan as you go.
- Once all the soup has been blended, stir thoroughly and add extra seasoning to taste.
- Heat through to piping hot before serving.
- If you are adding Roasted Pepper Soured Cream/Yoghurt : Take your additional pepper and blend until you have a smooth paste.
- Mix the pepper paste with the cream/yoghurt and dollop onto or swirl through the hot soup before serving.