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Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn’s Kitchen is Six Years Old and Six Life Lessons I’m Learning from Food Blogging

I believe life is an ongoing process of lessons presented from the universe; things that can help us to grow as human beings if we pay attention to them.  When I started my blog with this simple little post six years ago, I never guessed what a life-changing adventure I was beginning.  Food blogging has been an intense learning process for me, and although I appreciate the things I’ve learned about technology, writing, photography, writing recipes, and how the internet works, it’s the life lessons reinforced through blogging that I’m reflecting on today.  Here are some things I’ve learned (or re-learned) from six years of  food blogging.  (And after you read  my list, I’d love to hear in the comments about what life lessons you’ve been working on over the past six years.)

Life Lesson #1:  
Be Yourself, Because No One Else is Exactly Like You
In the creative process of blogging, it’s easy to question how you’re doing things and wonder whether or not you’re doing it “right.”  If I let myself, I sometimes watch what other bloggers are doing and start to worry about whether my writing should be be a little more personal or my photos a bit more creatively styled or should I be posting more baked goods or desserts?  I’ve been working on learning to trust that my personal style of cooking, photographing, writing, and blogging is completely perfect for me.  Those who like my blog will keep reading it and those who don’t will find some other blog that fits their preferences a little better.  Just as it should be.
Life Lesson #2:
Be Kind and Generous and Good Karma Will Follow
There are daily interactions with others in blogging that can be seen as opportunities to practice exercising kindness and generosity.  I try to do my best at patiently answering questions from readers (even when the information is already on the blog) or replying with something helpful to new bloggers who write for advice (even on days when I don’t have time to answer long lists of questions.)   Some types of blogging generosity are easier to implement.  In every recipe post I enjoy linking to similar recipes from other blogs, which I consider to be a complete win-win-win because it benefits my readers as well as the blogs I’m linking to, and builds up good blogging karma as well.  Being kind and generous is a lesson I’m constantly working on, but I have no doubt about how important it is.

Life Lesson #3:
Pay Attention to What Feels Right to You
Blogging is a medium that’s constantly changing, and there are honest differences in opinion and not many rules about how things should be done.  I still remember the first time years ago when I eagerly accepted a free cookbook and wrote about it on my blog, and through the years I’ve accepted a few products and featured them, always disclosing that I got the item free.  I never accepted that many free products, but I realized  recently that I wanted to stop accepting products or cookbooks at all.  If I talk about a cookbook where I found a recipe or feature a product for Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks, I want my readers to know that I’m writing about those things only because I use the product or cookbook myself and love it.   I enjoy sharing recommendations with my readers, but what feels right about that for me is being able to say that I bought something myself when I’m talking about it on the blog. 

Life Lesson #4:
Forget About the Failures and Focus on What Works

I’m always baffled when food bloggers post a recipe and then say that they didn’t really like how it turned out.  I guess that works if your blog is just a record for yourself, but I want people to cook my recipes and enjoy them, so my standards about what makes it to the blog are pretty high.  From time to time I have a bad streak of “not blogworthy” recipes and it really starts to get me down (not to mention the wasted food which gets thrown away!)   A lesson I’m always trying to learn is to not waste energy worrying about the failures, focus on what does work, and move on.
Life Lesson #5:
A (New) Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
When I started my blog in 2005 I hadn’t even entered the digital camera age.  I still have a lot to learn about photography, and although the last few years my photos are better, I still have some pretty gruesome photos  left from those early years.  A few months ago I realized that if I’m ever going to have time to update those old posts, I was going to have to revisit recipes a lot more often than I’d been doing.  At first I worried about what readers might think, but I quickly realized that every time I update an old post with great new photos it makes me feel so much better about my blog that I can’t worry about whether anyone cares that there isn’t a new recipe that day.  (And thanks to people who have let me know that they missed some of those early posts and enjoy seeing them revisited!)

Life Lesson #6:
The Friends You Make are What Really Matters
I saved this one for last, but actually the biggest lesson I’ve learned through blogging is how every life experience is an opportunity to meet other people doing the same thing, and if you’re lucky some of those people can turn into dear friends and impact your life in ways you never could have imagined.  I’m not going to try to name all my great blogging friends for fear I’ll forget someone, but the fellow bloggers who’ve supported me through a couple of rough spots over the years know who they are, and I hope they know how much I love and appreciate them.  I’m also lucky enough to have a family where some of my best friends are my brothers and sisters, plus some wonderful real-life friends, and I’m grateful for their love and support every day of my life.  I appreciate the thoughtful readers who send me nice e-mails and who feel like friends to me as well.  When I think of all the ways blogging has had a positive impact on my life, it’s the people I’ve met that I’m most grateful for.

