I Suppose I Should Write Something…

2016

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I haven’t posted anything for the last month or so, veering away from my reliable once a week schedule. Perhaps they’ve even wondered why, or what could be up next in the queue.

Where you been, boy?

There are a few reasons for my absence, but nothing dreadful.

I suppose the primary reason is that I just haven’t been all that inspired to write.  It’s a travel and adventure blog after all, and I haven’t been traveling or adventuring. Walking down memory lane could be a possibility, I have a backlog of pictures I could scan for inspiration.

But just reading and watching is easier.

Unlike some folks who have “I must express myself” embedded in their genetic code I’m perfectly happy ensconced on the couch, laptop on its target platform, quietly reading blog posts, news, articles, email, and following other passive pursuits.

I have a huge backlog of on-line classes from Udemy and The Great Courses I’ve been picking away at, and an even larger pile of ebooks I picked up for free that are calling my name.

I gave myself a new toy for Christmas, a DSLR camera upgrade. Researching that, and subsequently learning its bells and whistles has taken a while; the user guide is a mere 400 pages. And that doesn’t even count looking into lenses. Or learning the third party software that came packaged with the camera kit.

None of this is inspiring grist for writing blog posts. How many of you, if you’ve even read this far, have already felt the TLDR call to abort and move onto something more compelling? Can I ramp this up?

Foodies might be interested in the delights we availed of this holiday season, tempting the tongue but terrorizing the scale. Or the results of a beer I homebrewed that didn’t follow someone else’s recipe. But I’m not a food writer.

Retrospective

It’s popular, this time of year, to look back. This was my first full calendar year of blogging, so I see the stats and wonder at the results.

WordPress tells me I wrote 59 posts last year. This boggles my mind. As I’d guess I average 900-1000 words a post that suggests I wrote a short novel.

I’ve been getting 50-80 views for a typical post. There are a few outliers:

  • Getting Down In Barkley Sound: Sure, it was a shark encounter story. But it mostly got hits because I let the dive lodge I stayed at know I featured them in a story, and they cross posted it to their Facebook page.
  • Ghost Ship: From the minute I posted this one it got attention. It was the story of the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the Oregon coast, with spooky pictures thanks to the foggy backdrop the day we visited. It also got comments for the writing.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bottle up what makes one post more successful than another so we could drink from it for future posts?
  • A Year of Blogging: I’m not sure why this one got hits. It was a retrospective, maybe a lot of folks could relate to it.
  • Hey, Where’d That Island Go?: This was the last post from the Peru series. Maybe the title was click bait.  Maybe the B/W feature picture caught attention.  Maybe it was the intro about having a smile that wouldn’t quit. Whatever it was, it worked.

Likes are a different story. It seems as if they should be a better indicator of a well written and/or photographed story than Views, but the cadre of folks who spam-like posts to get you to come to their site skews the numbers.  Ever notice how Like counts exceed View counts in the first couple hours after posting?

Just the same, once you factor out some of the Likes, it still gives a decent idea of what folks enjoyed. If you check my sidebar for “Best Liked Posts”, you can see what was most successful this year. Hover over a picture for the title, click to visit. I’m not sure if notepads show the sidebar anymore, it doesn’t look like smartphones do since the update in reader styles despite what Preview mode suggests.  For folks who don’t get the sidebar, the top 5:

This is some correlation between Likes and Visits, but even more between Likes and how recent the posts are. That may be due to a moderately growing audience, or to folks looking for something to Like despite my relative inactivity the last couple months, or less likely, I’m actually getting better at this.

In any case, I’d like to express my appreciation to those who visit and read, and especially the community of folk with whom I swap comments.

Looking Forward

So if I’m in a dormant mode now, what of the future? I suspect I’ll continue to be a bit slow on the posting in the near future. I still have those backlogs, and my screwed up back is still preventing me from jumping into anything too adventurous. But from time to time, just for grins, I’ll fire up the Wayback Travel Machine or opine on something random for your entertainment.

In the meantime, I look forward to reading your blogs.

