You may have observed that unlike many other bloggers I do not make posts very frequently. Well, it certainly is my wish and interest to make a few posts every month. With a full time job in the IT industry and two lovely kids that occupy rest of my time, it is certainly a challenge to find time for blogging. I keep telling myself that I should not claim this as an excuse and have to push myself harder to strike a better balance. I’m trying to treat blogging as my second job, create a work pattern, and give it the discipline that it deserves, but it often ends up being in the back burner.
A good blog post is at least a day’s worth of work. This is over and above the several hours of effort spent on planning and preparation. All bloggers committed to sharing quality content with their audience will subscribe to this without a thought. We keep our antennae high and raised to pick up ideas and inspirations from everywhere, add our creativity and thought process to develop the idea and shape it into a recipe, test it diligently in our kitchens multiple times to refine it, perfect it, document it, and become confident about sharing it. Doesn’t this sound like a lot of effort to you already? Wait, we’ve just read the first chapter of the blogging book.
Once the recipe passes our own validations and gets certified to be blog ready, the content packaging and presentation process starts. The visual and verbal parts begin to get designed and go through several iterations back and forth in our minds before making way into the blog. Good photography involves coming up with a storyboard for the pictures. This is a very important planning aspect; many photographers come up with an elaborate storyboard and create sketches for every picture in it. They spend considerable effort to meticulously translate the vision for their shots into detailed prototypes. To bring out the story effectively, every such blueprint brings together a wide variety of elements – the color palette, choice of props and their placement, nature and direction of light, angle of the shot and much more.
Assuming that you have camera ready food and everything else works the way you wanted, it takes a good couple of hours to get a few solid shots. But this is often not the case. When you are all set to shoot, the sun could go hide under the clouds and when it decides to come out, your popsicle would have started to melt or the bubbly cheese could end up looking cold and rubbery. Sometimes everything may fall perfectly in place, but your styling ideas that looked spectacular on paper could turn out sloppy in real pictures. There have been many times when I have discarded all the pictures from an entire shoot, gotten frustrated, lost confidence and called it quits. When it happens, it takes time and effort to get oneself back together and go through the process all over again. You must go through a “photographer’s frustration” to be able to relate to that.
After releasing the shutter a hundred times (if not more), you sift the clicks through your eyes back and forth and finally manage to get a handful of pictures that you are comfortable with. This then goes through the trickier make over process of editing. You’ve got to know how much is too much to get an aesthetically appealing output. According to me, a picture gets 60% of its beauty from the original capture and 40% from post processing. You need to be artistic and skillful in both of the domains to bring out jaw dropping pictures.
I do not want to continue elaborating the process and bore you to death, but the fact of the matter is, coming up with a quality blog post is no easy feat. The effort that goes behind the scenes is phenomenal and it may not be obvious to the audience, but every single post integrates the artist’s creativity, skill, passion, persistence, and hard work. It is an output of several hours of learning and practice. It is a big step and a small milestone in every blogger’s journey and dream.
It hurts immensely when people lift and load such dedicated and passionate hard work of others heartlessly. From pictures to recipes to an entire blog post and more, content is being plagiarized left and right today. It blows your mind to see how friends, fellow bloggers, product promoters, content aggregators, and others do not hesitate to make your work theirs with absolutely no ethics, courtesy or credit. It’s every content creator’s desire and dream that this plight would cease, but unfortunately it only appears to increase.
We bloggers look up to you, our audience to help us fight plagiarism. You have been an integral part of our journey and will continue to be an important component of our success. The extent of electronic plagiarism in today’s world requires the content owners to be omnipresent and we can achieve that if you will be our eyes and ears. Be there for us; make our radars stronger, wider and more powerful. Together let’s put the bloglifters to shame. Thank you!
P.S – ‘Bloglifting’ isn’t a real word and I tried to coin it akin to shoplifting :).
Let’s talk about this beautiful recipe now. The lovely cherry tomatoes and sweet basil from my organic home garden inspired me to come up with this one.It is a quickie and you can get it done under ten minutes from start to finish. The flavors bursting from the basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, the sweetness from the cherry tomatoes and the salty bite from the gooey mozzarella – all come together to top the crusty rustic bruschetta and give you a scrumptious appetizer. I’m broiling it instead of baking and this cuts down the cooking time quite considerably. It’s so simple to make. All you need is a few minutes and a handful of good ingredients. Try it, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
10 slices of fresh baguette or ciabatta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes
10-12 leaves of fresh basil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Set your oven to broil.
Slice cherry tomatoes in halves or thirds. Dice, if using larger tomatoes. Julienne basil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to this mixture and gently toss to coat. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, lay the bread slices on a cookie sheet. Top each slice generously with shredded mozzarella. Add a spoonful of tomatoes and place the cookie sheet on the top most rack of the oven. Broil for 1-2 minutes until the edges turn golden brown and the cheese melts.
Remove from oven, add basil and serve immediately.
- If you have never used the broil option in your oven before, take this as an opportunity to try it. All that you have to do is turn it on and start using it in a couple of mins. No preheating is required.
- The time it takes to toast the bread depends on your broiler. Try toasting a couple of slices for just one minute and keep adding a minute till you see the edges turn brown. It should not take more than 2-3 minutes to get your bread nicely toasted.
- Some broilers have low and high broiler options. Use the low broil option, if available. High broil could get the bread burnt quickly.
- You can use a grill, grill pan or heavy skillet for this recipe if you don’t have a broiler or not comfortable using it.
- You can add finely chopped basil to the oil – vinegar mixture if you like a stronger basil flavor.