Now and again life tends to get a bit existential. You may wonder why you were put on this earth and what special role you will play for mankind. But if you are a newly inspired blogger, you might look at the number of people who have read your blog and start to wonder, what’s it all about? Why are you blogging? And why are people reading it?
Well it’s an interesting question… Why did I start? Honestly, I have been thinking about blogging for a while, but couldn’t get up the energy or inspiration … And then suddenly, out of nowhere one Friday off, I woke up with the desire to start writing and see what happened. So I started with my first page, and it just poured out of me, and I started writing down recipes and I kept looking up more… And then I just logged onto my computer, bought a domain name (with no previous forethought) and designed a website. Never knew I had it in me.
Now I wake up in the morning thinking about new posts and sometimes I just stop what I am doing and start writing. It’s hard to say where it comes from, but there’s always been a writer in me, I just somehow always thought it would be novels.
But looking at the stats page on your website’s admin area is sobering. I am not one to obsess over the number of people reading the blog, but there is information on there about how many people open your website and then immediately leave it, how many unique visitors you have had, how many pages they looked at, even what countries they come from. And I can be honest with myself and you, some of the information makes me proud.
So back to the existential questions… Why am I writing this? One assumes it has to be because I want someone to read it. And if I study the statistics page that means I care just how many people, and that I’m proud there are twice as many people this month than last month. And the secret question inside me, that I hesitate to voice is… If it showed that no one was reading it, would I still write it? It’s the same question as that old philosophical stumper: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if I have thoughts that I write in a blog, if no one ever reads it, did I ever have the thoughts?
The obvious answer is yes. Part of writing is capturing your thoughts on paper permanently so that you don’t lose them. That’s why people record their dreams, or write a book that may never be published,or write a diary. At some point in the future, they want to be able to revisit their dreams, or let someone read their book, or relive a long forgotten moment of their life.
What surprises me about this blog is that some of the people I write it for aren’t interested. My mum read the piece I wrote about her and barely commented and if I raise the subject of my blog to her, she changes the subject. For some reason, it makes her uncomfortable. I have sent it to friends and I know some others will have seen my post updates on Facebook, but have never acknowledged it to me, so I’m pretty sure they haven’t looked. And these are the people I’m writing it for ultimately, the friends and family with whom I wish to share my inner thoughts. And if these are not the people in the statistics, who are those people, and again, what am I writing it for?
Well this week, I shared I with some friends at work, which was hard as some of these pages talk about my personal life, that I don’t always share at work. And as for the strangers that are reading it, I don’t know what to say, except to feel strangely grateful that these people identify more with my story than the people it am writing for.
And yesterday, there was a sweet note from a work colleague that said “I’m heading out to the dentist – then the store for bread/bread makings materials/lamb and/or cookies. Looking at recipes is dangerous…” And I smiled and thought of the little cooking cult I am creating, where someone reads a recipe of mine or likes the way I describe a meal and goes off to try it themselves. And my other colleague, who was always a cheffing diva is inspired by me and I am inspired by her and I have decided to add some of her escapades to this blog, because I think that my readers deserve to hear about what she is making too.
So, a cooking cult… A religious cult is about devotion to a God or Gods. In this case, the cooking cult will show devotion to cooking and all things food. We shall worship at the kitchen altar and devour the offerings. It’s not a far stretch from home cook, to foodie, to obsession, to the cooking cult. I’m not sure where I am on the cooking cult scale, but I know I have followers… my website admin page tells me so…