If You Give a Blogger a Pie….

This is my first “real” blog in three weeks. Not counting the coast videos or the scientific reports on crows.

I love blogging but it’s kind of falling by the wayside as I’ve focused on my Work-in-Progress, on Thanksgiving, now on Christmas countdown. And the problem is the longer I’m away the more I miss it but the more unsure I feel. Kind of like when you haven’t seen someone in a long time: how will they feel about me now?

And that’s exactly how I’m feeling: how will they (and when I say they, I mean you) feel about me now. Sure, I can write about crows, about Canada geese on Casco Bay, about the sunset and the moon and the tides. But can I write about feelings, about writing….can I still write a blog?

Which made me think: what exactly is a blog? And what makes me think I have anything at all to add to the 145 million other blogs out there. Which made me realize: this is crazy. It’s the same question I’ve been asking since my very first blog post. And which reminded me that this is the way I always am when I’ve waited too long to do anything.

Like make a pie crust. When I made the pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving, I was afraid. I love making pie crusts and I used to make them all the time—when my daughter was in her last year of high school I made a quiche every single Sunday. But since she left for college, I haven’t. And I lost my mojo. (Haha, I just love to use that word even though I don’t really know what it means, see second definition in urban dictionary.) Or I thought I lost my mojo (haha again).

But I didn’t. I remembered how to make the pie crust—and it was one of the best pumpkin pies ever. And then two days after Thanksgiving I made a quiche, and that was pretty spectacular, too, if I do say so myself.

And then it hit me. I really didn’t ever forget how to make the pie crust, and I really haven’t forgotten how to blog, either. It’s all coming back. Right? And next time I promise a real blog, whatever that is, or maybe a quiche.

Do you ever doubt your ability to blog or wonder if you really have anything to add to the blogging world?



  1. I often have weeks (or months) when I can’t hit the publish button. But the phases always pass and have become less frequent.
    For better or worse, I am always convinced that I have something to contribute. . .

  2. Hannah, Really? That makes me feel a lot better! Good to know others feel this way, too…

  3. Jen says:

    I have definitely felt the same way before, not only when I’m blogging but also when I’m writing essay and memoir pieces or anything personal. But I think about how much I love to read what other people have to say and to get to know their personalities through their writing. At the risk of sounding like an Afterschool Special, you always have you to add to the blogging world. I enjoy reading what you have to say!

  4. I’m with the others. Whether you’re talking about crows (which TOTALLY count as a ‘real’ blog post), tides, or taking videos – it’s all wonderful to experience through your eyes. Keep at it… and teach me how to bake a pie crust. I’ve been too afraid to ever try (aside from turkey pot pie crust)!

  5. Jen, I’ve been thinking about you; you always know the right thing to say — but especially this time, I LOVE those Afterschool Special’s! And it’s nice to know that there’s only one me and you enjoy reading what I have to say! (p.s. sorry but kinda glad you’ve felt this way before, too!)

    Melissa, Thank goodness the crow and other nature-watching blogs count — I sometimes wonder if they’re related to my writing in a direct enough way. Then again, oh well. As for the pie crust , I can definitely teach you how to make one! (If you’ve made a turkey pot pie crust, it’s just the same, really, right?)

  6. posts says:

    You definitely have interesting things to share about writing and about life. I’ve always enjoyed your blog and I loved your crow study and your posts about your walks. I get how you feel, though. I’m pretty sure that I have nothing unique to add to the blogosphere, but I promised myself that I would post once a week, so I do. I have a few loyal readers who feel like friends now. When I write a new post, I’m mostly writing for them. I’m always surprised, though, by which posts get extra hits.

  7. I write my blog for therapy. My therapists are my readers. I do struggle now and then with keeping an upbeat theme. The commenters (therapy group) keep me on track though.

    I read your blog because I find it fun, beautiful and honest. Please know I would support you even if your pie crust turned out poorly. I know it would taste good on the inside!

  8. Rachel says:

    I very much know how you feel! There are times when I feel like jumping ship. But it’s important to remember than in the end, if you enjoy the process and are writing from your heart, it’s worth it. Even if you reach only one other person. Thanks for this post! I enjoy your blogs.

  9. Julia, I always look forward to your posts… although I wouldn’t mind a quiche. 🙂

  10. “Do you ever doubt your ability to blog or wonder if you really have anything to add to the blogging world?”

