Friday, September 17, 2010

Of Blogs and Blogging

I'm not always classy. I'm rarely refined. I say silly things at inappropriate times. I never measure vanilla. I usually forget to take photos while I'm baking. I post infrequently, and when I do, there's rarely a recipe. Do these things make me a bad food blogger? NAH. That's just my style. And the beauty of blogging is what makes most "real" writers hate it so much: the inconsistencies, lack of rules, and informal tone.

I started this blog because I HAD NO CHOICE. It was blog, or lose most of my friends from talking about food incessantly.  I knew nothing about blogging when I started. Everything you've seen here over the last year has been a lot of trial and error (emphasis on the error.) I had no idea there was this vast network of foodies just like me, cooking, baking, talking about food, taking pictures of their creations and baring it all for the world to see. It's a place where spell-checks and editing are frequently left at the door, but passion and creativity are required for entry. I like it here. I think I'll stay awhile. 

Like most food bloggers will tell you, I fall asleep and wake up with thoughts of future meals, and usually dream about them inbetween. Having some internet real estate to talk about it is like sweet, delicious therapy, a catharsis for our menu-filled souls. I'm so glad I found a support group that doesn't make me feel ashamed if I talk graphic details about the sandwich I had for lunch, or post pornographic pictures of pies and their sweet, juicy insides. Hi, my name's Colleen, and I'm a food-aholic. 
Having no experience in the world o' blogs, Sweet Swallows took time to take shape. I always knew it would be centered around baking, but beyond that, I floundered for awhile trying to find focus. I started to read other food blogs to get a sense of what's out there. I was intimidated by Smitten Kitchen, and Deb's flawless design, photos, and writing. I was inspired by Joy the Baker's hilarious non sequiturs and delicious recipes. And the number of comments Bakerella gets for any particular post? Humbling. Truly. I got nervous. How could my little blog ever compare with my lack of technical skills and Photoshop? 
But I realized, why stress about it? I decided to just start writing like I was talking to a friend, and then everything fell into place. This is something I do because I love it.  No one is judging my lack of web design knowledge. So my motto became: Keep it light, keep it cute, keep it funny and add more pictures than you think you need. It's been working well for me so far. 

But every blog needs a hook, something to pull the reader in and make them want to stay awhile. So why should you stay here instead of surfing somewhere else? I've got a few things going for me. 

Sassy name with a little innuendo? Check. 

(On a related note, I apologize to any of you who are blocked from this site at work or got flagged for web searches. It's Sweet Swallows BAKING. Please, please, for the sake of your job, make sure you use the baking...) 
Large pictures of graphic food porn? Check. 
Occasional pictures of adorable kitties? Check.  
Beautiful looking and delicious tasting vegan sweets? Check and Check. And really, I think that's the best reason you should stay awhile. 
Now before you go running away screaming because of a bad experience you had with some terrible vegan dessert you picked up at Whole Foods, keep in mind my recipes are all Grandma tested and vegan approved. They're delicious, and I promise I never post a recipe that wouldn't fool the biggest butter-lover in your life. 

My evolution to a vegan baker can be traced through the archives. I started out focusing on dairy-free recipes, with some pizza reviews tossed in. But the more I baked vegan I began to realize that I didn't need to bake any other way. My vegan cupcakes will put most cupcakes filled with butter and eggs to shame. And don't get me started on my vegan oatmeal cream pies. Little Debbie wishes she had these skills.  Srsly. 

And now vegan baking is a challenge. Can I make the best vegan donut in the world? Can I turn my favorite Christmas cookie recipe into a successful cruelty free treat? I will. Or die trying. Sweet, chocolatey, powdered-sugar covered death. I'm OK with that. 
I'm still an amateur blogger. But now, I'm (mostly) focused. I'm determined. The world is at my feet and I'm ready to grab the bull by the horns and [insert 'taking charge of your life/opportunites await' metaphor here]. I've found my voice in this world and have staked my claim in the blogosphere, and things can only go up from here. A life surrounded by food is within my grasp! And the next food blogger star? Perhaps. Anything is possible. 


21 comments:

  1. I adore you AND your style of blogging. Not much more to say than that; I just felt funny reading that whole thing and not stopping to say hello. So.. Hello. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The feeling's mutual! Thanks lady :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the first 3 paragraphs that describe your experience blogging -- I so relate to it! Nice entry. Good luck in the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I came to see the competition. I got a story I can relate to. I also found a very literary blogger. You say "real writers" don't like our casual tone, but I think you are a reader as well as a writer and it shows in this blog. Good Luck. GREG

    ReplyDelete
  5. I received an error so I'm trying to comment again. Wahhh! Anyway I found your blog by playing contestant roulette on the food blog contest site. Up you popped! I have to say that I got into blogging for the same reason, but with a different subject matter. My friends were going to disown me if I told one more story about how witty, charming and smart my son is. I needed an outlet and I didn't care who read my blog (though it is fun when someone does!). I would write it anyway. Good luck in the contest. Now please please tell me what that donut-shaped thing with the pink speckledy frosting is. PLEASE! I have not eaten breakfast yet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha, it IS a donut! It's an adorable, itty bitty mini donut, a vegan lemon donut with vanilla bean glaze and sprinkles. I haven't posted the recipe for the lemon version yet, but the original recipe can be found here: http://veganyumyum.com/2007/02/mini-donut-test-kitchen/

    Thanks for checking me out! Best of luck to all of you...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so glad I discovered your blog! You've got some great motivation for blogging, and I love your writing style.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice to meet you! Great entry, you have my vote :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that you say your vegan goodies are grandma tested! and it does all look delicious ♥

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for stopping by, ladies! It's so great finding all these wonderful new blogs to check out. Hope to see you all in the next round!

    @alissa- It's true. I always run my new recipes by my Grandma, and if they get her stamp of approval, I share them with the world!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so glad I found your blog. Good luck in the contest!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like this! I too was totally intimidated by the super famous blogs (and even some not-as-famous ones on foodbuzz), so have to keep remind myself I'm doing this for fun and no one is 'grading' me. I'm definitely voting for you. Also, your kitty is super adorable! Good luck in PFB!

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOVE this post. Love your style. Yes, let's be friends! You've got my vote and I just added you to my google reader. Look forward to reading more! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can totally relate to - I usually forget to take photos while I'm baking. I totally do that as well! Good luck with PFB. I voted for you.

    If you'd like to check out my post it is here: http://bit.ly/9JXLNL.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your blog! I think this quote is perfect: "my recipes are all Grandma tested and vegan approved." You have a great voice and personality in your writing as well as great pics. I submitted a vote for you in PFB - Good luck!

    Lynda

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well, how can I not vote for another kitten post? And yeah, go vegetarian blogs! Thank you for stopping by, and I'm really happy to have discovered you. I voted for ya in PFB. :) Mine's at: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/649. I'm getting nervous about this whole popularity-contest voting aspect. :(

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like your literary style lady, and the name is hilarious. So happy I discovered you through this challenge. Hope to see us both in Round 2!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'd vote for you, but I found this too late! Hope to see you in round 2 so I can vote for you then!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Inspired, intimidated and humbled is how I still feel about many blogs yet we forge ahead because it's fun and fullfilling:-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. For realsies, I'm totally overwhelmed by all the awesome comments. Thanks everyone, and I'm really looking forward to round 2!

    ReplyDelete