Oftentimes, the best way to deal with overwhelm is to put things on paper.
Coming off a whirlwind weekend at my first Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in Toronto, I had so many thoughts and to-do items from the many sessions and discussions. It was three days packed choc-full of meeting talented people, hearing inspiring stories, gaining valuable knowledge and, of course, eating delicious food. At the end of events like these, you’re left with a buzz and excitement that’s coupled with a bit of a sense of overwhelm at where to start with all the ideas.
So, this post is to distill some of the thoughts I’ve had percolating since the conference last weekend (how’s that for two foodie verbs in one sentence!?).
Take a look at the quick video I created from the weekend (warning: you might get hungry)!
By far, one of the most prominent ideas consistent throughout the course of the weekend was the theme of storytelling. As Dennis Prescott noted, “far and away the most important skill is storytelling.” In taking photos or writing Instagram captions or crafting posts, we are storytellers first and foremost. We use food as the focus through which we communicate to our audiences about our lives – the people and experiences in them.
Therefore, the most successful posts or pictures are those that viewers and readers can feel a connection to. “The goal of the work is to inspire an emotional response. Art is connection,” said Prescott.
A great tip he shared was to come up with a story in your mind before taking a photo – whether it be a dimly lit date night setting or a bright, early morning family breakfast scene – that people can instantly transport themselves to.
Another one of my favourite quotes from the weekend was from Deb Perelman (of Smitten Kitchen) during her keynote address on the opening night: “as a blogger, you’re a human masthead,” referring to the multitude of roles a blogger takes on in their work – photographer, recipe developer, writer, editor, marketer, and so on.
With that in mind, Joel and Dana of Well Preserved spoke about the importance of “knowing the crew” in their talk of 10 principles to guide blogging success. They explained how to be aware of all the roles you play and to keep them separate – for example, if you’re wearing your publishing hat, do just that and do it well, until you move on to another task.
They’re pieces of advice particularly advantageous to those of us who commit time to toiling away in our kitchen, making big messes, and then writing about it on the Internet. However, when I put on my “reader” hat, I find it’s also valuable insight as a consumer — of blog content, social media information, etc. — to understand the thoughts and processes behind some of our favourite images or recipes.
See y’all next year!