Monday, June 12, 2017

Writing Cruising Blogs

I had a comment on my last blog entry asking about writing cruising blogs.  I'm certainly no expert, but I'll give you my opinion.

Background:  I worked very hard on a 10th grade English composition.  I wrote, edited, and rewrote. I got the paper back with an F.   My hand shot up.  I asked the teacher why.  He said it was good.  Too good.  I was incapable of writing like that, so I must have plagiarized it.  With the wind knocked out of my sails, I went through life thinking I couldn't write, so I didn't.

I used to frequent the old Cruising World message board a couple of decades ago and I'd post often.  I wrote a post about what I had learned after my first charter in the Caribbean.  I soon received an email from the editor of the magazine asking if he could publish it.  Dumbfounded, I didn't know what to say.  Figuring it would be heavily edited, I told him to go ahead.  It was published almost exactly as I wrote it.  And I got a check!

Maybe I could write?  I love to write.  So I started writing and submitting articles to a number of sailing magazines, all of which were published, and then I was asked to write an article for a general cruising magazine.

In 2011, I started this blog to keep things fresh in my writing, but also to tell stories of our restoration of an old trawler, and then our cruise down the ICW.  Now, I author books.  Three last year, one non-fiction and two novels.

And now that Pam and I no longer cruise, I don't update this blog everyday like I used to, but only an occasional post here and there.  It is time for someone else to pick up the mantle.  Here is my advice, for what it is worth.

If you want to attract a following, post everyday you are able.  People want something to read in their cubicles on coffee breaks.  I used to get emails if my blog wasn't up by 9 AM.

I learned in an Effective Business Communications course in college to not use big college words if you want to get your point across.  It makes one sound arrogant and stuffy.  Write like you talk.  And since you're addressing each person one at a time as they log on to your blog, make it conversational.

Reread and edit each post before publishing.  Make sure there a no typos, misspelled words, or poor grammar (unless it is part of the story and done purposely).  The few times I was in a rush and did not proofreed (see what I did there?  😁 ), I would invariably find all of the above.  Ugh.

Keep each post concise and to the point.  No one wants to read long, windy, drawn out blog posts.  If I click on a blog and it is too long, I close it.  If it has hundreds of photographs, I close it.

Keep it as lighthearted as possible.  Everyone loves a bit of humor tossed in.  If you do something stupid, be sure to include that for sure.  Everyone goofs up, and we need the company here on the Group W bench.  But if something sad happens, such as a pet dying, by all means you can write a sad post.

Use photographs.  If you're doing a boat project, show what you're working on.  Before and After photos, pics of parts, etc.  When cruising, photograph interesting sights along the way.

If you like a place or an event, say so.   If you don't like it... well... use criticism sparingly.  No one likes negativity.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  It is what seemed to work for me.  If you decide to write a cruising blog, let me know and I'll be your first subscriber.  I'll buy a cubicle so I can read it properly.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Drift Away the Book cont'd

I have six years of blog entries.  That's a lot of writing!  Some of you have suggested that I turn the blog into a book.  That would be a formidable task, but I found an online tool that will do it for me for $80.  Well worth it, I think.  So instead of my next book being about Sasquatch, I think it might be about Drift Away.

I don't know how many pages this book would be, but the blog has to be over 1,000.  Ain't nobody got time for dat.  So I need to whittle it down, a lot.  What should the book cover?

My thought is to certainly cover the cruise down the east coast, and perhaps how we acquired the boat, and the funny boat projects.  I would delete minor, dull boat projects and most of the "view from the bridge" photographs.  I would include some of the high points of living aboard in marinas, such as Isle of Hope and Brunswick Landing, but omit the mundane stuff.  My gut feeling is that anyone who buys this book wants a sense of adventure and what cruising is really like, not the boring stuff (not boring to me, but I lived it).

I would include the novelties of the blog, such as victory beers and the Navi-Nut (patent pending)  (Hi Kurt!), and a bit about what it is like to travel with large dogs.

Any ideas or suggestions?  Should I omit the year from the dates?  Or the dates entirely?  Keep one blog entry per chapter and title it "the Drift Away Toilet Companion"?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I is an author!

For several decades, I wrote occasional magazine articles about boating.  Then this blog.  Then my Bleecker Mountain Life blog.  I then decided to write books.  In 2016, I wrote three.

The first is non-fiction, and titled "Living Among Sasquatch: A Primer".  Yes.  Non-fiction.


It has been on the market for a little over a year, and has 109 reviews on Amazon and rated 4.4 out of 5 stars.

The next was a quirkly novel based on the first, but told from the Sasquatch's perspective, and he misinterprets just about everything he sees.  It is titled "Living Among Little People: A Guide For Sasquatch".


The third isn't quirky.  It is outright insanity.  All of the humans in it are real life friends.  I won't explain the title because that would ruin the book for you.


Writing has been quite a journey.  I never thought I'd be an author.  Of Sasquatch in particular.  But it was writing this daily blog and reading your comments that inspired me to do it.  Thank you.