I seem to be starting my new year at somewhat loose ends. While 2011 was a very good and productive year in terms of work, and certainly beat 2010 in terms of emotional issues (yay for nobody close to us dying), I was left feeling that I didn’t accomplish very much.
This whole food writing thing, you see, well it was/is somewhat of a diversion. My original goal in “becoming a writer” was to write novels, or lovely descriptive essays. Since 2005 I’ve had a 90,000 word novel sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to get up the nerve to send it off to an agent or publisher. I also have about half a book’s worth of food-related memoirs and essays and a list of other pieces to write…
The food writing thing happened a bit by accident. A friend who had once worked as Margaret Atwood’s assistant told me that to help get publishers interested in my fiction, it would help to have “a name”. A series of events led to job offers at a couple of publications and then Greg and I started TasteTO, and suddenly I had “a name”. (At least it seems so, based on the number of people who Google my name and hit this website.)
Anyway, I jumped on the food writing because it was my area of expertise, but also because, at the time, it was fresh and exciting. Five years later and I’m feeling a bit burnt out, unsure of where I want to go with it all. I’m not complaining about my gig at Toronto.com, but I’m not exactly writing hard news, y’know? I am aware of the fluff level of the content I’m generating compared to everything else going on in the world.
Part of me longs to get back into the long interviews and profiles we did at TasteTO – those at least made me feel as if I was really “writing”. But the Google analytics don’t lie – spending 5 or even 8 hours to write an article and seeing that the average reader spend 30 seconds on that page is incredibly disheartening.
So, yeah… loose ends. I still want to write about food in Toronto, but I really don’t want to do the same thing that everyone else is doing. And I feel that, by having spent the last year mostly writing little short 100-word pieces (which granted, are often harder to create than a 1000 word piece, trust me), I’ve sort of lost my edge. Or that my edge is different somehow.
All of this is basically to say that I’m not sure how much new content I’ll be adding here in the coming months, or what form that content will take. I’ve scrapped Lucky Dip – while it’s fun to do, it takes a long time and doesn’t actually get that many readers – and I’m trying to direct my free writing time to the aforementioned books. I’m also still working on transferring my old TasteTO content over here so it’s publicly accessible.
I’m sure that I’ll figure out which direction to point myself in, but in the meantime, I’m taking the opportunity to deal with some other issues, think, daydream, plot and muse, and spend more time with friends who I have neglected for far too long.