    YES. Every time I sit down to write a blog post. LOL!
    It passes after I’ve written one. 🙂

  11. Girl Parker says:

    Julia, I love your blog so never fear, if my opinion counts. =) And I’d absolutely KILL to have pie crust skills. Mine are lifeless and chewy, with nary a flake to be seen.

    As for my blog, I’m sure anything I say has already been covered, BUT I enjoy it and it’s taught me that I’m capable of writing regularly. So the lesson was for me and I’m grateful.

    Can’t wait to see more from you!

  12. Shary, Thanks for your vote of confidence (and for sharing your own experience!). I would disagree about you having nothing unique to add to the blogosphere, but I do agree that it’s all about the personal commitment to ourselves. The friends and commenters are the wonderful bonus. Thank you!

    Suzie, I never thought of it as therapy — maybe because I often feel guarded still on my blog. I agree that commenters are very useful to keep us on track — so thank you so much for keeping me on track! And for your compliments! And for liking my pie (and posts too!) even if the crust doesn’t come out 🙂

    Rachel, I’m glad there are others who feel the same way. I’m glad you enjoy my posts and I feel the same way — writing from the heart is what’s important! Thanks for your comment & visit to my blog!

    Dina, Thanks for the vote of confidence — wish I could send you a quiche! Maybe I can’t but you’ve given me an idea… 🙂

    Cynthia, Really? Seriously? Your blog is wonderful and always adds so much — so that really surprises me. Really! So I’m not surprised the feeling passes!

    Girl Parker, So glad you enjoy my blog. And OF COURSE your opinion counts!! I wish I could teach you and Melissa to make my never-fail pie crust. Maybe I can… stay tuned! (p.s. you’ve brought up the other important reason I blog — to get me writing regularly. That it does!)

  13. Oh yes I wonder about my blogging abilities constantly. My blog has changed so much from when I first started and now I feel like it’s all disorganized. It’s silly because unless someone is paying you to blog (dream job) is it for FUN. So thanks for dropping us a post now and then even though you’re busy being a pie making NOVELIST 😉

  14. That is a beautiful pie! I’ve thought about the direction of my blog too. It has changed a lot since I first started it. But I like how it’s evolved and really represents me. And I think yours is like that too. I love your videos, posts about writing, and experiments with crows. It’s all you and that’s what makes it so great!

  15. *raises hand* I’m with everyone else here, and glad I’m not alone. I write, rewrite, edit, etc. blog posts and there are at least a dozen in draft mode that I’ll probably never finish.

    But, just like you made a spectacular pie, it always works out in the end. I also enjoy your blog posts, Julia, they definitely reflect on writing!

    It takes major skill to make a pie crust from scratch! I’ve never done it, but I’m sure yours is awesome.

  16. Sara, I so agree about feeling disorganized and unsure about how my blog has changed! It’s nice to know someone else feels the same way. As you say, it’s supposed to be fun since we don’t get paid for it… crazy to get so worked up!! And the pay…. something I think about all the time…better get back to that pie-making novel writing to make some dough???

    Leah, Thanks for the pie compliment!! I do enjoy baking pies! I definitely agree that your blog is a huge success specifically because it does seem to represent you and your life. I really like that. I wonder sometimes if I’m pretty veiled with my blog, sticking to topics that don’t reveal too much about me, and it makes it difficult sometimes… (p.s. glad you enjoy the videos and writing posts and of course the crows!)

    Mahesh, Sometimes I think we’re writing twins — you describe your writing habits exactly as I would describe mine! When you mentioned you have “at least a dozen” blogs in draft mode that you’d probably never finish, I had to check my “blog draft” folder. And I have 99 drafts of blogs I’ve written!!!! UNBELIEVABLE. First, that I’ve written that many, second that amounts to half a novel! But great writing practice, right? 🙂 p.s. Since you’ve never baked a pie crust from scratch, I don’t think we’re baking twins 🙂

  17. With you both on the unfinished drafts!

  18. Mahesh & Hannah, This has given me an idea to write a blog about blog drafts 😉

  19. I am so with you on this and feeling pretty mojo-less at the moment.

  20. CMSmith says:

    You’ve got it friend, and you’re never going to lose it.

    I’ve been surprised that some of my most un-blog blog posts are the best received. Go figure.

