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A Look Back on Food Blog Forum at Walt Disney World, 2013 Edition

Food Blog Forum Orlando 2013 Lessons

When I reflect on my early days of blogging, I remember struggling with the role of self in blog posts. I was a journalist testing the waters in this completely unfamiliar territory, and I wanted to do it right. Coming from a journalism perspective, it felt unnatural to use “I” in my posts but at the same time, I knew blogging was different. So while I’d lived and breathed a style of writing that required the absence of self, I had to find a way to let me into my writing.

It took a while to feel comfortable talking about myself, and opening up about my infant son and life in Connecticut.

These days, I can’t help but talk about all of this and more. If you’ve read my e-book Better Blog Writing, you know that I now believe it’s absolutely essential to share a little of yourself in every blog post. You are what makes your blog special — because no one is like you.

More than seven and a half years later, I have become an integral part of my writing. I’ve largely left behind my journalism career in favor of recipe developing, blog writing and magazine writing — and I couldn’t be happier. Still, I often wonder if I am sharing enough of myself with readers. Do my posts touch you? Do they leave you wanting to get into the kitchen? Do they make you yearn for a moment at the mixer with a giggling child?

Those are my goals — to awaken something inside you that makes you want to cook more and to encourage that feeling of “me too.”

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Food Blog Forum in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World. Our conference was held in the lovely Grand Floridian Resort. The weekend was filled with networking and learning that is so essential to growth as a creator.

As I listened to Jeff Houck, David LeiteJulie Deily and Lindsay Landis talk community building during the conference it struck me that sharing bits of myself through my writing isn’t just about delivering powerful content. It’s also about building a community of food lovers right here on Sarah’s Cucina Bella. My blog stats tell me that there are a number of you who come back and read often — even if you aren’t the one commenting on posts. And knowing that people are dropping by and keeping up with my family and our kitchen endeavors means so much.

Whether you comment or not, you are part of this community.

“We make community wherever we are online,” Houck said. And he’s right.

Food Blog Forum Orlando 2013

What I learned at Food Blog Forum this year wasn’t as concrete and actionable as last year. But that doesn’t negate the value of it. It was about the nuances — encouraging the little things that make each blog special, being open to change and pursuing those things that lead to happiness now.

One of my favorite takeaways came from Senior Project Manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, Tim Warzecha. Warzecha shared with us the intense process and thought that goes into everything new at Disney. The attention to detail as they strive to be authentic and adhere to themes is amazing — and it’s something that can really be applied to blogging. He said, “Don’t be afraid to be inspired by something that might inspire you.”

In other words, inspiration can come from anywhere — if you have the courage to accept it. I love that.

Also, after listening to Diane Cu and Todd Porter from White on Rice Couple speak about the visuals of blogging, I was inspired to create a short video sharing what I loved about Food Blog Forum this year. I hope you like it. As Cu said, “Food isn’t always about a recipe. It’s about moments.”

Thank you to Walt Disney World for hosting this incredible conference. And thank you to all the sponsors, speakers and organizers for bringing together such an inspiring and wonderful group of men and women. Some of my favorite moments from the weekend were those that happened on the fly — the hugs from a favorite blogger, meeting some wonderful writers and photographers who inspire me daily and catching up with a dear friend.

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Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos

Wednesday 29th of May 2013

Fantastic points Sarah! Food Blog Forum really hit the mark this year and gave alot of food for thought :) The food blogging community is pretty amazing and we can all learn from each other.


Monday 27th of May 2013

Wish I could have been there, but since I wasn't able to attend your post was a nice overview of important lessons to keep in mind when blogging!

Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

Monday 27th of May 2013

I often wonder the same thing and am challenging myself to be a bit more personal in my posts. Great recap Sarah - it was so nice to finally meet you in person!