Every year, our neighbors host a Chili Cook-Off. Now in its 10th year, word of mouth has turned this event into a giant extravaganza. Sometimes random strangers show up – “I heard from so-and-so, who heard from your neighbors that you do an awesome chili event.” Our Cook-Off hosts have a “the-more-the-merrier” attitude, so it’s cool.
They also do a fantastic safety presentation for the kids.
It’s a good time.
Competition for the “Best in Show” and “People’s Choice” awards is fierce; there were 35 entries this year. Over the years, both Mr. People Equation and I have submitted entries. I’ve even won a few times.
Chili Cook-Off contests and blog posts are a lot alike: it’s hard to know what will be a crowd-pleaser. There are years when I’ve submitted what I thought was a yummy, award-worthy chili, only to have it languish in the crock pot, barely tasted. Then, other years, we’ve had a nothing but a bare crock pot to bring home.
Word of mouth plays a big role in cook-offs – “Hey, have you tried entry #22? It’s fantastic!” Blogging is a lot like that too. If an influential voice gives one of my blog posts a shout-out, it’s a real boost for The People Equation’s traffic.
Both the Chili Cook-Off and blogging have taught me this: keep paying attention, keep improving. I don’t always bring home the Best in Show, but each entry allows me to hone my craft, be it in the kitchen or on The People Equation.
Question: what do you do to hone your craft?