    I told Mark this morning, “I managed to get through two days without writing a blog. I’m really going to have to come up with something good tomorrow.” 🙂

  21. Lisa, Sorry about the co-mojo-less moments we share…. it’s the pits (but it’s fun to keep up the whacky words and expressions like #SHAZZAM!) Hang in there 🙂

    Christine, OH MY GOSH — that sounds like JUST what I said to Lee two days ago!! The pressure is enormous for (as Sara said) a job with no pay that’s supposed to be FUN. And as you say, some of the most un-blog like posts are the best received — same! (p.s. thank you so much for your sweet compliment, I hope you’re right!)

  22. @Julia and @Christine, your comments lead to an important question (which is a question related to my so-called project about simultaneous stories) what is a blog post? I mean how do you define a blog post? What is an un-bloggy blog post? Things to ponder

  23. country wife says:

    I hear ya, blogging bud.

  24. CMSmith says:

    @Lisa I think that depends on what your vision for your blog is. My vision is to provide heart-felt vignettes of life which includes human as well as the natural world. I want to capture the things that someone in their “midlife” years experiences.

    So when I veer off course and slap something up just to be filling the page, that seems like an unblog post to me. Although, under the umbrella of random thoughts from midlife, just about anything goes.

  25. CMSmith says:

    @Lisa Oh, and one more thing. There are no “so-called” projects. There may be unfunded or volunteer, or private projects. But a project is a project. (Just returning the favor of the little butt-kicking you gave me a while back.)

    Now I’m really gumming up Julia’s site. 🙂

  26. Country Wife, I know you’ve been thinking/feeling similar things — thanks for the support!

  27. wosushi says:

    That pie looks wonderful! I look forward to quiche. Or any blog post for that matter.

    You haven’t lost your mojo 🙂

  28. Oh Julia, I wonder this for EVERY post EVERY time. Just this week I thought about shutting the blog down to focus on my “real” writing since the blog (even at once a week) gets way more attention from me than the fiction.

    But then I eventually settle on a idea for the week’s post, write it, “talk” to people via Twitter and comments and I can’t let it go. I love it too much.

    Then the next week I have to come up with a new post and I hate it all again. I decided it’s a good exercise for me to write for a deadline, even this little self-imposed one. Because don’t we all have the SAME doubts about the fiction?

    I can’t remember who said it, but there are quotes around somewhere about how doubt is an essential component of writing . . . so I guess we’re on the right track?!

  29. JM Merchant says:

    I feel ya Julia, I’ve never been confident about my blog.

    With the number of amazing and meaningful blogs I follow I feel unworthy to post about writing, I have nothing new to add and don’t want to be regurgitating other people’s content. And when I do post about writing it’s usually whinging about how hard it is and no-one wants to read that 🙂

    So I’m trying to find new content to blog about. It’s a struggle and I’m still hoping some great idea will hit me in the face soon.

    Hmm…really thinking I should try pumpkin pie someday…

  30. wosushi, Thanks for the pie compliment! I’ll blog quiche soon 🙂 (p.s. I was just thinking about you today…after seeing a tweet about exciting news?… and I’m glad to see you here!)

    Nina, It’s good to know I’m in such good company…. I thought about the same thing this week. Shut it down because I’m so close to being ready to query…yet I blog? Am I self destructive? I don’t think so… I think as you say it’s the community and feedback that I just never get with my fiction. I totally agree that it’s a good exercise for writing fiction — and it gets me writing so much more than I would. On the other hand, I need to buckle down and if self doubt is part of the process, then so be it.

    Jo, I know you feel the same way — we’ve talked about it before. It’s so funny you would say you feel like your posts are often whining about how hard it is…. that’s EXACTLY what I felt like writing this post!! In fact, I very nearly didn’t post at all this week, wondering: why would anyone care. It seems we all feel the same way… (p.s. as for pumpkin pie: when you do have it make sure it’s served with whipped cream. DELICIOUS!! Wish I could send you one!)

  31. Linda Anselmi says:

    A real blog is what ever you write Julia!

    Writing is not really about words or topics, but connecting with readers. And you definitely connect in hundreds of ways. So whether you serve up pie or quiche – I love your blogs.

    (I think I’ve also got a little crush on MEH)

  32. Linda, Thanks for your support and encouragement; I do love connecting with commenters, and I’m so happy you love my blog posts! (p.s. As for MEH… I’ll let him know he’s getting his own following!)

