Friday, September 04, 2009

How this blog helped me choose my new profession

This food blog is three and a half years old. I have had a wonderful time working on it, and plan to continue updating it as often as possible.

Still, at times I wondered what my motivation was, why I was I so into it. Though I love baking, I knew there was something more that made me stay up late nights working on it. I sometimes told my husband, "you know, there's something here that's important to me, it's not just about the food." He watched patiently as I squandered hours of my time, trying new complicated recipes, photographing the process and writing it up in detail.

And then in February, I read about a new profession, and had a revelation: I wanted to become a visual explainer.

My inspiration came from Common Craft. They make great explanatory videos on all sorts of subjects, financial, technical or political. They use very simple paper cut-out drawings, and simple animation, and this makes the whole message so much more clear and less daunting than the usual marketing blah blah blah.

I figured the world could use a lot more explainers, and decided to try my luck, using my own simple drawings. I made a few sample presentations, set up my web site, and voilà, I am now a freelance visual explainer.

Every minute I spend working on this project is a sheer joy. I look forward to trying new formats and techniques. I plan to work with other kinds of visuals, with professional voice talents, and with professional illustrators. What I really enjoy is building a visual story that explains a concept simply.

So what does this project have to do with La Cerise, other than robbing all my time and energy? It occurred to me that what I particularly enjoy with food blogging is using a combination of photos, text and sometimes videos to teach others what I have learned. And viewers seem to appreciate visual tutorials, as the post on my blog that gets the most hits, the first in a series about croissants, is one in which I quickly threw some photos on Powerpoint slides and wrote some comments alongside each.

Using visuals tools to explain baking techniques is what I enjoy on this blog

My attempts with video were rudimentary to say the least (hello, lighting anyone?), but I loved making them and only wish they were faster to produce.

There is one major difference between La Cerise and Visual Explainer. Where one is long-winded and detailed, the other strives for conciseness. La Cerise addresses people who are interested in baking to begin with. People who aren't will naturally gravitate to other blogs. So here I can go into all sorts of details that only a baking nerd might appreciate.

With Visual Explainer, it's the opposite. My challenge is to make short presentations that capture the attention of even the most jaded, the most bewildered or the most distracted of internet users. No time to read manuals, brochures or white papers? Start with a short visual presentation just to get your bearings. If I've done my job right, you'll understand why you should care, and why you should read more about the subject.

So I hope you'll forgive this off-topic, self-promoting post. The next one will be about food. But if you know of anyone who might need my services, send them to my web site. And I'm always grateful for tips and advice.

Make it easy to understand. Say it with visuals.

To see some examples, visit



linda said...

How wonderful for you! Hope you get lots of projects...well not too need time for the girls and baking too ;)

Gay said...

yay!! new posts to read. I am glad you are still baking.
Looking forward to seeing you this fall. What shall I make for you? I'm really good with cocktails!
Good luck with the latest project - shall share it with everyone I can.

joa said...

Oh wow, I just found your blog by a Google search of French recipes for baking, and I hit the jackpot! You have an amazing, resourceful, and entertaining blog! I will be coming back. I'm actually the president of my French Club and will be posting this link to everyone in the club :)

Bientôt, les membres du clube et moi, nous allons héberger une vente des petits-gateaux! Merci beaucoup!

Anonymous said...

Well done. I think all your admirers will excuse what you call "self-promotion". After all, they are the source of your inspiration. Just dont let success go to ... your oven. Keep baking, telling others about your results and, of course, share them with your family.

Astrid said...

Alas, this blog has been sadly neglected lately. But I am still baking, and definitely plan to publish new posts soon.

Linda, thanks, I'm delighed to report I am getting some real clients, but I'll always work hard on keeping a balance...

Gay, it was lovely to see you! But hey, where were the cocktails?

Joa, wow, thank you, your comment makes me feel great! I'm glad you find my blog useful and entertaining. Actually, if I had to list two objectives for this blog those would be the ones. Let me know how the recipes work for you or members of your club.

Aw, Dad, it's not about admirers, enthusiastic comments are de rigueur on food blogs! But yes, I'll feed you sweets every chance I get.

Claudia said...

Haven't stopped here for a while - but I found great news! Good luck to you and your new business! All the best for 2010!

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