Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why I blog

Over at Outdoor Blogger Summit, Kristine posed a question to us last week. A very simple question - at least on the surface. "Why do you write a blog"? Obviously, it is different for every blogger out there. My reasoning, as well as I am able to put it into words, is as follows: [BTW - you would think that, if you write a blog, you'd be able to put things into words - right??]

First and foremost, I love the language - all of it. I love to read, to write, and to orate. Yes, I even enjoy speaking to crowds and groups. I think I have a keen appreciation of a well constructed sentence, as well a disdain for those who mutilate these same sentences. Overly pompous and verbose writers are in many ways worse offenders than those who refuse to use correct grammar or spellcheck. (Can you tell I grew up before the age of texting?) I believe you find your comfort zone as a reader and a writer by reading a wide variety of writing styles. You'll find your center by doing this. I enjoy and appreciate the most simple of writing styles. They may also be the most difficult to emulate (IMHO). Think Hemmingway, or Robert Ruark. You won't need a dictionary to read their works. But there is depth in the relative simplicity of their style. I always liked that style, and always wanted to write it myself.

Back in the pre-cell phone and computer days, when I went to college, my major was English Writing - this after a long, circuitous route that went from school to school, from Chemical Engineering to Economics to English. Hardly the straight and narrow path. Simply put, I wanted to be an Outdoor Writer, where I would be paid to go on hunts and fishing trips, see the most beautiful places on earth, and write poetic lyrics about them.

Then I realized that , if I wanted to earn a living writing for Outdoor magazines, I would probably live in my car, or my parents basement, for the rest of my life.

I had to get a real job, but still fostered the idea of writing. I actually did a few columns for a fledgling Outdoor newspaper when I got an opportunity to change career paths from the one I was on and enter into the world of outdoor sporting goods sales as a rep. I took the leap, and never looked back. I've spent the last 21 years in the Sporting industry in various positions, but I got to work in the Industry I have a passion for, an Industry that is also my hobby.

The dreams of being a writer went on hold, but never left completely.

Before blogging, the writing bug was still eating away at me. I have a lot of contacts in the Industry, so I talked to one of the guys who owns and operates his own website, and asked him if he'd be interested in reading an article I had written about a pike trip to Athabasca. He read it , and ran it on his web site. I've since done 2 more articles for him - one on bonefishing in the Bahamas, and one on a trip to Panama for saltwater big game. (If you feel like reading them, the links are located at the end of this post) Whether the articles / stories are good or not, they resurrected the urge to continue writing.

I researched blogging for about 4 months before I finally decided to take the plunge and do my own. I read A LOT of outdoor related blogs. A few were outstanding, most were good, and some were awful. Most disappointing, to me, were the ones that were good reads, had interesting perspectives, and then just ceased to put up anything new for months at a time. I vowed that, if I did this "blogging thing", I wouldn't fall into that trap. I also dislike the blogs that are nothing more than links to someone else's news, or nothing but YouTube links. I knew how I wanted to write, and I knew what I DIDN'T want the site to look like. In September 08, I jumped in. I told NO ONE that I was doing this blog. I was curious to see if anyone would ever find it in the vastness that is the Web. I had no delusions about readership - I was doing it because I like to write, and I thought I might have something worth reading.

I remember distinctly when I got my first comment on my Blog. It was October 11, 2008, and the comment was from Mel in Idaho. I couldn't believe someone had found my blog and commented on it (positively, I might add) after only 2 weeks. I really didn't expect to hear from anyone for months. Mel and I still follow each other's blogs and comment to each other frequently.

So, that's the evolution of the blog site, and a little background. Why do I blog? Because I love to write. I chose to blog about the Outdoors because it's my passion. And I think I write well enough to make people want to return and read the next installment of the journey. [NOTE - the previous sentence wasn't put in there lightly, nor was it intended to come across as being cocky. Everyone who publishes something for others to read and enjoy should think they are capable writers.] I'd love to someday make some money via the blog. If that ever happens, I plan to put every cent earned into a "Fishing Trip Fund", go somewhere chasing fish, and write about the experience, bringing it full circle.

The unforeseen benefit of blogging is that I've developed a relationship with people I've "met" through the blog. The small group of us who follow each other's blogs have gone from random people to friends. I am sure that I'll eventually fish with some of you, and I really look forward to that. I've already spoken to a couple of you on the phone and exchanged baits in the mail. I had no idea it would ever come to that, but I'm very glad it did.

To wrap this up, I hope I don't succumb to "Permanent Writers Block", or run out of things to write about. I hope my blog doesn't become repetitious - if it does, please let me know. I'd like to become a much better photographer, as that would make my blog better. And I hope to meet more really great outdoor bloggers and grow our circle of kindred spirits. Keep on letting me know about the mushrooms, the day on the lake, the birds, and the fact that your husband likes to eat sandwiches! We all look forward to reading these posts more than you'll ever know.


Links to articles

Pike Primer http://www.pasportsmenportal.com/2007/08/a-far-north-country-pike-primer/

Bahama Bonefishing http://www.pasportsmenportal.com/2008/01/a-tropical-tale-to-chase-away-the-winter-blues/

Panama 2008 http://www.pasportsmenportal.com/2008/10/tropic-star-lodge-panama-spring-2008/


wandering owl said...

Bravo! Bravo, Wolfy! Well said, well-put, and well written. It is nice to read good writing. And this blogging will probably get you warmed up to do more article writing? That's kind of what I would like to take a shot at one day.

Keep 'em coming, buddy!

Anonymous said...

Well, Wolfy, I can't say it better than Wandering Owl has said. I do appreciate the recognition given to me for being your first commenter. Glad that it gave you a little initial momentum. I always look forward to your posts and learning as much as I can from my fellow bloggers about the outdoor experience. Thanks for being a part of our outdoor blogging community.

Fish Whisperer said...

Well put Wolfy. I usually blog so I can brag about fish to more people.LOL That's why I use so many photos. On a more serious note, I always enjoy your writing and look forward to your next post.
Tight lines

The Fisherbabe said...

Hey Joe!!! What a great peice to read upon my return!! Very well said, my friend!

I am very honored to count you as among my friends and without my blog that would not have occurred. Also...Mel was also my first commenter...so three cheers for MEL (HIP HIP HOORAY!!!) :)

I look forward to more posts and can hardly imagine you will ever get writers block with so much life to live!!!