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11 July 2014

Happy Birthday Mr. Blog & Random Blogging Tips





I can't believe that we started this blog a year ago and that this is our 177th post! It all started because of my mom. Bless her cotton socks. Like most moms, I imagine, she wants to know what we're up to and wishes I would email a lot more often. So when we decided to move onto a sailboat and start cruising full-time, I thought starting a blog would be an ideal way to keep her up to date on our little adventures. And as an added bonus, it seemed like a great way to organize our photos and keep a record of our travels. So two birds, one stone. {Random side note: Isn't that just an awful little saying to use to describe an efficient action? Death to birds = efficiency. Do vegetarians use this phrase?}

I'm surprised that I've kept this going for so long - I usually get bored of things much more quickly. But for some reason, I find writing up these random posts to be quite enjoyable and, at times, cathartic. And when we go back and read them, they make us laugh. Oh, the stupid things we've done! 

I really didn't know what I was doing when I started this blog and I still don't. So I've been having a look at various tips about how to write a great blog - such as this one on Blogher, this one from Bumfuzzle and of course this one from Windtraveler. After having a little review, here is how I think our little blog stacks up against some of their criteria:

1. Write about what you love

Tick. I love traveling, I love Scott and most of the time I love sailing. There are definitely days I don't love sailing. But I love writing about those days because it is cathartic. And people feel sorry for you - which I love.

2. Do good, don't bash others & don't be a "misery loves company" blog  

We try to tick this box, but yes, there are times when I write about the miserable days (see point 1 above). But on the whole, I try to keep things fun, not complain too much and bear in mind the golden rule. Because let's face it, we're lucky enough to go cruising, we have way too much to eat and we have a place to sleep every night - so really what is there to complain about? All you have to do is pick up the newspaper on any given day just to realize how darn lucky we are. 

3. Be different

Yeah, we probably don't tick this box. There are exactly 1,357,546,079 sailing blogs out there already. So we're not exactly different. And surprise, surprise - lots of people have sailed in New Zealand already. And pretty much everyone writes about the stupid things they've done on their boat. So, no, we're not different. But my mom likes our blog and has never read another cruising blog in her life - so at least she thinks we're different.

4. Post regularly

Tick. We try to post three times a week - Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays. Except, of course, when we have difficulties getting internet access or charging our computers. But generally, I write a whole bunch of posts at one time and have them all lined up and scheduled to go out. Which explains the alternative timeline and universe that my blog lives in - things often get reported in blogland a month or two after they happen in reality.

5. Keep it short and sweet

Nope, don't always tick this box. I sometimes write long, rambling posts with lots of weird tangents. This probably isn't going to change. However, when I write a day-by-day log type of posts, I try to do a shorter intro section which describes the theme of those few days so that people can just scan that and then move on to someone else who keeps it short and sweet. My mom on the other hand, is retired and has plenty of time so I expect she is reading all the way to the bitter end of each post. You are, aren't you?

6. Use pictures

Tick. One of the main purposes of our blog is a place to store our pictures, along with our stories. Scott is our camera man. He desperately wants a Go Pro and thinks this would take our pictures to the next level. I know that I love looking at the great pictures other people share in their blogs so I think this is a really important criteria. We even have a whole series of "Going for a Walk" posts of the places we've meandered, hiked and tramped in, which are mainly photos. (If you're interested in checking them out, click on "Walk" in the labels section on the right hand side and it will bring them all up. Or click on the New Zealand tab on the top and you'll see a list of all of them there too.)

7. Use social media & make friends

Maybe 37% of a tick on this one. I recently started a Facebook page for our blog - something I never thought I would do. Clearly some sort of demonic spirit possessed me, took over my computer and set it up. And then I got sucked into the world of Pinterest. Who knew how much fun pinning pictures could be? I'm still a little bit unsure about this whole social media thing and a recent experience has kind of put me off a bit. However, one of the best things about blogging and reading other people's blogs is connecting with folks through email, comments and, yes, even Facebook and Pinterest. We love hearing from you - keep it coming! What do you like about this blog? Let us know and we'll try to keep doing it.

8. Write like you talk

Tick, kind of. When I write a blog post, it is basically a brain dump of what all the weird little voices are saying to each other in my head. So yeah, it is kind of how I talk. Except when I'm working. No one at work really wants to hear you talk about demonic spirits or zombie wallabies. Instead, you're expected to use big words like "paradigm", "fungible" and "hegemony" and corporate phrases like "think outside the box", "it needs to be sticky" and "transformational change". No one really wants to hear nonsense like that in a blog. Especially Scott. 

So there you go - another long, rambling post to celebrate Mr. Blog's first birthday. I have no idea why my blog is a boy. But then again I have no idea why boats are girls. Blog just sounds like a boy's name. You wouldn't really name a little girl, Blog, would you? But it would be a great name for a cat. Blog the cat - it has a ring to it doesn't it. We're not getting a cat on our boat, so go ahead, you can name your cat Mr. Blog. Send us a picture though. Maybe I should host a Mr. Blog the Cat competition - best cat wins the opportunity to guest post on our blog. I better go check email now, I imagine the entries are flooding in. Better hurry and get yours in - email to thecynicalsailor (at) gmail (dot) com.

Random tangent now over. We'll see you back here on Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!  

4 comments:

  1. Happy first birthday! I like how quirky this post was. My favourite tip is to write like you talk. Sometimes it's too easy for me to switch back into my formal academic tone but that doesn't exactly make for the best blog posts. Anyway, I'm off to find a cat and send a picture...

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    1. Thanks Danielle! Look forward to receiving your entry into the Mr Blog the Cat competition. I'm sure there are bonus points in order for the first person to send in a photo :-)

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  2. Happy birthday to your lovely fun blog. And thanks for the tips.
    My 2 cents.... blogger is such a pain in the butt to comment on and there isn't a follow up botton either. But don't let that stop you.... do carry on
    Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Pete! Completely agree about Blogger and comments. Wordpress is much nicer in that regard. I think if you check the box that says "notify me", it lets you know if there is a follow-up comment, but not a 100% sure if that's the case though. Hope you're enjoying your cruising around Greece - I'm very jealous of you just now!

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