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How We Blog

Hello, my name is Matt. You may know me from our modestly visited blog, which I am currently writing for at 8:49PM on a Tuesday night, or perhaps from my reasonably well read cookbook, Eat Like a Dinosaur. Or, maybe you don’t know me. Stacy recently found out during her trip to Austin that many people who are familiar with our blog and other works are not quite aware of, well, my participation. That simultaneously makes me a sad panda and an amused otter. Believe it or not, I am at least 40% of the output of the PaleoParents.com factory. Here is the story of how the sausage gets made.

No doubt about it, Stacy is the face of the blog. If you’re going out to meet the Paleo Parents, chances are you are going to see Stacy and you’ll likely not see me at all. I have a lot of social anxiety that has me conveniently missing a lot of public functions. When Stacy went to Austin, I stayed home. When Stacy presented at a local mom’s club, she took Cole. Heck, I often don’t even attend my own Meat-Ups! Stacy is much more facile with people and loves to hang out with friends. I, on the other hand, prefer to be in the kitchen. We’re like a Paula Abdul video and I’m a jazzy, rapping cat!

So what is my role? Well, first of all, I’m the cook. Almost all the recipes are created and written by me (with some notable exceptions, of course). Stacy does most of the more personal, journey stuff and much of the family blogging stuff. But if it’s something that’s failing to make you laugh? Me. I also do some recap stuff. Overall, I’d say the writing load is pretty evenly divided between us.

All the social media is generally handled by Stacy, she runs our Facebook group, our Twitter account, and our Pinterest boards. I was told to take over Google+ but, as you can tell by the lack of activity on there, I’ve resoundingly failed! Keep in mind she does this while working an extremely intensive full time job (this is why often answers to questions on Facebook are brief).

Meanwhile, I generally run the post comments and inbox unless there is a question specifically for Stacy (did you know we sometimes get hundreds a day, and answer them all!). When we have audio visual stuff, I’m handling it (I’ve become nearly competent in my use of Garage Band and iMovie!). If there is a round up or giveaway, Stacy usually is in charge, but often I’ll do the writing.

How this usually begins is with Stacy and her camera.

While I usually cook with the boys in our kitchen, Stacy takes photos. She’s usually the one with an idea for a recipe, and I execute making it. So she’s our director. The best part is when she’ll yell out “PAUSE!” and everyone in the family will freeze in place like some sort of culinary game of red light/green light. She’ll snap the picture of us “in action” while we try really hard not to giggle. Other times, she’ll arrive home with dinner already done, the kitchen already a disaster and be left only with a pretty plate to photograph.

The boys have learned not to eat until mommy takes a picture, so on some evenings you’ll see the boys perched at their plates waiting for the starting pistol to sound. After the boys are to bed, she’ll get on the “big computer” and edit that day’s photographs, culling out the inevitable goofy faces and splattered platters and cropping the spaces that used to contain running children. She gets the benefit of wildlife assisting her in this endeavor, usually.

Meanwhile, if it’s a recipe post, I’ll start writing the post on the “little computer”. I’ll insert all the lame jokes, strange pop culture tidbits from the mid-90s, and the most dorky references to Star Wars and Marvel Comics I can pull out. Reading my blog entries is totally like when Wolverine fought Boba Fett at the Pearl Jam concert! Once Stacy’s done with the photos, she’ll load those photos on the site and take out all the lame stuff that I write because, in her words, “No one is going to understand what you’re talking about!”

Thoroughly edited for mainstream appeal, I’ll do all the web geekery stuff for the post that helps people find it if they try to use Google or any other modern day media. Without the SEO data, you don’t have that “summary” of a post when you link on Facebook. So, if you “share” our post – rest assured, I’ve got you covered! Then, I schedule it. Voila! A blog post is born.

On average, it takes about 6 hours for us to complete a post, more if it’s lengthy. Often, Stacy does the photo editing on the weekend so that she doesn’t have to worry about it during the week. Then I blog while the boys nap or in the evening.

Not only is this the typical pattern of our blogging, but it’s also how we wrote the book as well. Although back then, we didn’t have fancy computers or a nice camera! The first pass through most of the book was me. Stacy then completely rewrote and edited before I took a final stab at it. Meanwhile, Stacy and Amanda did all the design of the book and agonized over what the most perfect choice would be on every page before we turned in the manuscript and design templates to our publisher. Stacy, you see, is a perfectionist; I still catch her obsessing about tiny errors that have slipped through the cracks!

