I’m not one to blog about my personal life on this blog if it’s not food-related. Still, if you’re a regular reader of this website, you’ll notice that I’ve slowed down ”“ really slowed down ”“ when it comes to posting new articles. At first I thought it was the low-spiritedness attributed to “that time of the month”, and then I chalked it up to bad moods, albeit very lengthy bad moods. Even my constant cheerleader and good friend, Mari, who gave me the idea to start this blog said, “Write through this funk, Lor, write through it!” Finally, after detailing to her how I felt, she said in a very matter of fact tone, “It’s blog burnout, plain and simple.”
Blog burnout. Those two words sear though my brain like a gaudy neon sign’s decrepit letters hanging on for dear life. But it’s true. I AM burned out, blog wise.
Here, signs that this food blogger is worn-out:
1. I haven’t updated my blog in several days and I’m not at all alarmed.
2. Post-It reminders of people I need to interview and restaurants I need to shoot are stuck on my food dictionary ”“ forgotten ”“ threatening to fly forlornly in the wind.
3. I don’t take my camera with me anymore when I go out to eat.
4. I hardly read other food blogs anymore, much less comment on them.
5. I don’t look at my stat counter (which was once a great source of pride for me) anymore.
6. When I eat out with other people, I’m getting used to their stunned expressions when in reply I say, “No, I’m not going to blog about this.” (see #3)
7. Beautiful pictures of food on other food blogs nauseate instead of inspire me.
8. I’m tempted to go to restaurants that I’ve already featured so that I’m not pressured to blog about new ones.
9. My cameras are wasting away from disuse. I can’t remember the last time I shot food photos.
10. I’ve realized that when a PR rep sends me food samples of the latest “it” thing or invites me to have lunch at the newest restaurant, he/she is sending the food and extending the invite to 50 other food bloggers.
There’s a word that writers use to describe this blah-couldn’t-give-a-hoot feeling. Ennui: listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from a lack of interest. In a word, boredom. I’ve read that a blog’s lifespan rounds out at three years; after that, the blogger and/or the blog needs a long break to recharge, regroup ”“ to get an idea of where the blog is going.
After all, how long can one blog?
I began this website two years ago to chronicle my food journey, a playground for my passion, if you will. The thrill of doing something new fueled my initial frenzied frequency of posts, so much so that I ran out of steam. I even held three food events all in a span of one year: a dessert party, a cookbook swap, and a food demo. Now, nothing. Am I depressed? No. Stressed, maybe? Not at all.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed everything that comes with being a blogger. I’ve especially enjoyed connecting with people who love food and especially dessert, as much as me. Maybe I was bound for a burnout at the rate I was going, but somewhere along the way, I forgot why I decided to start a blog. I forgot to have fun. I started to pressure myself to “perform” ”“ and you can interpret that any way you want.
In my down time, I’ve learned that a blog is something that I should do when I feel like doing it. I’m no professional blogger, I sure don’t get paid to do this (and neither would I want to anyway), so it should always be fun. Most of all, my heart should be in there too.
But right now, it’s not.
What, no more dessert?
I just need to do something different, get out of this little rut I’ve dug myself into. I want to eat a meal at a restaurant or chill out at the coffee bar without having to analyze the food by taking notes and photos. For once, I want to sit where the lighting is bad so that I can sit and people-watch for a change.
Most of all, I yearn to absorb myself in the food and just cherish it. It’s my love for food that got me into writing in the first place.
Lately, I’ve been going out a lot, either alone or with friends. I’ve been going to really good places where I immerse myself in the experience and cap it with a glorious dessert. But I don’t take pictures or notes. Then when I get home, I write about it, relishing the fact that I get to relive it a second time.
One great source of assurance is the knowledge that Manila has a dynamic eating scene that pulses with life. There is no dearth of places to eat in. Even I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of where to go. So I’ve made it a point to visit all these places and to conveniently forget to take my camera and my notebook. If it really is that good, I’ll be back a second time with my reinforcements.
And to you, reading this website. Your comments on this blog the past two years have been so generous and sustaining and warm. I’m honored with the trust and faith that you have in me and my recommendations on where and what to eat. Thank you.
Dessert Comes First will never die. But it will have peaks and valleys, periods wherein posts will languish, with the next one nowhere in sight. Rest assured, there will always be something to read here. When I’m ready, I’ll write again.
Note on the photo for this post:
The above print is entitled “Mrs. Siddons in the Character of the Tragic Muse,” a print by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792). I fell in love with this work when I saw it hanging at the Huntington Gallery in California.The portrait is of one Mrs. Siddons, the leading tragic actress in late 18th century Britain as Melpomene, the Tragic Muse. She sits enthroned in a Romantic landscape of swirling dark clouds, her face and arms aglow. Melpomene’s attributes of a dagger and a cup are held by allegorical figures of Pity and Terror, flanking her dressed in classical garb. I’ve always been attracted to the woman’s seemingly dazed expression illustrating someone who’s been thrown off balance.