  33. Julia, I think the “writing twins” description is right on. When you described finishing your novel draft super-fast, that really resonated.

    And you are definitely the Baking Jedi Master! I am but a baking Padawan (I make good chocolate chip cookies, but that’s about it!)

  34. Julia, this is a great post (as evidenced by all the comments) because I think it resonates with every one of us. Blogging scared the heeby-jeebies out of me to start with, but now I LOVE IT. I think it is to do, as you said, with the regularity of doing it. Because I blog every week and this keeps up the momentum. Also, I sometimes have a day where I write blogs in advance, then just go back in and tweek them before putting them up. These have become my ‘no pressure’ writing now, as opposed to the pressure I sometimes feel when working on a book. But I do think that when we have a break from something, all our insecurities and doubts set in. I’m so glad you wrote this blog, and your pie looks amazing – you see, me and pastry – that’s a definite no-no 😀

  35. Mahesh, Maybe it’s the “Claremont-affect” 😉 and chocolate chip cookies? I’ve never been happy with a batch I’ve made! Go figure!

    Abi, Glad you understand! I think you’re right about the regularity. When I started blogging (last February) I posted everyday for four months. It seems extreme now but it was what I really needed to kick myself back into daily writing. It worked (and helped me finish my novel draft), but when I dropped back to fewer posts a week, it became more difficult! So, like you, I need to pick a very regular schedule and stick to it…that way maybe the insecurity and doubt will be kept more at bay. (p.s. really? you don’t like to make pastry?)

  36. Jamie says:

    You make your own pie crusts..and a quiche every day?Good grief. That could be a blog all in itself — it probably is. I read a post about not getting caught up on being a brand or too much social networking. The writer’s advice was if you are too controlled by a “brand” your writing will become a chore. I took from that it’s my blog — so it’s okay to be myself. Just because I live in a small, southern town, not every post has to be about life in a small southern town. Just because I like to keep things light most of the time, doesn’t mean every now and then I can’t write something deeper, at the risk of regular readers “not getting it.” I love reading your insights about life in Maine. Write what your muse nudges you to write. We love reading.

  37. Jamie, Thank you for your kind words — and for your insight too. Very much appreciated…and I’m happy you enjoy reading my blog, especially, because the feeling is mutual! (p.s. I made a quiche every WEEK not every DAY! Still, I do love making pies & quiches and undoubtedly a blog about it is forthcoming 😉

  38. Missy Olive says:

    Every single day I think I have nothing to add. However, I write anyway hoping that someone will find it useful.

    Thanks, and welcome back to real blogging. So glad you didn’t forget how to do it.

  39. Missy, What a brave move to keep blogging when you think you may have nothing to add! I’m coming to believe that this feeling of ours must be universal — so many other bloggers have said the same thing! I’m glad I haven’t forgotten how to do it either…. at least until the next time I try…

  40. I think everyone seems to be in a blog funk right now. People are taking breaks from blogging to recharge their creative batteries which I totally get. I definitely feel the same way you do. What am I contributing? Is it worth it? If I unplugged my blog would anyone miss me?

    Then I think back to why I started in the first place. It is great writing practice as well as a chance to let my voice be heard. Because let me tell you, no one in this house, including my husband, seems to hear a damn word I say. 🙂

    So glad you blog because it is about you. And it is you we have come to love. XO

  41. Hallie, Glad to know I’m not the only one! And I can answer with a resounding YES that I would miss YOUR blog! I agree it’s a great place to practice writing and to let my voice be heard — exactly! And especially thank you for reading my blog & for validating who I am as a writer 🙂

  42. Had to read this one especially, Julia–there’s pie! 🙂

    I feel like I don’t know what I am doing every day of my life. I’m not sure if this is a neurosis or if neurosis is just a part of me now.

  43. Wonderful post, and so timely for me. I have been a laggardly blogger and I also doubted my pie making abilities. Then I made amazing apple and chocolate pie complete with wonderful crusts, and wrote a halfway decent blog… thank you for the reminder that we forget that we can do things, and then live in that fear. -kate

  44. Karen, Glad to offer you some pie! 🙂 Writing seems to do the same thing to me these days… it’s a neurosis-inspring profession, I think! Perhaps it’s the long solitary hours… glad you know how I feel!

    Kate, Wow, chocolate pie sounds AMAZING… I need to try making it sometime! And you exactly named it: I forget and then I live in the fear. Exactly! Thanks for your comment and for your visit to my blog! Nice to meet you!

