BlogHer Food in AustinI won’t sugar coat it, there was some big anxiety about fitting in at a blogging conference where I knew pretty much NO ONE. I had no hesitation about going when I was asked to speak at the conference. In fact it was one of the nicest honors I have known to be included in such a great panel. But I consider food bloggers to be in this sort of top-tier of the blog world. I imagined them hanging out with the decorating bloggers and making the world a prettier place with a cherry on top.

It was scary to enter the food blogging world as a stranger.

Here is the thing about food bloggers, they want to FEED YOU. They want to know you. They want to find out your stories and share their stories. It took me about an hour into the conference before I realized the food blogging world was full of memoir bloggers. Realizing that was such a powerful thing for me.

Many times at larger blog conferences I feel oddly apologetic when I’m asked “what is your blog about?” I am in awe of the writers who are able to answer, with laser precision, their EXACT niche and direction of writing. I usually shrug and mumble stuff about Alzheimer’s and infertility, and plaid , and, and, and…shrug, “my life?”

Taco Trucks in Austin at nightOf course it is presumptuous to think anyone would care to read about “my life”, but darn it, THAT is what I write about. And am I writing for readership or am I writing for connection? The truth is I am writing to connect. I am writing for the “me too” or the “never thought about it that way”.

But you guys knew that.

So the delicious thing about food bloggers is while, yes, they have these niches and specific blogs, they are presenting them to you as their life. You see a gluten-free food blog became that way for a reason. A successful recipe blog will win you over not just because of the yum sounding food, but because of the story behind the recipe.

One of my favorite moments of the conference was a keynote talk with Elisa Camahort Page and David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria. Without exaggeration I could listen to these two talk for HOURS.

David had this nugget to say about what he considers food blogging to be from his world, “I try to live my life and see where it intersects with food. When I find this intersection, I see if there’s a story. If yes, I write. If no, I don’t.”

(above I linked to the transcript of the keynote – it doesn’t capture the lively energy in the room, but you can read more of David’s gems)

Since this post is long I have broken it up into 2 sections to ease page load time and help readability. Please continue reading.

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