Julie and Julia is a fabulous movie if you’re a wannabe prolific food blogger. If so, add this movie to your “must see” watch list. In 2002, Julie Powell takes on a personal challenge to blog about her experience of making 524 recipes in 365 days.
Spoiler Alert: This blog post reveals some of the highs and lows of Julie Powell’s life as depicted in the movie.
What are some of the lessons that prolific food bloggers can learn from this movie?
Blogs are all about food for thought.
Julie Powell is lukewarm about her New York City day job. She wants to do something to add more meaning to her life. On a whim, she decides to write a blog while she proceeds to make all of the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs. Julie has an interest in cooking, so she believes it’s a great way to commit to something that she can stay interested in.
First of all, be decisive about your topic. She decides that her blog is going to be about cooking and blogging, so she has a definite place to start. In addition to choosing Julia Child’s book, she also decides to blog daily and to complete the project within a year.
Along the way, the hardships start to roll out. It’s easy, at first, to create the blog. Her husband helps her get it set up and then she starts writing right away. Making the decision to blog is the easy part. It’s only by doing it that she will discover if she can reach her goal not only of shopping for and preparing 524 different dishes, but also in managing to keeping up a daily blog. If she had done just one or the other, the story wouldn’t be anywhere near the same. Her commitment in action is the very thing that captures interest.
Throughout the movie, we see Julie’s ups and downs throughout the process. She gets encouraged early on when her blog rises to the top of the Salon rankings fairly quickly. She gets excited because there are people who are interested in seeing how her experiment turns out and interested in following along on her journey.
One day Julie gets a call from Amanda Hesser with the New York Times who wants to write an article about her. It’s a high point in her year of blogging. Hesser writes Julie’s story of A Race to Master the Art of French Cooking. After the article runs, Julie comes home to dozens of messages on her answering machine. It’s a high point and reason for a milestone celebration for both her and her husband.
Keep going even when you’re discouraged.
Next she gets a call from Paul Thacker at the Christian Science Monitor. He’s interested in her adventure of Learning to Cook the Julia Child Way. Thacker promises to bring an important foodie guest to meet with her. Julie prepares a beef bourguignon and ends up falling asleep before it’s finished. So the dinner burns. She takes a day of work off to remake the dish only to find out that Thacker’s guest cancels out because it’s raining.
Ask for support from your housemates.
This is a great depiction of the life of a prolific food blogger. When you commit to writing every day, you are bound to face some ups and downs. Julie’s husband encourages her to take on the project and he supports her throughout. However, at one point when they’re both stressed out and frustrated, they get in an argument. He walks out and doesn’t come home that evening.
Julie’s decision to become a prolific cook and a prolific food blogger at the same time does impact their marriage every day. We see her husband taking Tums one evening, suggesting that the heavy foods are upsetting his digestive system. Yet he continues to support her year-long challenge.
Being a prolific food blogger can affect the people close to you. If you have a goal to put out a blog post every day, to write a chapter every day, or to cook a new recipe every day, then you might have times when your goal of being a prolific food blogger is in conflict with what loved ones have in mind.
Affirm with each blog post that you’re a “real writer.”
Both Julie and Julia struggle with the question as to whether or not they’re “real writers.” But keep in mind that if you write, then you are a “real writer.” Julie says that she’s not really a writer because she hasn’t published a book and Julia alludes to the same point when she’s in the process of seeking a publisher for her French cookbook for Americans. They’re both writing and they’re both writers, but once their book deals come to fruition, they’re not only “real writers” but also “real authors.”
Remind yourself that you are a writer. If you’re writing, then you are a “real writer.”
Ask for help when you need it.
Persist no matter what’s going on. Julie didn’t want to debone the duck, but she got through it. She saved it to the very end of the year-long process. It appears that it’s difficult for her to kill and cook a lobster, but between she and her husband, they make it happen. A voice keeps whispering to her telling her that she’s a “lobster killer.”
Both Julie and Julia had help and support from their husbands. They’re successful writers just the same. Julia Child’s friends encouraged her to help them get their book published and ultimately it led to Julia’s success as a chef, an author, and later as the host of her own TV cooking show. Julia Child’s book was the spark that got Julie going. Help is out there, but you need to ask for it.
At one point Julie has a meltdown when she’s making a meal. Her husband is fully aware of her serious commitment, not only to keep going with her job, but also to prepare all the meals and blog about it. He understands the pressure that she puts on herself and he continues to support her along the way. As an encouraging partner, he had the added bonus of enjoying all the meals and being her close companion and witness along the way.
Vegan Alert: This movie has a number of scenes with animals being cut, chopped, dropped, boiled, deboned, sewn, and so on. Animals include cows, ducks, chicken, turkeys, fish, lobster and more.
Celebrate success with friends and family.
In the end, Julie hosts a party with several friends. She makes duck along with the last few recipes she needs to prepare in order to check off all 524 recipes. They toast to her success in a rooftop celebration in Queens, freeing up Julie for whatever might come next.
Speaking of friends and family, this is a terrific movie to watch during the holiday season when you might have a little extra time off to watch movies and make some new recipes.
Celebrate success with a specific reward.
If you love visiting historical places related to writing, add to your list Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Both Julie and Julia are historical figures of French cuisine in America. How many people, after all, will ever try to prepare every single one of the 524 recipes in this giant French cookbook? As her reward for completing the year of cooking and blogging, Julie visited Julia Child’s historic kitchen.
Turn your blog into a book.
In the end Julia gets a book deal and so does Julie. It seems like a no-brainer for a publisher since Julie has already established an audience. If you want to be a prolific food blogger, make your commitment and stick to it. Who know, maybe you’ll get a book deal too?
If you’d like to succeed at blogging, or at sharing a message on a particular topic, blogging is a terrific way to reach a wide audience in a short time.