Lately I’ve been feeling like I should apologize for neglecting my blog for the past year… because I really have neglected it. It’s not that I wanted to, but, well, life happened. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might know that I had to leave my job at the daycare a couple of summers ago. It took me about 8 months to find decent freelance writing gig, and aside from that my only income was from this blog.
I was desperate to increase my income from my blog. If you’ve ever done freelance work you’ll know that it can be fun and rewarding, but your income is really inconsistent. I needed to make at least a part-time income from my blog! So I signed up for every e-course, webinar, e-book and online course that I could find.
Some were free and had useful information, others were expensive and a total waste of money. But I felt like I was investing my time and money into building a business for myself, so it was ok if I was spending a lot of time absorbing all that content.
Here’s the thing though. Reading and learning is important, yes. But learning the theory of things isn’t the same as doing them.
I was suckered in by the promises of “double your email list with this webinar” and “learn how I made six figures from one blog post”, because I thought there had to be at least a nugget of useful information in there that I could apply to my blog. But I was missing the point. The purpose of a blog is to share content, and I wasn’t sharing a damned thing.
Somehow over the course of a year I convinced myself that I couldn’t create content for myself because I wasn’t blogging “the right way”. Articles, courses, and even my well-meaning blogging friends convinced me that I was doing it all wrong because I didn’t have a distinct niche, I didn’t have a target audience, etc. etc. etc.
I continued doing sponsored posts (they pay the bills folks), and creating content for clients in my freelance work, but I had lost the will to blog for myself.
Then a few weeks ago, I ended up having lunch with Mayssam from Will Travel for Food. We’re not exactly tight or anything, but we had met at events in the past and she was in town for Terroir, and invited me to have lunch with her the next day.
I don’t mind admitting that I admire Mayssam. She runs a successful, award-winning blog and she creates great content. So having the opportunity to chat with her was pretty exciting for me! I mentioned to her about my struggles with my blog and she just turned to me and said “do whatever you want, it’s your blog.”
Excuse me, what?
I was taken aback for a moment because that wasn’t what I had expected to hear. Didn’t she understand how blogs work? You can’t just write what you want, you have to tailor your content, write more of what’s popular, create what your audience wants…
I think I gave her a confused look, because she wasn’t making sense.
She explained to me that she doesn’t run her blog to bring in income, so she just does what she wants with it. And you know what, it’s a f***ing great site because of it! (My words, not hers).
I’m in a position now where I’m working two (new!) part-time jobs on top of freelancing and blogging, so I don’t have to rely on my blog for income. Not that it wouldn’t be great to have extra income… I’m not exactly rolling in dough right now (probably going to be living with my parents forever), but it takes some of the pressure off.
So despite the fact that I’m busier now than I think I’ve ever been (maybe excluding the time I was working in television), I’m going to try to resurrect my poor, neglected blog. I’m staring with something easy – a simple spinach salad recipe that I have been loving lately.
This spinach salad isn’t exactly new or ground-breaking, but it’s really delicious. I love the sweet mild flavour of baby spinach, and I’m kind of obsessed with adding pecans to my salads, so this was an easy sell for me. I tried the flavour combination at a corporate event that I recently attended and thought it would be a nice change from my usual Baby Spinach Salad with Raspberries.
I topped my spinach salad with a basic balsamic vinaigrette, but you can really use whatever you like. A miso based dressing would be yummy, or even poppy seed.
Spinach Salad with Pears, Pecans and Goat Cheese
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard optional (helps to emulsify the dressing though)
- pinch of salt and pepper
For the Salad:
- 8 cups baby spinach washed and dried
- 1/2 cup pecans toasted and chopped
- 2 large ripe pears peeled and sliced into wedges
- 1/3 cup plain goat cheese crumbled
For the Dressing:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a mason jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake to combine.
For the Salad:
Place spinach and pecans in a large bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of dressing, then use your hands to toss the salad to combine the ingredients. Add the pear slices to the salad, and toss again, gently.
Divide the salad among serving plates, and top with goat cheese and extra dressing as needed. Serve immediately.