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48 thoughts on “I Suppose I Should Write Something…

  1. It’s good to enjoy a little break from blogging now and then, especially when you have so much else to occupy you. I for one will be looking forward to seeing the results of that camera upgrade in the coming months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose so. I’m also wondering if the audience would be interested in anything besides travel stories and the photography. I tend to believe my pics bring in more interest than the writing. You’re so prolific in that area I wonder if you ever walk 10 feet without a camera in your hand, whereas I’ll set mine down for months at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve no idea what the audience is interested in, I just post what I want, the photo challenges I participate in give me a structure to my blogging week and it allows me to share the story I have experienced at that time and I do enjoy working to that commitment. I think I’m a bit lazy over my travel posts and use these challenges to kind of cover it. I do have many more to write.. I will say I have got to end of Year one blogging and look back, yes, nice, I’ve gained nearly 500 followers, but it’s only a small percentage that like! But you know Dave, I’m not in it for a wide audience, I just do it because I love traveling and sharing, because I just go to off-the-wall places and want to photo-blog it. If I get a like, great, but it’s kind of a diary for my life, essentially for my kids. They don’t look at my blog at all, I laughed when we were together at Xmas when I asked them if they looked, they did go “Errr, yes mum” and I knew then they had never looked! I suspect eventually they may hit on it and think “Oh, my god, did she really do all of that”, at least they have a history, even if I’m long gone! With regards to my camera, you got it right, its fused to my left hand… My next challenge now I’m in a forced leisure time is to get connected with better editing..there is a plus side to blogging, it challenges you to get better. I have really enjoyed your posts, you have a lovely. dry humor in your writing which is very appealing to me and I’m sure, after your hiatus offline, you will return and give us more pleasure…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. That’s a good attitude to have. I find that as time goes on I pay less attention to how many followers I have, especially as I spend less time trying to cultivate a following and the newer ones are more likely to be just fishing. I’d like to do more cultivating, but I’ve already found more than enough good sites to follow. (So for any new readers out there, I may actually like your site but I don’t have any more spare time to follow you.) I’m glad you enjoy the occasional attempt at humor – dry is definitely my style.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like your honesty and integrity here. And what I especially like about this post, too, is the recognition given to the fact that the blog is just one part of your life. There are other interests and pursuits that occupy your mind, heart & attention. And that, in a nutshell, is most likely what makes your writing so enjoyable and full of personality.

    As a side note, I, too, have wondered about the artificiality of the “likes,” especially when they are higher than the views. It might be that people read the entire post within their email and so don’t actually visit your site & get counted. But then there’s the “likes” that come in seconds after you’ve posted…. and you know how I write! There’s no way anyone can read one of mine in seconds. Or view the photos that quickly.

    You’ve been a terrific help and inspiration to me as I begin my blogging journey this year. Because we’ve only just recently met, I look forward to your Wayback Travel Machine ramping up. Gently being nudged to read what I’ve missed. And I haven’t dived in decades, so please, please write about that. 😉

    I sure hope that back gets better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sheri. I’ve been glad to help in my small way. I don’t know what your background is, but I’d say you’ve brought more writing skills to the platform than I did, and it’s clear you know your way around an f-stop.

      BTW, I have a category for dive stories if you’d like to check the archives. I wrote most of them when I was just getting started.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And if you’re looking for photographic inspiration as you learn to play with your new camera, check out this local (for me) photographer from Banff. His art and the way he sees the world are amazing. https://zizka.ca/2017/01/01/paul-zizka-photography-top-16-of-2016/

    Another blogger that I really enjoy, when it comes to photography, is from the Whistler, BC area. The neat thing about him is that he takes a single image (and some are stunning) and writes poetry to go with it. He’s prolific, posting every day. Some really resonate with me. https://pixtowords.com/2017/01/08/rugged-pic-and-a-word-challenge-71/ He puts out photo challenges you might enjoy participating in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the whole purpose of blogging is to write when you feel like it, and about what interests you. So if you feel as if the drive to blog is not as strong as it once was, then that’s okay…allow yourself to take a break or slow down a bit. My guess is that you will pick up the pace again when you are darn good and ready.
    As for the stats: I check them, but I also know they are always a bit skewed. I have followers who never read my blog, regular readers who are not followers, people who read it only in their email so they don’t count as a view, and lots of “spam” likes that are meaningless. (I get email notifications when someone likes a post, so I can see perfectly well that someone I don’t know has “Liked” twelve of my posts, at precisely 11:28. Gee, do you think they actually read them?)
    And as for why some posts are more popular than others, that’s a mystery to me as well. If I get a lot of Facebook shares, then my views go way up, but why some are shared and some aren’t, don’t ask me!
    All in all, I’m just happy to write my blog and read the blogs that other people write, and yours is definitely one I enjoy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My smartphone (usually) gives a specific chime when I get a WordPress notification. There has been a couple times it sounded like a clock tower sounding noon. I don’t think there was much reading going there…

      I sometimes wonder about views from folks who read via email, but as I use the “Insert Read More” tag after my first paragraph, I assume that applies to the email too. Seems like that would redirect folks to the website if they want to read the whole thing.

