I’m doing something a little different today.
- Y’all know I don’t normally post on Thursdays.
- I don’t really ever talk about the mechanics of blogging here.
- I’d like to share with y’all some of my blogging mechanics.
Because of this, I’m thrilled to announce that I will be a part of this Behind the Blog Series with several other bloggers throughout 2016. We all have our different niches, but on the last Thursday of every month, we will be talking about our blogs and give y’all a glimpse behind the curtain/camera/laptop.
Since we debut this series today, our topic is how we got our start blogging.
How did The Speckled Palate begin?
In all honesty, The Speckled Palate was born out of boredom.
I was working a desk job that was completely different than my previous journalism jobs. Instead of requiring creativity, it involved lots of math, Excel documents and formulas that I still sometimes dream about. (No joke. If you’ve never had an Excel formula nightmare, you haven’t lived…)
Simply put, I needed some kind of creative outlet since I was no longer getting that at my day job.
Since I’d kept an anonymous personal blog for years, I knew wanted to start another blog and focus on something more than myself. Personal blogging was exciting, and I adored telling stories, but I kept it hush-hush so I didn’t step on toes or offend anyone I knew in real life. I didn’t want to hide behind internet anonymity anymore.
I shared a few recipes on my old personal blog, trying them out, and realized that a food blog would be a cool thing to try. I read a few of them, and they were super fun. And sure, I’d never had experience photographing food before, but it couldn’t be that hard, right? (Turns out, YES, it could quite challenging. If you’re curious, please have a look at these first few recipes to see how far I’ve come.)
After contemplating a name for several months, I dove right in without a plan and launched The Speckled Palate on Memorial Day weekend five years ago.
Why do I blog?
The Speckled Palate’s tagline is, “Autobiographical food with a side of Southern flair.”
Even though this isn’t a personal blog, the point of The Speckled Palate is sharing. Food is a social thing. We all have memories of gathering ’round the table for dinner, and not only does the food make an impact, but the conversation and company do, too. The Speckled Palate is not just about the food, but it’s about the story that’s behind it and the love that goes into the making of it.
That’s what I aspire for The Speckled Palate to be: a round table for my readers to come and learn about new dishes, as well as hear a story to go along with the food. I love sharing dishes that have a story near-and-dear to my heart, whether they’re something you’ve heard of or not and whether or not they’re something I make often. Not only do I want to share the recipe with y’all, but I want y’all to know why it’s important, too.
Has The Speckled Palate changed over time?
As mentioned earlier, I’ve gotten a better handle on food photography. (Thank goodness!) And I have a better handle of what I want to eat and what I want to share with y’all. In the beginning, I was sharing all kinds of recipes, which is awesome, but as this blog has grown, I’ve found myself pulling back to assess the kinds of recipes and stories I share.
For example, I want to share more vegetables and fruit dishes with y’all.
For years, I’ve been very meat-eater and dessert friendly, which are both great. Except I want to try to share more vegetarian and vegan-friendly recipes, because despite the way it appears based on the recipes I share, we eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, and we know a lot of folks who eat plant-based diets.
What was it like in the beginning versus now?
I had no schedule in the beginning. I would make and photograph a dish, then share it and a personal anecdote that afternoon.
Now? I share new recipes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’ll occasionally throw in another post (like today’s!) or change up the schedule slightly if I have a sponsored post that needs to go live on a Tuesday or a Thursday, but I generally stick to three recipes a week.
In the beginning, I photographed every recipe using natural light in my kitchen. Which, as we all know, is hit or miss. I would also never really take the time to style my food, so I have a lot of sloppy images that aren’t well thought-out of my first recipes shared.
Now? I artificially light everything that I photograph, which means I can photograph the food whenever I want. (Which is typically during naptime or after our daughter has gone to bed.) I also take the time to style the food so the images are more appealing, too.
The food I share has always tasted great — y’all know I won’t post a dish that doesn’t have my personal stamp of approval, flavor-wise — but I want them to look great, too. Food styling is not nearly as effortless as it appears, and it has taken me years to feel comfortable with this. I’m still not great at it, but I’m getting better and making strides, and that is what counts.
What are some blogging benefits that I’ve found?
Just like in my days of personal blogging, I’ve connected with so many other bloggers and made so many lovely friends from around the world through The Speckled Palate. Blog friends are wonderful friends, and there’s something so exciting about connecting with people whose backgrounds, homes and lives are completely different than yours. Because the food we share is more than enough to bring so many different personalities to the table, and I absolutely adore it.
Be sure to check out my other posts in the Behind the Blog Series!
Other posts that go BEHIND THE BLOG and the business of food blogging: Behind the Blog: Top Posts / Behind the Blog: Frequently Asked Questions / Behind the Blog: @katiewilliamsen of Twin Stripe Interview / Behind the Blog: Organization, Planning and Balance / Behind the Blog: Social Media Tips / Behind the Blog: The Workspace / Behind the Blog: Behind the Photographs / Behind the Blog: Blogs I Love / Behind the Scenes Blog Tour: The Speckled Palate / Food Blogging 101: 10 valuable lessons learned from failure
How did your blog get its start?