Often times people ask us how to grow their blog. Really, it’s all about hard work. And shameless self-promotion just below the point of obnoxiousness. But mostly hard work. In the beginning, we tried to put our work in front of as many eyes as possible, participating in blogging round ups, and on recipe sharing sites (Chowstalker was our first, then Dessertstalker opened and FastPaleo and Foodee shortly followed).

We also had a number of fortunate breaks along the way. Stacy found and befriended Shirley of GFE from her What Losing 100lbs Feels Like post. This led her to gain enough confidence to invite Liz of CaveGirlEats over for dinner. Liz then introduced us to B&H from Primal-Palate and forced us to contact a publisher about our book. After that, the Twitter and Facebook friendships grew – Stacy then attended Diane’s Seminar and met the genius behind BalancedBites. Big names in the community wanted to help with the book, and we became more stupefied everyday.

Then, our 2 part video interview with Richard at Free the Animal was a big catapult into a larger audience. Getting our 200 pound lost post and How to Keep Your Paleo Family Out of the Poorhouse to go slightly viral on Facebook and Reddit was also a big deal. Really, though, the best thing Stacy did was to be herself and start meeting people. The friendships we’ve made through this blog have been both surprising and inspiring in a complete Wayne-and-Garth-Meeting-Alice-Cooper “We’re not worthy” experience!

Anyway, if you were curious as to how this blog works, that’s how! If you weren’t curious, how about an awkward photo to sooth your discomfort from this post? Here’s what I look like at 11:28PM on a Tuesday night (yes, I’m wearing a geeky t-shirt – that’s my uniform) while writing the thing!

Please note the pontificating finger poised to make a very astute observation and the raised eyebrow that challenges conventional wisdom.
Also note the webcam photo because we’re computing 24/7.

Finally, a question for you. For the past few weeks we’ve tried an experiment with guest posts every Wednesday. We hope you enjoyed reading different voices with different information and points of view. We’re thinking about making that a regular Wednesday feature. It is our hope that this will accomplish several things:

  1. Give us half a break during the week where we don’t have to be blogging at 11:37 PM.
  2. Give you a chance to experience new writers, often from blogs you don’t read.
  3. Help the guest writers find you, who might enjoy their work.

I think everyone wins here! So, I hope this plan excites you because it’s really exciting me! In a completely chaste way!

And now that I’ve blogged, I can go to bed. Hey, would you look at that! It’s 11:44 PM so I’m going to be in bed before midnight! Stacy’s work will begin tomorrow morning before work, when she’ll edit this post, massage my jokes, add a bunch of links and include more photos, making it much more palatable for you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • As a blogger, that was SO interesting to me. Yes, 6 hours a post – I think that’s a pretty common and little known fact outside the blogosphere. Interesting to see how you and Stacy weave your different skills together to make a united whole. A whole lot of work on top of everything else. And I, for one, enjoy your wit immensely. 🙂

    •  This one was a short one for us, actually. It only took 4 hours!

      I wouldn’t say I’m completely witty. More like 50%, really. I’m a half-wit.

  • Shirley @ gfe

    Terrific post, and I’m so honored by the mention! You didn’t need me to go forward, make connections, and ultimately create a fabulous cookbook, but it’s sweet to know that my words of awe and encouragement to Stacy helped her branch out in your Paleo Parents mission! 🙂 No worries on short and sweet replies … I’m actually jealous you can pull those off. 😉 I need lessons on those. LOL, but true!

    Shirley

    •  Shirley, I don’t know how you have the time to keep up with so many other blogs and attempt to foster community like you do! You’re way more active and awesome than you give yourself credit for!

  • Katie Osborne

    I had no idea the time and effort it took to maintain such an awesome blog! I will no longer take new entries for granted. I will give them the time and attention they deserve. Party on!

    •  A few people read each one of these, so even if you spend five minutes reading it, only 71 other people need read it for it to equal 6 hours.

      Or at least that’s the math equation I use to convince myself the time is worth it!

  • I love this post!  I’m a brand-new, baby blogger and the insight into your “process” is very timely.  I wonder, do you have a favorite resource as to how you learned all the SEO, convince people to check out your blog stuff?  I don’t know where to start. 🙂  And YES!  I love the guest posts on Wednesdays idea.  I love the Paleo Mom and was happy to see her posting here as I think she’d be a fabulous resource for our community, being a sciency smarty pants type. 😉 

    •  Honestly, we’re completely self-taught. If there is a resource out there, we may still need it! Our best advice is above, really: talk to people, get your name out there, produce interesting ideas!

