10 July 2015

Happy Birthday Mr Blog & Random Thoughts On Blogging

It's time to bake a chocolate cake - someone is having a birthday! Mr Blog turns two years old on Sunday. Can you believe that we've been blogging for two years now and that this is our 331st post?

When Mr Blog turned a year old, I reflected on what makes a good blog and shared some tips that I had gleamed from others (see here). This year (in addition to having chocolate cake), I thought I would celebrate Mr Blog's birthday by sharing some random thoughts about our blog and blogging in general.

Oh, and by the way, even though it was a huge flop last year, I've decided to reinstate the Mr Blog the Cat competition, in honor of Mr Blog's birthday. Mr Blog likes cats. Scott won't let him have any. Mr Blog isn't going to share any of his chocolate cake with Scott. The big meanie. Okay, here's how it works. If you want to enter the competition, email a picture of your cat (or dog or other fluffy animal, heck, even your pet armadillo is welcome to participate) to thecynicalsailor (at) gmail (dot) com. The winner will get the dubious privilege of having their critter's picture posted on the blog. Maybe there will be other prizes too. Or not.

It turns out Facebook is fun!

Who would have thought that Facebook could be fun. After having resisted Facebook for years and years, I went to the dark side last year in order to access some sailing related groups. After that, I created a Facebook page for our blog, mostly as another way to publish links to our blog posts. Turns out you can have so much more fun with Facebook! You can see in real time what people are up to in places you want to go to one day. You can read inspirational posters people create and then get inspired to create some of your own. You can even "talk" to people through comments and messages. Who knew? I'm such a late bloomer when it comes to social media, or is that a slow learner?

Don't even think about putting us in a box.

When we started this blog two years ago, we created it specifically as a sailing blog, whatever that means. I didn't even know what a blog was until three years ago (remember, I'm a slow learner). The first blogs I ever got into were sailing blogs. Scott had sent me links to a few to get me onboard with this crazy "buy a boat and go cruising" dream of his. 

I absolutely loved reading about other people's adventures - their mistakes, their successes, the funny things they got up to, what kind of boat they had etc. I absolutely hated seeing the pictures of all of the girls in bikinis on tropical beaches. They made me feel pudgy. Especially when I was eating brownies while reading the skinny girls' blogs. Fortunately, I found out middle-aged women also write blogs. Some of them were even pudgy too. I figured, heck, why not start a blog of my own. A blog about our own journey to become cruisers. The first year or so of our blog is pretty much about that - because that's what I was a little bit obsessed with at the time.

Guess what though? Turns out, our life is about more than just sailing. As time went by, I found I started writing posts about lots of other things, mostly travel related, but also some quirky posts that don't have much to do with anything (like polar bear spotting) or some reflective posts as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

When we were between boats, we ended up buying a 13' Scamp travel trailer and headed off on an extended land cruise around the States. I started reading tons of RV blogs and starting blogging about our teeny-tiny camper and our travels on land. Suddenly, things were starting to look less like a sailing blog and more like an RV blog. Some earlier followers who were primarily interested in boats stopped popping by the blog, but we also got new followers who were interested in our RV adventures. 

One day, I worried about this while eating a brownie. What type of blog are we? What genre do we fit in? Is anyone still interested in what we write about?

Then the plate of brownies was gone and I stopped worrying about it. Because I remembered the whole point of this blog - it's about us, our experiences, what makes us laugh and the nonsense we get up to. You can't put us in a box because we're about more than sailing or RVing or brownies. Our blog is about our random life and whatever we're currently obsessed with. Some people may enjoy reading the randomness. Some people may not. Some people may be into boats. Some people may not. Some people may be into RVs. Some people may not. Of course, everyone is into brownies. That goes without question.

So there you go, you can't box us in. Unless the box is filled with brownies. Then, I'll happily jump in.

There are some big meanies out there. Boo.

A blogger I know showed me an email one of her followers had sent her. It was downright mean. This person was unhappy with what she was writing about and how she was going about it. I seriously couldn't believe it. Although we've had a few comments over the past couple of years that border on nasty (and surprisingly are always written by the same person - Mr Anonymous), we've never gotten hate mail from our followers. I'm not sure people get it - if you don't like someone's blog, don't read it. It's free entertainment after all. If you're not entertained, then go elsewhere. 

By the way, the blogger in question wrote a very polite email back to this big meanie. I'm not sure what I would have done. What would you have done?

For me, writing is thinking through my keyboard.

I started making "inspirational" posters a couple of months ago. They're fun to make - like arts and crafts on the computer. And so easy to do - take a photo, slap on a quote that inspires you (or makes you laugh) and presto, you've created your very own poster. 

I particularly like this one because it really captures what I like about writing and says is so much better than I ever could. Which kind of sums of the difference between an ordinary blogger like me and a proper writer like James Michener.

I'm an introverted thinker, which means I process my experiences and my emotions inside of me. Then I spill them all out randomly when I talk. Usually without any context whatsoever. No wonder Scott always looks so perplexed. What I love about writing this blog is that it is a great way to think through my keyboard and articulate our travel adventures and other nonsense in the written word.

So there you go, some random thoughts on our blog and blogging. What do you think about blogs, blogging and big meanies?

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


  1. I have only had one piece of hate mail, and I just hit the delete key. As for genre, I started out as a humor blog, then I travel, now I am travel/expat. Who knows what will come next for either of us.

    1. Hitting the delete key sounds like a very smart move! I find the whole idea of having a genre for your blog to be really interesting one. On one hand, your audience knows what to expect - they can "rely" on your content. On the other hand, I wonder how many people don't write about what they really want to write about because it doesn't fit their genre.

  2. Happy 2nd Blogoversary. That rocks.

    There are meanies out there for sure and many are anonymous. I don't allow anonymous comments so that helps, and if you're mean I just block you.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  3. Ha ha, yes I'm a pudgy middle-aged blogger too! I understand exactly what you are talking about. I think as older and wiser travel writers we have a wealth of experience to impart. I'm glad you got onboard Facebook. It is fun and a great promotional tool for your blog. :)

    1. Facebook did surprise me - I didn't really think I would enjoy it so much :-)

  4. Hello Cynical Sailor. Thanks for sailing over to my blog. Interested on reading your blog's metamorphosis. Good that you're open to change. I'll take chocolate cake any time. :-)

    1. It was interesting to take a step back and see how much things changed over the past two years. I wonder what it will look like two years from now.

  5. i can't imagine what a travel writer could post that would generate hate mail. But the Internet is a big place. I would follow Rhonda's suggestion. Hit the delete key and of course have a brownie.

    1. The woman who showed me the email is so sweet - I was so surprised one of her followers would send an email like that to her. But you're right, the internet is big and you're bound to come across a hater once in a while. Brownies are, of course, the answer to hate mail and so many other things as well.


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