Metablogging: How now Accidental Hedonist?

I have been a busy, busy person over the past few months. I was not only trying to maintain this site, but I was also working on Well Fed as well as well as writing on a book proposal, and then working my day job just to top it all off. There was also a month in there where I was being courted by a local alt-weekly to be a regular contributor, leading me to one very hectic 4 week period of time where I had 5 projects going on at once, with no extra time for myself or my family, let alone providing extra time for the projects that needed it. Since that time, I have learned to say “no” to a few of the other opportunities that have knocked upon my door. Then the company that owned Well Fed (of which I was a partner) dissolved, and I was able to hand over the keys of the Food Blog Network to the capable hands of Cate O’Malley. Suddenly, I found myself with a resource I hadn’t seen in a while – free time.

I’m not sure that anyone noticed, but I felt that my writing over these past months had become both jaded and predictable. These were the mitigating factors in taking a few days away from the blog and this time gave me a chance to look at Accidental Hedonist with my own critical eye with the goal of seeing what can be improved. Here are some ideas that I’ve come upon that I hope to implement:

  • A new look: I know, I know…I change the look of Accidental Hedonist more often than most, but I’m very big on how the site feels to me. Right now, it feels constrictive and plain. Plus, I’ve grown very tired of the color scheme.

    Additionally, I have some very specific ideas on what this site might be able to do if the proper tools and site layout are implemented. Currently, these ideas will not work with this blog template, nor any of the previous ones.

    Expect to see some movement on this in the coming months.

  • A schedule: One of the things I’ve come to realize in writing about food is that there’s a daily chance to be outraged by its producers or those who regulate it. What I’ve also found out is that daily outrage leads to cynicism, which in turn leads to making writing about food not fun.

    I’m not a huge fan of things which are “not fun”, but I also realize that these things need to be talked about, and that many people have come to rely on me and my opinion regarding such outrages. To compromise, I’m only going to write about these things in detail twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My idea is to have one post be a somewhat detailed look at a specific topic (be it HFCS, mad cow, or whatnot), and a second post be a collection of other items which I think need to be brought to people’s attention. This make more sense once you see it implemented.

    That gives me the rest of the week to do what I love most about food writing – researching and exploring various cuisines, ingredients and restaurants. Expect one day a week to deal with something local in the Seattle area, 2 recipes a week, and then the rest of the time to deal with various trivia and hints surrounding the food exploring.

    My goal here is to provide a little bit of everything, with the end result that the regular readers of the site are entertained, provoked and in some cases, educated to at least one new bit of information every couple of weeks. You can consider this paragraph a very clumsy attempt at a mission statement.

  • Engage in a dialogue, not a monologue: What this means is that I hope to participate in the comment of this site, as well as others, with the purpose of sussing out either an informed opinion, or an informed knowledge base (can you tell I work in Software requirements?). This is the area where I’ve been extremely lacking of late, for which I offer an apology.

    Meanwhile, I hope to keep up the various “Our readers are the best” and “We get letters” series of posts, in order to maintain the connection to those of you who participate in the aforementioned dialogue.

Additionally, there are one or two announcements that I wish to make in regard to this site that will have to wait for a while. But rest assured, I do have a very specific direction for this site.

Meanwhile, If you have any ideas of your own for the direction of this site, please feel free to leave them in the comments of this post.

Finally, in the midst of this self criticism, I wanted to say thanks to all of you readers out there. A week or so a ago, I passed the 5,000 readers on bloglines, and this site is in the top 200 sites. What this means is that along with the people who visit this site on a regular basis, Accidental Hedonist has a readership of close to 7000 people per day! Thanks to all of you for making Accidental Hedonist a regular stop.

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