Imagine this: You’re in a bar full of strangers, a cramped space with a bulky, bright backpack. You look around sheepishly in the tiny area that houses the event you spontaneously RSVP-ed to.
That person was me a few hours ago. There I was, pretending to be on my phone, clearly the oddball of about 30-something people the age of my mother (and older, too). I had no idea what I actually signed up for, except that it mentioned books and blogging. “At least it’s in a cool place (The Library),” I reassured myself. Five minutes into everyone mingling, I was ready to dip out and sit in a booth by my solitude-loving self.
Well, it ended up being the best Meetup event I’ve attended to date.
This was a food blogging event. It featured bloggers-turned-authors who ended up being the most captivating, inspiring, and absolutely hilarious speakers. I was under the impression that this group specifically arranged for the most comedic people in Wellington to talk about books and blogging.
Initially, I signed up because, well, I want to appreciate the art of cooking while traveling. Put more simply, I really want (and need) to learn how to cook. At 23, that sounds pathetic. I can’t keep using the microwave and stove for all of my meals.
Ironically enough, I ended up sitting next to two of the speakers. It was one of those surreal moments when you know the person next to you is clearly human, but you also think they’re instantly accomplished because they’re the subject of the event at hand. The first speaker discussed her blog that combines her love for gardening and food (Five Course Garden). The second girl opened with a captivating yet comical (and emotional) one-liner introduction (Hungry & Frozen) and carried her charismatic wit throughout the duration of her 20-min speaking time. The third ended up being a prolific blogger (Moon Over Martinborough) and author that I had read about online when I first arrived in New Zealand. Yes, the country is that small – read someone’s blog, and you most likely end up running into that person down the line. The beauty of living in a small community – it’s amazing.
Two of the three speakers published cookbooks, although Jared’s Moon Over Martinborough book is more of a humorous anecdote of his journey in learning how to live on a farm and cook for himself (even with Celiac Disease). Oh yeah, and he’s an American who lived in nothing but big cities before moving to a huge farm in Wairarapa, New Zealand. Clearly, I related to this guy the most, especially when he said things like, “Apparently you raise animals in a paddock when you live on a farm here. And you eat them. They’re your main source of food. Wait, what?”
All of them shared something in common that sparked my interest in their words so dearly: They all loved to write. Each and every one talked about how they pored over journals as kids, writing about anything and everything. All had some experience in communications-related work prior to becoming full-time bloggers, writers, and authors of their own books.
I saw myself in them. I understood them so vividly. Perhaps it was everything combined: their creative spirits, passion for writing, fierce drive, willpower, and “I don’t care, I’m doing this for myself,” attitude. And the best part? They were all so humble – a rarity in today’s society in general. So gracious, eloquent, humorous, and yet still raw and open about their past struggles (both professional and personal) and why they never gave up their main source of energy – writing.
“My book is about my journey. I’m not an expert in any of the things here, I’m just learning. I talk about learning to cook and what it’s like to live on a farm. That’s what I know best[…]” (paraphrased from memory)
– Jared Gulian
This is a recurring theme in blogging and writing in general. It’s not about having a million likes, stats, or followers. It’s about staying true to yourself. There is great vulnerability and risk involved when you choose to blog regularly and publicize it. I even recall writing a column in high school on not understanding the concept of blogging. And now, here I am… six years later, writing because I want to write, and because I want to share my journey with you.
“You” could refer to the vastness of the Milky Way, for all I know – but I write simply because I want to. I want to help inspire, I want to let out my creative juices, I want my thoughts to pour out from my mind to paper (or in this case, a screen)… I want to write because it makes me feel amazing.
When you write, you invest your heart and soul into every word, every thought, every story. Those who take the time to read your content are the ones who relate to you, are inspired by you, and always support you throughout your journey. To each their own – because everyone writes their own story. No two are, or ever will be, the same. Nothing will be more true to you than your words alone.
Life is beautiful. Write on!
And, eventually, I hope I can cook on, as well… one baby step at a time. 🙂