You know how, about three months after you get married, there’s that one relative who corners you at a family gathering and asks: “So, when are you two starting a family?”
It’s a little like that with blogging, too. Once it becomes clear your new blog isn’t going to fizzle out, at least one friend or family member will likely ask: “So, when are you writing a book?”
It’s a well-intentioned question, I know, and only reflects a flattering interest in a blogger’s work. But with almost 1,500 posts in The Lunch Tray‘s archives, I could only think when asked this question, “Are you kidding me? What more could I possibly have to say about children and food?” I was content to share news and analysis with my readers on an ad hoc basis and couldn’t imagine trying to tie it all together into a coherent whole.
But almost every week, I’m contacted by readers around the country who are troubled by some aspect of their child’s food environment and hoping I can tell them how to “fix” it. Yet I don’t always have easy answers to their questions, because their concerns often reflect much deeper problems in our food system and food culture. I give these readers my best advice, of course, but lately I’ve been yearning to show them the bigger picture: how these problems came to be, who benefits from the status quo (even as our kids lose out), and what we – both as individuals and as a society – could be doing to make a real difference in the lives and health of all American children.
That’s a pretty tall order for an email, though, and so last fall I finally decided to put my thoughts to paper. I buckled down with an intensity not seen since I studied for the bar exam (we’re talking early 90’s, people) and by February, I’d completed a book proposal. Thanks to the efforts of my wonderful agent, the book was sold shortly thereafter to Oxford University Press (!), and now that my two New York Times pieces on lunch shaming have been published, I’m officially starting work on the book this week.
How am I going to juggle writing a book, The Lunch Tray and articles for outside publications, all while raising two teens (one of whom is about to apply to college), getting dinner on the table every night and doing the odd load of laundry? I’m not totally sure! 🙂 But I do know a few things will have to give, and I’ve already announced today that my bi-monthly newsletter, Your Lunch, Delivered, is switching to monthly delivery schedule. I may also be a little less timely in sharing breaking kid and food-related news here on the blog, though I hope that won’t be the case.
While I’m incredibly excited to take on this project, I’m also, frankly, a little freaked out by the enormity of the task. But I have a secret technique to keep me grounded, one I used frequently when writing the book proposal: whenever my (loud!) inner critic tells me I have no business writing a book, I pretend I’m writing directly and only to you, my Lunch Tray readership. From the very first post on this blog seven years ago, you’ve been been so kind and supportive of my work. As long you’re my imagined (and, eventually, I hope, real!) audience for this book, I know I’ll stay on track.
So stay tuned for periodic book updates here, and also keep an eye on TLT’s Facebook page where I’ll periodically ask about your biggest kid/food concerns.
I can’t wait to embark on this next adventure with you! 🙂
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