I didn’t think to make a big post mentioning it sooner, as I wasn’t sure anybody would care, but some of you have sent emails asking (and thanks for that – they are very much appreciated), so here’s the scoop – I am officially on a break while I work to finish a book that I started some time ago.
Why now? Well, the timing is good. I am in between regular gigs, and I’m feeling a bit burned out in terms of social media and keeping up on local food news. I’ve been trying to find time to really work on this book (a collection of food-related stories and essays) since the beginning of the year, and no matter how much I tried to juggle my schedule to make it fit, there just never seemed to be time.
After seven years of work at various food-writing gigs on a mostly full-time basis, I’m also feeling burnt out. Meals that should have been memorable and distinct have all started to blend together in my head, and while I’m excited at how amazing Toronto’s food scene has become in the past few years, I’m also overwhelmed; it’s become impossible to keep up – with restaurants, with food blogs, with events or news. Add to that the 15 (!!) pounds I’ve gained in the past few years, and it’s clear that I need to be eating fewer restaurant dinners of foie gras and pork belly and many more homemade salads.
The timing is also right in terms of publishing. Folks who were fans of my old site TasteTO might remember that 2 years ago, we announced the creation of a publishing company that was then never heard from again. We decided to wait and see where things went with e-readers and indie publishing, and after a few years of industry growth, and much research on our part, it would seem that the time is now ripe for independent publishing houses, self-publishing and anybody looking to publish digitally.
In addition to my food writing sabbatical and restaurant dining sabbatical, I’m also planning a break from social media. This will be the hardest thing to give up, but I find it increasingly necessary. Even though I’ve already stopped reading food blogs and food news, even though I’ve muted most food-related Twitter accounts that I follow, I’m feeling the need for a real break. Ideally, I’d take my sabbatical in a cabin in the woods so I could truly cut myself off to write, but that’s not really practical. But as with other aspects of a job that I’ve done full-on for 7 years, I’m feeling overwhelmed and a bit worn down by it all, especially because all of the social networking I feel that I should be keeping up with doesn’t make me feel very social at all.
I am on FaceBook and Twitter because I feel obligated to be. And while I often enjoy keeping in touch with people there, there are also many drawbacks to having so much information coming at you, not to mention being expected to constantly offer information in return. Although it was only 10 years ago, and it was only LiveJournal, I can remember when “social media” actually meant writing things out to share your thoughts, and writing comments and replies as well, instead of just hitting “Like” or “re-tweet”. I feel as if the need to keep up with social media has taken away the time, energy and enthusiasm I could devote to REAL writing; take a look at this blog, for instance – I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything other than a round-up of news or links to other people’s work.
So I am disappearing for a while in which I will write, cook (I had really started to miss cooking, and while I do enjoy eating out, I am so happy to be in my own kitchen making dinner again!), exercise, dream, plan and hopefully come out the other side rejuvenated, relaxed and with a real physical testament to my efforts in the form of a book that you can (if you want) hold in your hands.
In the interim, it is my hope to actually post here more often, with real stories, real writing and real developments of my progress.
I can still be contacted via email if you need to reach me, but I am now officially out of the loop until probably early Autumn.
Be well and I’ll see ya when I see ya.