fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

why I blog (or, what’s in it for me?)

12 Comments

This post brought to you by the writing prompt
Why We Blog about our Outdoor Life
from the Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN)

blog: (n) web log, a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies, with postings usually in chronological order.

For me, writing is work. Blogging is for fun.

I began my career in writing 25 years ago, long before the words “web” and “log” merged to create the everyday term. My livelihood revolves around news and analysis, and I still enjoy it after all these years. My blog is a personal extension of what I do.

It seems that I began to flirt with the idea of writing during my middle school years. The lack of social interaction that comes with being a nerd left plenty of time for other things. So, I spent time in front of an IBM Selectric typewriter, pounding out stories based on the fictional futures of classmates. The choice of a journalism class as an elective during my sophomore year in college brought me to the attention of the school newspaper advisor and, without thought to the dismal pay that comes with trying to make a living writing, I soon declared my major to be journalism.

Since my college education included a few elective computer science classes mixed in with Journalism 101 and Mass Media Law, within a few years I had become the go-to guy in our small office for software installation (Remember DOS?) or computer repair. Soon I was tapped to design and launch our first website.

[singlepic id=20 w=277 h=360 float=center]

The boys, August 1997, Eagle Lake

My web log grew out of HTML knowledge gained on the job. That first personal website wasn’t in a format that today would be recognized as a blog; nor was it easy to use. It consisted of hand-coded HTML. Any new “posting” required new code, whether it was a simple trip report, a photo gallery or even a link. (Though I launched this website in 1995 — hosted on AOL — the earliest post included on this blog is from August 1997.)

Perhaps it started with a preoccupation as to whether or not I could produce and maintain a personal website, but the struggle to determine content led to the idea of a virtual logbook through which I could share my adventures — the most exciting of which were out of doors — with family and friends.

Laziness also may have been a factor motivating the creation of this website. Back then, sending out an email to a number of recipients wasn’t difficult but email applications wouldn’t allow photos to be inserted in the email body. Everything was an attachment. Without captions or associated text, there was no context for photos. There was also the little matter of Internet dial-up service topping out 14.4Kbps. A website partially solved these problems. My first entry described one of the first camping trips with my kids in the Lake Tahoe area. Flash forward a few years and you’ve got blogging applications that allow everyone into the pool.

The reason I blog, however, has grown beyond a simple recounting of experiences. It’s taken on a more personal aspect. I still write to share experiences, thoughts and photos with family and friends, but after so many years writing and editing dry analytical niche newsletters, my blog has become an outlet.

Here I can experiment with attempts at humor and storytelling. Here I can fail in a most public manner and just as easily deliver the goods in anonymity. At times I curse writer’s block (or the fact that I apparently don’t fly fish enough to provide blog fodder during the lean winter months). Other times prose flows easily.

There’s a vanity inherent in the act of writing, and blogging is much the same. But it offers rewards. Comments, positive or negative, suggest that people other than my parents, siblings and spouse actually read what I write and that my words occasionally spark thoughts. It’s also been a catalyst for friendship and camaraderie, both virtually and in person.

Has my bog changed what I do besides devoting time to its care and feeding? Yes, in many ways. Perhaps most important, it’s knowing that I may blog about an experience that constantly reminds me to truly live in and savor those moments spent doing what I enjoy, so that later I can share the details.

It’s said that secretly all writers want to live forever. Barring that, they hope that their words will live forever. Seems we all got our wish with this little thing called the Internet…and the blogs that live within it.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “why I blog (or, what’s in it for me?)

  1. My first visit to your blog and I must say I like your writing and the way you articulate it. Just came over from the OBN. Keep writing the good stuff and I will be back around soon.

    • Thank you kind sir. I too am a cabin(-based) angler much of the summer, and often chase rainbows around lakes during the spring and early summer (though I have to hire a guide or cajole a friend with a boat to tag along). Thanks for dropping by…

  2. This person reads your blog- great read that speaks to my inner blogger. I too love that Wild West factor, both in writing myself, and reading others blogs.

  3. I can’t remember the first time I read your blog but I do recall thinking immediately, “Wow, this guy is really a nerd. And a damnit, he writes really good too. I keep coming back each week for the obvious reason: I got nowhere else to go.

    Keep bringing the good stuff, Pat.

    • Glad to give you a little corner to while away some time… I’ll keep bringing it. The question is, does anyone want it?

      • Stay the course. You may be surprised how many are reading that you aren’t aware of. For example, I joke that I only have 6-8 followers, when in all reality I have upwards of 10-12 who just never post comments.

  4. Hey Patrick. A lot of what you say I can relate to. I remember DOS, I remember the old HTML, I remember taking classes so I could understand that stuff. I’ve followed your blog for some time now and I enjoy what you write. That’s the idea, right? Keep up the good work.

    Mark

    • There was a moment a few years ago, when at the Microsoft PC museum in Redmond, I realized that I had worked with and on every PC on display. Remember XTREE PRO…file explorer for DOS? Glad you enjoy what I’m putting down, Mark. Looking forward to your reports on the rivers and streams in your neck of the woods…maybe when they’re at fishable levels…maybe September?

  5. DOS… Wow, that takes me back.

    I just dropped by from the OBN as well. I like your writing style. I’m off to read some more of your posts…

  6. Pingback: fly shop offering entry-level paying position for the aspiring writer younger than this author – fishing for words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s