      Thanks for reading, hopefully I can keep up the enjoyment factor.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That insert read more tag is a good idea! I hadn’t thought of that. But then again, if I used that, I will have to give up my delusion that I have millions of people reading my blog in their emails that don’t show up in my views…..
        And I’m sure you will keep up the enjoyment factor!

        Like

    1. I don’t mind the “scheduled” factor so much – helps me keep a rhythm and a little incentive. But sometimes life has its own “schedule”, and if you want to have a life you can’t be too much of a slave to one piece of it. It’ll be interesting to see what this year turns out like, blogging wise – I really don’t have a clue what to expect.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. January is a good month to lay low, think of other things, recharge batteries. It’s impressive how many words we can write in one year. The spam likers usually hit in the first day after a post is published, because it’s in the tag topics. The view/like ratio usually balances out after a couple of days. At least that’s what I’ve noticed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can a least play with fiction – I have no talent there – not enough imagination. Of course I haven’t really given it a fair shake, but when I read good fiction it seems like something out of my league.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. pinklightsabre

    I MUST EXPRESS MYSELF. That’s it! That’s my problem! I think the only solution is to go write a post now, ha!

    Seriously though, nice post Dave (and nice Christmas, it sounds you had) and I only Like when I like, you dig…

    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading your stuff, I get the impression you see each day as a poem that needs to be expressed. Sometimes I wonder how you meld that seeming stream of consciousness imagery with your more prosaic profession.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre

        That’s it Dave, thanks. Some analogy to scraping the inside of jar or honey-making, though I don’t know how to complete the image there. Thanks for reading my stuff by the way, wink-wink, brotherly shoulder slap.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy New Year! As one who recently took a break from blogging while I was away on holiday, I think time out is important. Plus, my idea of a holiday is being out and about seeing stuff, getting lots of fresh air and exercise, and keeping away from screens as much as possible: computer, phone and TV. So inevitably my blog writing stops and my reading slows down. But hey, that’s life. Otherwise I fear blogging could become a treadmill.

    Keep on enjoying your time out, as Mick Canning said, I’m happy to read whatever you write!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But yet you did NaNoWriMo! Successfully even! That’s a lot of inspiration.

      I got a Nikon D7200, with the 18-140mm kit lens. I also added a 70-300mm telephoto. The D7200 is a crop sensor camera, so the focal lengths should be multiplied by 1.5 to get the equivalent focal perspective on a full frame camera (like the old 35mm film cameras.)

      Like

  8. I’m sorry to hear about your back, Dave. I hope it gets better soon. (I think lugging that 400 page user guide around may have something to do with it.) I think taking a break every now and again can’t be helped. We all have to do it sometimes. I look forward to reading your future posts whatever the topic, though. (I know they’ll have state-of-the-art photography!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the same injury that occurred in Peru last September. It is healing, but slowly.

      Yes, there will be some “state-of-the-art” shots, but if I go back to the old travel slides for stories there will also be “state-of-the-art” from 20-40 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that’s struggling to make the keyboard clatter. I’m blaming the snow.

    And I hope you’ll forgive me for following and commenting and doing all the stuff newbie bloggers do to get you veterans to take a peek at our “goods.” But don’t look yet, I’m still getting prettied up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gabriel. Nothing wrong with following and commenting – in fact if you want to enjoy the community that’s what you need to do, and keep doing – especially the commenting. When we talk about SPAM, it’s Likes and Follows from folks who pretty clearly aren’t bothering to read what they’re “liking”. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and let me know when you feel your site is sufficiently beautiful for a look.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello from your ally in hit-or-miss blogging! 😊 I can relate to taking rests between posts. As one of my professors says (I’m going back to school for an MFA, so that’s my excuse for not posting): “If you can’t write, then read. Reading is writing.” We’re just priming the pump is all. Anyway, I look forward to your next missive, whenever that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Monica. It does seem like you should be well rested at this point. 😉 Not sure I agree “reading is writing”, but I can go with “priming the pump” and the idea you can’t write well unless read read things that are written well. The next missive should be soon, I got some good pics from a recent winter storm – now I just need to come up with some text to go with ’em. The countdown to writing begins…. now.

      Liked by 1 person

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