Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Blog about Blogging

I've recently seen the movie Julie and Julia. Julie is bored with her Government job. She decides to cook every recipe from the Julia Child cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and blog about it. I can't believe I hadn't seen this movie before now! Although I am no cook (my idea of a gourmet meal is something ready-marinaded from Coles) I am a major francophile, and much of the film is set in France. It's based on two true stories, too.

The movie has some great lessons for difference-makers. A blog is a great way to get exposure for your difference-making ideas.

1. Julie set herself the goal of cooking all 524 recipes in 356 days, and to post a blog every single day. To persuade her husband of the merits of her plan, she said "A blog gives you something you have to do every day, one day at a time. It's good for me to have short-term goals". She chose a project and committed to it. Commit to a regular plan. You don't have to blog every single day, but the more often the better. The more you write, the more you find to write about.

2. She persevered with her blog, even though there were no results in the short term - "I feel like I'm sending things into this giant void!". Keep going - it takes a while to get traction and build a fan base.

3. She discovered that her writing had real value for her fan base - "A whole group of people connected with me, who need me in some way. If I didn't write, they would be upset". Write for the people who value what you do.

4. She told the truth and reported on her failings, even with her husband saying "You could lie - there are no aspic police". When she dropped a chicken on the floor and the stuffing fell out, she wrote about it. When a famous food editor cancelled her dinner visit, she admitted it in the blog and shared her disappointment. Be authentic - people want to connect with the real you.

5. Finally Julia's blog was published in the New York Times and offers began to flood in. In what was for me the most poignant scene of the film, Julie exclaims "I'm going to be a writer!" Her husband replies "You are a writer. And she was. She hadn't waited for someone to give her permission to write - she just got on and did it. Be a writer!

6. We also see Julia Child's struggle to get her cookbook published, resulting in many disappointments. She eventually succeeded because her friend Avis knew a publisher. Avis had been her pen-friend and they had got to know each other very well through years of correspondence. The modern equivalent would be someone you had met through LinkedIn but never met in person. Build your online networks!

It's a story of individualism and determination to design one's desired life. Julie and Julia both resolved to do something remarkable and refused to be trapped in ordinariness. Thought leaders need to do that too. No one asked Julie to write a cooking blog - her plan sounded crazy at first. But no one else was doing it, and it proved to be a winner.

See the movie if you haven't already. But more importantly, fire up that blog!

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