One of the things I think about a lot when I'm taking a daily mental survey of my jam business is the question of how to paint a frank picture. Last spring as I fidgeted around, wondering how, wondering when and where to start this fruit and honey preservation project, I probably spent the most time wishing a written manual already existed that covered all my questions, the technical ones about permitting, money, and liability insurance. I vowed that if I ever did pull it together and start a business, I'd keep notes and my notes would be detailed, funny because they included all my mistakes, and they would be typed so I could share them easily. Most important though, in any sharing I did, on Facebook or blogging, I didn't want to post when things were only going well. Doing so didn't seem honest. Actually, it just didn't seem nice. "Look, look at all these lovely things happening to me! Blah blah blah..."
But when things have gone wrong and I've noted the mistake as one to share, to laugh about it, to get it off my chest, maybe even as a cautionary anecdote, I get stopped by something else. Worry. I worry that anyone reading will just think I have no idea what I'm doing and instead of being helpful to someone or being funny, I'm just demonstrating an untrustworthiness. I know that people expect each other to make mistakes, we all know that sometimes a day goes wrong, and sometimes finding out about that is really heartwarming, but I think that's only the case if we're craving someone's vulnerability OR a lot of time has passed and a mistake is far, far away, settled at a solid distance from the present.
You would think with all this talk I'd have some secret I'm sitting on. I don't. The day to day of the jam business is good. I'm entering a 2 month break from production. It's time meant for planning, for sitting in shops drinking tea followed by cocktails, and for writing.
Today I picked up Nigel Slater's Notes From the Larder, his day by day diary that gives a good picture of how he's created his other books, maybe even how he's created his homey, authoritative style in general. His voice for food is always inspirational. It says be tangential, be detailed, get pondering and write it all down.