  45. Patrick Ross says:

    First off, welcome back! Second, as to your question, I have found blogging to be a bit of a struggle the last month, what with work obligations picking up (as a freelancer, that is a good thing) and of course family and holidays. Good to know I’m not alone!

  46. Patrick, As you say, it’s so comforting to know that other bloggers go through these feelings — and that’s great that your work as a freelancer has picked up! And I always underestimate how much time the holidays take, so thank you for that reminder! (p.s Happy Holidays!)

  47. I actually think of my blog as more of a personal writer’s therapy session. It helps me work on my short form, gives me a venue to vent about writerly issues, and keeps my voice fresh. In turn, I hope people get some value out of it…maybe?

  48. Stephanie, I think that’s a great way to think of the blog — personal therapy and a way to work on short form and keep voice fresh… I’ll have to remember that! As for value? No question, I get value out of your blog (and I love your voice!). Thanks for a different way of thinking about it!

  49. Liz says:

    I think there is such an ebb and flow to all of it. Lately it hasn’t been the blogging so much as the social media stuff that I felt like it was much ado about nothing in a few platform instances.

  50. Lisa Ahn says:

    I feel the same about my blog, my writing –oh, let’s just say everything. There’s always that pesky kernel of doubt.
    But your blogs — like your pies — are always delicious!

  51. Liz, I love you using ebb and flow to describe blogging — I think about that all the time, living near the ocean! And sometimes I feel as pulled back and forth as the water in my coastal videos! I can only well imagine how much work goes into the social media stuff; your hard work shows, even if it sometimes feels like much ado about nothing!

    Lisa, Ok, I’ll admit (since you have) that I feel that way about everything too…. that pesky kernal of doubt is omnipresent it seems. So I truly appreciate, all the more, your kind comment about my delicious blog posts…. thank you so much! 🙂

  52. Ann says:

    GREAT post and beautiful pie! I can relate to the cooking! There is a certain “touch” that you acquire when you make pie crusts frequently – same goes for bread. However, it comes back quickly.

    As for doubts about blogging…I have them EVERY time I hit the “post” button!

    ….does it ever go away?

  53. Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and HUGE thanks for the compliment on the pie 🙂 As for blogging doubts, YOU???? Now THAT truly shocks me! And so now I’d guess that it doesn’t ever go away…. if you have doubts!

  54. Blogging is like riding a bicycle, right? You never really forget how to do it.
    That pie looks delicious, my mouth is watering. I bet you didn’t have any leftovers.
    Keep plugging away on your WIP! I’m so excited for you.

  55. Jackie, The pie is LONG gone, you’re so right! As for blogging being like riding a bicycle, that’s true…. but it’s like riding a bicycle with someone on the handle bars helping you steer it! Thanks again for the WIP enouragment — have to admit it’s pretty fun and exciting at this point!

  56. Brandi says:

    I sometimes feel like the tree in the forest. If no one reads it, does it exist? Thank you for writing this! I think it’s a common concern for writers. You just had the courage to come out and say it.

  57. Brandi, That is such a great way to describe it… if no one reads it does it exist. That’s the whole reason I started to blog, by the way — I wanted to find a way to have some of what I write get read! So I suppose even if I don’t feel very courageous, maybe I’m becoming more so! Thanks so much for your comment and especially for your visit to my blog! Nice to meet you!

  58. Julia, I absolutely loved this post! It’s so typical of why I adore your blog . . . you can make even a post about doubting whether you still know how to blog so fascinating it pulls me along at my best speed-reading rate (while at the same time wanting to savor it).

    In fact, now you’ve made me want to read your blog while eating a piece of your pumpkin pie with some of that mojo crust. ;~)

  59. My approach to blogging is to just ramble about whatever’s on my mind. Sure, I feel insecure a lot of the time. What if I’m boring? Boring is terrible! But I like my blog, and I like my blogging buddies, so I grab a little faith that they’ll be reading, even if they’re not commenting. 🙂


  60. Ashlee, I know exactly what you mean… boring is terrible (by the way, YOUR blog is NEVER boring!!!). I worry about being just plain terrible which is so terrible 🙂 But as you say, we need to just have faith, right? And that’s a leap…. (p.s. Thank you for your lovely comments, I appreciate them so very much!)