Monday, June 30, 2014

On Blogging and Running

About a month ago, Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum was a guest on The Lively Show. I enjoy reading food blogs, but hadn't heard of Pinch of Yum until then. In addition to sharing delicious recipes with gorgeous photography, Pinch of Yum shares their monthly income reports. Their first income report was for August 2011 and the blog made $21.97. In May 2014, Pinch of Yum had net income of over $23,000! Suffice it to say, I've read more of their income reports (and related tips) than recipes ;)

What does this have to do with running? In January 2014's report, Bjork (Lindsay's husband and behind the scenes guy of Pinch of Yum) shared the following mindset for growing a blog:

Be a cross country star, not a tennis star. I love tennis. It was my favorite sport in high school. But I always had a ton of respect for the cross country guys and girls. Not only because of their crazy ability to run long distances, but because of the mindset they had in regards to their performance. With tennis, if you beat your opponent you consider the day a success. With cross country, if you beat your own previous record you consider the day a success. Your journey of growing your blog will be much more fulfilling if you aim to outperform yourself as opposed to other blogs.
Amen, brother!

Like blogging, I took a bit of an extended maternity leave from running. Sure, I ran a 10K this past October, but I wasn't running consistently. About three months before Monica's birthday, John's sister talked me into running a half marathon. I pulled up a Hal Higdon training plan, dusted off my running shoes, and got to work. The day before Monica's birthday, I ran my first half marathon in over three years. Was is pretty? Not exactly. But I went out there and finished.

Likewise, this past spring, I felt ready to get back into blogging on a more consistent basis. The analogy isn't perfect, but here are a few more thoughts about why blogging is like running:

You have to start somewhere. Whether it's sitting down to write or starting to run after some time off, the hardest part is starting. For running, the hardest part is getting out the door. But once you get going and see your progress and improvement, the momentum encourages you to keep going.

For example, the first recipe (and second blog post!) I shared on Fiscally Chic was for Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes. My photo wasn't fantastic, but it got the job done:

September 2010 - Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes
More recently, I shared a recipe for Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes. This picture isn't perfect, but it's exponentially better than the first:

June 2014 - Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Over the past 4 years, I've had more opportunities to bake cupcakes, photograph cupcakes, and blog about said cupcakes. That's not to say there haven't been a few hiccups along the way. While the following cupcakes tasted great, the photographs were less than stellar (don't laugh too much):
February 2011 - Banana Split Cupcakes
Ugh...I know. In blogging and running, you might have a few setbacks, like writer's block or a knee injury. You can either let it get you down or use it as a learning experience and moment of growth.
In addition to having more experience, my blogging and running has improved (or become a little easier) as I've obtained the correct tools. For blogging, that would be getting a better camera (and knowing how to use it). For baking cupcakes, that includes finally buying a pastry bag and piping tips. For running, it's having a proper pair of running shoes, iPhone armband, and our BOB jogging stroller.
Finally, sometimes I need to adjust my expectations and benchmarks of running and blogging. Going back to Bjork's point, "with cross country, if you beat your own previous record you consider the day a success." With my first post-baby half marathon, I couldn't compare that performance to my previous personal record. This time around, I didn't have as much time to train. As with blogging, there are only so many hours in the day and I think it'll be a good week if I post once or twice. That sure beats my current track record of posting once or twice a month!

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