What are the Life Lessons You’re Working On?
So those are the life lessons I’ve been learning through six years of blogging, and if you’re made it this far in a post with no recipes and only a single photo, thanks for reading and for your support of my blog!  I’m currently out of town for Easter without a computer, but I’ll read comments and publish them with the iPhone until I get back.  I’d love to know in the comments if any of the lessons I’m working on resonate with you or  if there are other persoal life lessons you’d like to share.

Other Birthday Celebrations from the Past:

Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns One
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Two
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Three
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Four
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Five

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    115 Comments on “Kalyn’s Kitchen is Six Years Old and Six Life Lessons I’m Learning from Food Blogging”

  1. Just realized that I posted your 99th comment and want to post the 100th comment, unofficially of course. (the next post will be officially a different reader)

    Lots of great wishes for food and photos and Fun Friday blogging for the next sixty years! WH

  2. Happy six years food blogging, Kalyn! When you were hosting those houseboat adventures on Lake Powell, you created recipes and we all wanted copies. Fun times!
    Love your six lessons – I would say you are truly passionate about your blog world.
    I have been working on lesson # 1 – Being my Authentic Self with everyone.

  3. Biggles, I still have you in my RSS reader, so I'm hoping to see a post show up soon!

    Cake Duchess, thanks so much (and I just adore Dara, she's a great friend to me!)

    Sorry I have done a miserable job at replying to individual comments left here, but I am blown away by all the nice comments and appreciate every one!

  4. Hi Kalyn! I'm happy I found your blog through Dara.;) This is a wonderful post. Congrats on 6 yrs of blogging. I just started last year and your post is inspiring:)

  5. Congratulations !!! That's like 42 years as the universe sees it. Over the last 8 years or so I've learned patience, to have fun with it and take a breather if you need to. And sister, this kid needed a breather!

    Meathenge will be back here pretty soon, am ramping up my psyche. I even have a small garden this year!

    xo, Biggles

  6. I've had a smile on my face for 3 days now from all the nice comments, thanks again everyone!

  7. Happy Six!! I like your lesson #1, when you talk about seeing what other bloggers do and wonder if you should… I'm glad you are you because you are good at what you do. When I want to find a new way to cook a particluar veggie your blog is one of my go-tos because you are so creative that way. I have a dear almost 80 aunt who was looking for veggie recipes and I showed her your blog and she was so impressed and wanted the link.

  8. Your blog is wonderful. Hapyy 6! I am just starting out in the blogging realm and it is always helpful for me to see a blogger I admire talk about how far they have come. I always am wishing that my photos were better, or my writing was better …. blah blah blah but, I have realized this is where I am at in my journey and that is OK. I love doing it and that is what matters.

  9. Happy Birthday Kalyn's Kitchen! I am so proud of all the great work you do! I made Karyn's artichoke breakfast casserole for Easter brunch and it was so good. Thanks for putting a plethora of delicious recipes out there for us to see and try. Love you.

  10. Congratulations on six years of your blog, Kalyn! A pleasure to read, and I've come to love, among other things, the Five Fun Things on Friday series.

  11. I am posting most of these comments with my iPhone, and really enjoying reading every one. Thanks everyone for taking time to leave a comment!

  12. What wonderful and timely advice. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and congratulations on six years!

  13. Wow, 6 years, that's awesome! I love your site and your style and your recipes of course!!! I hope you're a foody blogger for another 6 years!!! 😉

  14. Congratulations on 6 years of blogging Kalyn! I'm a big fan of it, and looking forward to more years of great recipes.

  15. Congrats on SIX years… Be still my heart… This same day is my ONE year blog-aversary, and I so enjoyed reading your thoughts and advice! Your blog is definitely one to aspire to!

  16. Happy Blogiversary. You are definitely a class act.


  17. Congratulations! Not only have you achieved 6 years of fabulous posts but I'm going to print out your life lessons and put them up in my workspace. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy Anniversary!

  18. Congrats to you Kalyn, for creating with all your hard work, one of the most inspiring blogs. I am sorry that I do not leave comments as often as I should. But I could not miss this wonderful time to let you know, that this place is special and inspiring and always will be.


  19. Congratulations, Kalyn! You are such an inspiration to me and so many others that blog. You are truly generous with your knowledge and your friendship and I am so grateful for that. I am raising a glass to you, my friend.

  20. Congrats, Kalyn! You give so much to the blogging community at large. Thanks for 6 years of brightening up the Internet (and many more).