Of Books and Cooks: 5 Lessons from Year 1

2013 Book Giveaway

In January 2012, I started Paper and Salt. The past year brought a lot of new things: new jobs, new friends, new recipes, new books, new travels. But discussing authors’ favorite recipes here has been the best ‘new’ thing of that New Year, and (to mix up all my holidays at once) I’m thankful.

The past 12 months also brought many lessons about food blogging – new to me, although likely learned by you long ago:

1. Experiment. The best way to develop our own style is to dabble in others’ for a while. If you’re clinging to a sentence or a favorite ingredient, take a moment to let go. See how it feels.

2. Have patience. Taking pictures of food is even more about patience than it is a keen eye or a newfangled camera. You will move things around, making the most trifling of changes (This napkin here? Or here? Or … ?), ad infinitum, until your food gets cold and all the dishes you own are stacked in the sink, discarded after their short-lived modeling careers. And chances are, you’ll pick the first photo you took. Your patience will be what keeps you from throwing your camera across the room.

3. Be inspired. Despite the hours that go into cooking, writing, editing and photographing, the community of food bloggers still make time in the day to be extremely generous, and I’m indebted to many of them. I’ve updated the links section of this blog, if you’re ever in need of some delicious inspiration.

4. Persevere. Posts about baked goods will always, always garner more excitement and stomach rumblings than posts about salad. But never stop writing about salad, if that salad has some poetry in it.

5. Be brave. Writing, just the pure process of it, can be incredibly hard. But harder still is putting that writing out into the world, when you know it’s not perfect. You let it out of of your safe little nest of thought, unchaperoned and a bit underdeveloped, and hope it survives. But sometimes it does one better – sometimes it takes flight.

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