Even though I spent my childhood in the suburbs, as an adult I’m a fully converted city girl. Everything I could ever want is at my fingertips. Yes, I know, in NYC we have rats, roaches, rude people, sky high rent, too many honking cars, and gazillions of tourists, but that’s OK. We also have every variety of ethnic restaurant on the planet, we have theater and arts and culture and music and sports and on and on and on. While some people get panicked by the thought of being jam-packed like sardines on a subway, I take comfort in crowds. Isolation, on the other hand, freaks me out. All that space! No stores, no services. No people! Where do I get my mani/pedi? My lip wax? What the heck do I do about my dry cleaning? Where are all the Starbucks?
These concerns and more are easily addressed in the city. But in the country – egad! You gotta fend for yourself. So it’s quite unexpected that I’ve recently developed a weird crazy obsession with Ree Drummond, a.k.a, The Pioneer Woman. Do y’all know Ree? She lives on a remote cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her husband, Ladd, and their four kids. She cooks and bakes (a lot!), she blogs, she gardens, she’s a photographer, she homeschools her kids, and she has a cooking show on The Food Network. She lives in the middle of nowhere. We have virtually nothing in common. So why do I find myself not only watching her show, but making sure my DVR is set to record every episode? No really. I’m not kidding. Every episode.
As I try analyzing what’s behind this fixation of mine, I realize it’s probably because Ree does a whole lotta things right when it comes to her own career. She can be, and should be, a source of inspiration for us writers because there’s a lot to learn from her, specifically as it relates to her blogs and her website. They’re awesome.
A friend who’s an expert in website communications and publicity told me that one of the most important attention grabbers on a website is high-quality imagery. A page with pictures versus one with just text gets clicked on 94% more. Ree – who happens to be an amateur photographer – has tons of photos on her site. There are pix of where she lives, of her family, her vacation. But where she really shines is her recipes. With each one on the site there’s a step-by-step series of photos showing how everything is supposed to look as you’re preparing it so you can pretty much tell if you’re doing OK or royally screwing it up. And, of course, there are photos of how it all should all look once you’re done.
Take a peek at the recipe and photos for chocolate chunk cookies to see what I mean. Absolutely divine.
She refreshes the pages on her website all the time. I know when I go there I’m not going to be stuck with broken links and content that was uploaded last spring. To be fair, she may nowadays have helpers to keep up with all this stuff, but that hasn’t always been the case. She had to build her career just as we need to build ours, bit by bit, and she’s now one of the top three female bloggers on the web. Over the years she’s learned a thing or two about blogging and has got some great advice. Her words of wisdom about blogging are here.
Another thing about her site that keeps me coming back are the sprinkles of humor throughout her writing. Her sense of self-deprecation is often laugh-out-loud funny. To see what I mean, check out her hilarious post,”All I Wanted Was A Doughtnut.”
As for her show, her house is beautiful, her man’s a stud and her kids are extraordinarily well behaved. In front of the camera, anyway. Seems it would be easy to hate the woman, yet you just don’t. Her blog is read by thousands every day across the globe, and another thing that keeps ’em coming back are her giveaways. Really good ones, drawing tons of readers. Just recently she gave away three beautiful dutch ovens. All you had to do to win was leave a comment about what you had planned for the weekend. That giveaway alone drew over 126,000 comments. As fellow blogger Alexa Day would say, heyo!
So cowboy hats off to the “accidental country girl” Ree Drummond and her words of blogging and career inspiration. Maybe one day she can teach me how to make those cookies of hers.
And although we Lady Smutters might not be talking about cookies, we bake in words of wisdom of our own each and every day. Be sure to follow us do you don’t miss a thing.
We’re on our blog tour for the Lady Smut anthology — visit us this week! 🙂
16th January: http://www.pinkypollock.blogspot.com
19th January: http://www.confessionsofabookwhore.org/
20th January: http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com/
21st January: http://eroticaforall.co.uk
22nd January: http://sslyblog.wordpress.com/
23rd January: http://www.reviewedthebook.co.uk/