  • Kmhickey

    I love your blog, I check it everyday! Just got your book ordered at the library here in Australia and getting the kids to choose a recipe for dinner. Can’t wait to read it. You’re all amazing!!

  • Cat @ NeoHomesteading.com

    What a great post! I relate to y’all so much. I’m a dork and I have horrible social anxiety… being a tattooed “freak” does not help. (Why are they looking at me!??? – usually this question is answered with an eye roll and a big DUH! ) Also I’ve been overweight off and on most of my life. Yatta, yatta.

    What I mean is, you guys are bad ass. I always feel a little less odd when I stop by and see your vibrant family! Watching your journey unravel is such a blast!

  • Cat @ NeoHomesteading.com

    PS- I still think Stacy should atleast try Neil Gaiman. He writes novels too!

    • Listen, I didn’t marry a geek for nothin’. I got my own quirks and geeky moments… and I know Gaiman has Tori Amos references. I just don’t like picture stories for adults!

  • Whitney

    Sorry Matt! Finding out you respond to things in the inbox and I always address them to Stacy. Oops! I’ll have to remember that in the future. Granted, last time I had a regular email conversation was many moons ago (pre-ELaD) so maybe it was different then. Oh well, I can be a fool. 😉

    • Usually if it’s addressed to me he lets me respond – but if it’s general he’s your man! – Stacy

  • Claudia

    I actually have a recipe related question.  First of all, I love your book and proudly display it amongst my other many paleo cookbooks.  Anyway, I have made both the anytime cookies and the chocolate chip cookies and noticed that both of them tasted extremely delicious but were very soft, like cake.  Did I do something wrong or are they meant to come come out like that?

    •  Nope, we like a soft cookie. You can cook it longer if you want a more dense, thick version 🙂

  • Dawn

    Love the Wayne’s world reference, btw.  “Party Time!”

    • My philosophy is that if I’m amused, I should make the joke!

  • It’s always “Stacy and Matt” (or “Matt and Stacy”, depending on who’s writing); anyone who doesn’t know that a) doesn’t read your blog regularly, b) doesn’t bother to read the header, and c) clearly doesn’t have 3 little kids and a blog, or they’d know it’s not something you do without some kind of backup! The balance works; stuff ’em.

    • Well, it’s a tiny field so I can see missing it. To be fair, these people are meeting Stacy so they attribute to her. Not a big deal!

  • Awesome Matt & Stacy.

    Sorry I didn’t get to the book review, yet. But I shall. Best of all, you don’t really need my help.

    • Not a problem, Richard. Let us know when you get to it.

      Saw that you’re going on the cruise. Looking forward to meeting you then!

      • Sorry. I guess Jimmy has left that up there in spite of me signaling that I can’t make it. However, I will be at AHS12.

        •  And we will likely be there as well! See you then!

        • Dinty Moore

          Richard, no man with a belly your size should even appear in public, let alone deliver a lecture on health and nutrition.

  • I love this post. Thankyou. It is so cool you can meet famous paleo people and they live literally down the road. Jamie (that paleo guy) is closest to me and that is still about 1000 miles away. I dont think anyone realises how long blog posts take, some of my big ones took a couple of days.

    • Hmmm… Well even Auckland is much less than a thousand miles from Christchurch, so my guess is you’re from Melbourne or Sydney. Have you heard of SmartSexyPaleo? She’s from Melbourne, I believe, and thus is much closer to you if my guess pays off!

      •  Yes – Jamie is 1100km, 670 miles – I was a bit off! I’m in Auckland, Jamie’s in Christchurch. He is still the closest famous paleo person.
        Australia is 3 hours away by air – a much longer way. I’m off to the paleo weekend in May in Sydney – looking forward to that.

        •  Ah fair enough. I thought I was being super clever as I just so happen the distance from New Zealand to the east coast of Australia is 1200 miles, approximately. You know what they say about when you assume…

          I just now realized how big your country really is. Auckland to Christchurch is about the same distance as DC to Atlanta or Portland to San Francisco. I will cease thinking of New Zealand as a small island from now on!

  • Robyne7575

    Love this post for so many reasons…humor, information, insight, entertainment – I laughed, I cried…haha but seriously I’m a brand new fan and loving my brand new copy of ELAD…you guys are amazing!

  • Thank you for an enlighten post! I’m a somewhat new blogger my self, and all there are some great points I will definitely consider.