|First blog post at original blogspot blog on 3/28/06|
For both personal and philosophical reasons, I've decided to change the focus of Urban Vegan to a review-only blog. I'm pretty stoked about the fresh start. And I'm thrilled that plant-based diets are now much more common. But before I get to reviewing, here's why I'm changing my focus:
1. I'm burned out.
|Thinking outside the box is exhausting.|
2. I missed cooking for pleasure.
3. I only have so much time. See #1. I've really been into running and marathon and half-marathon training, and I only have so much free time.
1. I stand against this new culture of working for free...
|Poster from theshoppedesigns.com|
Nowadays, our first exposure to working for free is often through unpaid college internships [which in some cases, are illegal, but in this economy, students do them anyway]. Writers, photographers, artists, and chefs are often asked to give away their content and art work for free or "on spec." Or we give it away for free by choice via social media, forfeiting our intellectual property rights. I am constantly asked to contribute free blog posts [which I used to do often but now will only do for worthy charities]. Recently, for example, a well-known athletic software company asked me if I would write a 500-word blog post for them on vegan nutrition for athletes. I said sure, if they would give me a free subscription to their service in return. No answer? No blog post. I do not work for free. [Say it with me, people. "I do not work for free." Power to the creatives!] Giving away content, art, recipes and photography undervalues what creatives do. Know what your work is worth.
Working for almost free is almost as bad. Many cookbook contracts, for example, have ridiculous stipulations that have authors largely doing their own publicity. When you factor in social media and day jobs, that's a lot of time. And just because you're a great cook doesn't mean you're a great publicist. I was very lucky. I'm grateful that my current publisher, Quarry Books did a phenomenal job of co-publicizing my most recent book Pies and Tarts with Heart But many of my vegan/vegetarian cookbook author friends have not been so lucky. "Cookbook author" sounds like a glamorous job, but it can sometimes amount to less than minimum wage.
I've given away tons of recipes and photos on my blog. In my case, my impetus was altruistic: I wanted to help animals, and raise awareness about factory farming and the then-new paradigm shift in the way we eat. I guess good karma came into play, because, working with my agent, it helped me land a bona-fide cookbook contract, and I think I accomplished all my goals. Since there are a plethora of fabulous vegan recipe blogs now, I humbly leave the recipes to them.
- Unsure if you should work for free? Check out this helpful, delightfully snarky infographic.
- Several people have recommended the book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy
2. Whatever happened to quality and originality? When I started blogging 8 years ago, it was a completely innocent, honest world. There was less appropriation and more creative, fresh material and perspectives. It wasn't de rigueur for bloggers to post every precious [and not-so-precious] moment on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Now, the blogosphere and social media is largely filled with "noise." Sorry, but it's true. Everyone is a ______ [insert creative profession here]. My feed is polluted with regurgitated articles, recipes and craft ideas that have been done [and redone] to death. True originality is a rarity.
So there you have it. Part burnout. Part revolutionary [Power to the creatives!]. I'm excited to be embarking on my new adventure!