December 4, 2016

Pumpkin Bread & Sunday Thoughts

It's Sunday! And I'm blogging on a Sunday, rather than working on a post two days before and scheduling it to be posted on Sunday. I used to write every Sunday morning, and I've missed it! It feels so much more...real. That's not to say that I won't work on posts ahead of time going forward - some posts require a bit more work-, but it's nice to switch things up. 

I posted this on my Instagram the other day - and I want to continue that train of thought a little bit more.

I started this blog back in 2012, and a lot has changed - the photos, the type of posts, the blog design - I've changed too!

During my senior year of high school, I started to blog very seriously - pretty much everyday, and that was on top of writing freelance for LoveLiveHealth (which, unfortunately, no longer exists, but you can find some remnants here). This blog was predominantly a recipe blog, and my freelance work was geared towards nutrition and health. 

Like everyone else, I came to a point where I felt like I had exhausted all of my ideas. 
I had writer's block. 

Around that time, I was also in the middle of my freshman year of college. Fortunately, for this blog, I was still able to post fresh, new content that I myself wanted to see (i.e. Halloween Adventures, The Art in Culinary ArtsKrog Street Market Photojournal). At least one hour each weekend was dedicated towards exploring the new city that I was living in (Atlanta), and there was so much to share. 

On the other hand, I found myself coming up with lamer and lamer ideas for my freelance articles. The rough part about writing for this company was that they had a set type of content that they wanted from me. Though I pitched the ideas, the level of creative freedom was still highly restricted. 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved this job and was really upset when the company went under, but working with them taught me that I wanted to have greater control over my own work - I want to be my own boss ;) This experience also taught me that it's good to take a step back, to take a break, and to live a little bit more in order to gain inspiration for future content (we'll get to this later). 

Now you're probably thinking, Hannah, you're never going to be happy working for someone else if found freelance work, where you already get so much freedom, to be restrictive (and maybe good luck making a living working for yourself ;) ). 

I still love working with other companies (take last week's Conscious Holiday Gift Guide, for example!), and I do want to find more freelance opportunities in the future. But, I do want to work for myself too, and that's where this blog comes into play. 

Here, I get to share whatever I want. Sure, a lot of the content is skewed towards food, but if you've been reading for a while, you'll know that there are other topics covered too, like travel and rambles (like this post!). 

Though the variety of content helps to keep this blog fresh and interesting (well, I hope you find it interesting), this blog is still susceptible to hitting that brick wall of "I HAVE NO IDEAS LEFT". 

Right now though, I've been busy at school, with little time and resources to be creative. I don't have convenient access to a kitchen to experiment with recipes in.

And I'm actually facing the opposite problem: I've been inundated with so much inspiration for recipes over these past few months (darn you, Instagram), and I'm so eager to try them all out and share them -- buuuuut I can't physically act on my excitement just yet.

I have this long list of recipes that I want to make over winter break (this is what you do when you can no longer pay attention in class), and I've had to cut it down substantially, because a) winter break isn't long enough to do it all, and b) I want to ensure that I'm posting quality content. 
You see that pumpkin bread in the photos? It was the worst recipe fail that I've faced in a while - my nutrition lab instructor would not be happy with those tunnels ;).

I made this pumpkin bread over Thanksgiving break, hoping that it'd be a success and that I'd be able to share a recipe that contains less sugar/fat. Well, ambitious Hannah took the sugar level down from 3 cups to 1/2 cup, and the fat content down from 1 cup oil to 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup of applesauce - 
I knew better than to not go crazy the first time I try a recipe, especially when I won't get another opportunity to try the recipe again during a short trip home, but sometimes I can't listen to myself.

So that brings us back to the idea of posting quality content - I don't want to throw a recipe onto this blog without testing it to ensure that a reader trying it out will receive very similar (if not the same) results. Some recipes require a lot more trial/error, and I need time to refine the recipes. 

Maybe that's just the perfectionist in me coming out, but I do want to be proud of the work that I share, and I also want my content to be worth my reader's time. 

The question is, how do I balance these opposing forces? How do I balance a) releasing all this pent up excitement and inspiration, with b) patiently experimenting to ensure quality content? 

I still don't know the answer to that question, and I've been thinking about it a lot - it's probably taking up too much of my attention that would better be allocated towards studying for finals ;) 
In the mean time, I have eleven - let's just say that a few more times - 
days until I go home, and I'm can't wait.

I cannot wait to get back into the kitchen and release the creative energy that I'm struggling to suppress ;)

By the way, if you're interested in taking a look at the original recipe, here's the link
For the record: the pumpkin bread still tasted good - anything tastes good when served with a dollop of coconut cream. 

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