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.

3 comments:

  1. Dave-- I have enjoyed your Blog since day one.. Thank you for writing it.. How many years has it been now??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since 2011, but the blog was updated regularly until only 2013.

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