What I have learned from writing a blog.

Anyone can write a blog.  Word Press and other platforms make it easy for one to put out thoughts and musings about a myriad of subjects that may or may not interest the general public.  It all started for me in January of 2013 when I was repeating one of my inane stories from the past to my wife, Janet.  She was laughing and suggested that I start writing these stories down for posterity and to perhaps start a blog.  I thought about it, looked up Word Press on the Internet, and began a journalistic adventure that has continued for 167 posts to date.  Most of my drivel is about outdoor adventures and experiences that have been humorous as well as telling about how I view the world.  My friend Eric from Nevada said to me when I started, that unless I have climbed Everest, saved sherpas and climbers from imminent death with my heroics, no one will really care about my blog except my friends who know me.  In fact many of my friends laugh and say that they can hear me telling the stories by the way that I write.  It is almost as if I am talking when they read the posts.  photo

So here are some conclusions for you to review along with some suggestions for those who might consider writing a blog:

  • Anyone can write a blog.  Millions of people do and most people will not be published in a magazine so this is the only way of scratching the writing itch.
  • Don’t expect to get rich.  It takes thousands of hits on the blog to get advertisers interested.  I currently have 567 followers -some faithful, some not, but it keeps growing incrementally and that is fine with me.  I am happy that some people find my writing entertaining and informative.
  • Keep it specific to a genre.  I chose to write about outdoor adventures with a touch of humor.  I am not an international outdoor adventurer sponsored by magazines or equipment manufacturers.  I am just Joe Blow who has had some funny times riding a bike, skiing, and running trails. images (3)
  • You have to be a shameless promoter.  At the risk of being obnoxious, I have told people about my blog and asked them to be a follower.  I have had business cards made, bumper stickers made( many of which have been plastered at ski areas all over the country).  My wife Janet keeps me in line if I get out of control promoting.  I just like to write and it is fun to see the blog grow.
  • Pay the hundred bucks to get the premium service from the platform provider.  You can put a lot of pictures and video with the space that Word Press allows and they give you excellent support.
  • You have to be creative and selective with “tags”.  If used properly, they can attract traffic to your blog.  Tags like “cycling” , ” skiing” , “humor”, etc.  IMG00375-20110730-0915
  • As the blog has grown, it is amazing to see where the hits come from.  All over the world!  Most of the followers now are people whom I have never met.  Other bloggers, curiosity seekers who are interested in outdoor subjects, people trying to sell me on marketing my blog, Facebook followers who are friends of friends.
  • Facebook was instrumental in growing the blog.  But as it has expanded, the Word Press followers have eclipsed the Facebook followers.  It is easy on my blog- just hit the button to the left and be a follower.  You will get an automatic email when I get creative- which is usually once per week.  See- promoting again!!
  • The posts are archived monthly and as I review them, I think my writing style has improved from the early posts.  I have learned what people like to read and what bombs as a post.  This post will most likely bomb but I had to do it as a review of where I have been and where I want to go with this.
  • Re-blogs are good to do because a lot of folks will not read the archives( frankly they don’t have time).  But the occasional re-blog will be timely and give me a chance to recharge the memory banks.  IMGP0205
  • Personal stories and posts that expose feelings and stations in life can be interesting to some folks who are going through the same thing or thinking the same thoughts.  I try not to get too serious but sometimes events inspire me to drop my drawers and expose my feelings for all to see.  Sometimes I moon people, sometimes I expose my heart.
  • I write a lot of this to document my life for my son.  He doesn’t read it.  But maybe someday he will.  Nothing malicious on his part.  He is just not interested.  And……………….that’s ok.  photo
  • As I go forward, I am running out of material.  My experiences and memory are waning.  But I will continue to write about things that strike me as I continue what has been a very active and fun outdoor life. I will keep it humorous, somewhat educational, and easy to read in a couple of minutes because that is all the time people have time to give my blog.  photo
  • I follow other people’s blogs to get ideas and to fan the flames of the kindred spirit.  They follow mine as well and I have amassed some very fun blogging friends from all over the world.  The Ouachita Shutterbug is a fun photo and musings blog.  Single-Tracked Mind is another and we have threatened to do guest blog posts for each other.  “To the nth degree ” is another one focused on outdoor life in Pennsylvania.  Helena is a mountain biker and kayaker.           My friends keep me grounded.  So far, I have not” jumped the shark” and when I do, enough will be enough.  But the challenge will  continue to write inspiring, “if I can do it, you can do it” posts as well as funny stories from the past.  Good photos will be included to round out the stories and if you have the chance to comment, please do so on Word Press or Facebook.  If you wish to contact me, my email is on the cover page.  Thanks for reading and I hope that I have not been too obnoxious or boring.  Hopefully my self deprecation will make you laugh and be inspired.

Some Blog Maintenance

70019150-SLD-001-0028 First of all, I wanted to thank all of you who have been gracious enough to indulge my 2013 New Years resolution by following my blog. It has been a great experience for me and has given me the opportunity to chronicle some of my past adventures and humorous times with friends and my family. It is all in the spirit of encouraging people to get outdoors and enjoy what nature has to offer. It also gives me a chance to put my sense of humor out there for you to enjoy and have some laughs, many at my expense. I hope that so far, it has given you some funny times as you enjoy your coffee or take a short break from work.

A couple of things:
1.) If you follow on an I-Pad, I-Phone or other device that is not your home or office computer, you may get the story but not the pictures. If that is the case, simply click on the title and you can see the photos that I put at the beginning of all of my posts.
2.) Many of you follow on Facebook and that is fine seeing that Facebook is connected to my blog. However, I would like to encourage you to follow my blog on Word Press. I pay for the premium service that Word Press has to offer which among other things, respects my privacy and the privacy of those who follow my blog. The more followers I have on Word Press, the more love I get from them, plain and simple. So if you would not mind getting one E-Mail a week from Word Press alerting you to the fact that I posted another zany story, I would appreciate it. If you don’t want to do that and you are comfortable with just following on Facebook, I understand and thank you for following on that medium. But if you would follow on Word Press, all you have to do is hit the box to the left of my home page and enter your e-mail. That will automatically make you a follower and you will get only that weekly e-mail. Please feel free to pass my blog on to your other friends. The more followers, the merrier.
3.) As you may know from looking at the archives, I have a lot of posts from January of 2013 until now. It has been suggested by friends that I take some time to re-blog some of the best posts by way of popularity. Kind of like a ” Best of Chronicles of McCloskey.” In the transition time now between seasons, I will post two per week for the next two weeks and then I will get started with a weekly post on spring and summer activites. I hope this would be ok and that you might enjoy some of my blasts from the past.

Again, I thank you for indulging me and I hope that my weekly posts can be a short break for your day and that you can have a smile on your face as you read them. Thanks for reading, thanks for being a friend to the Chronicles of McCloskey, and finally thanks for being my friend. I am not sure where this blog will go in the future but with your help and encouragement, you never know what will happen. Spring is coming.