Aug 302012
 

Over time I’ve come to the realization that there are many outdoor bloggers who follow the usual, well beaten, sometimes paved, often boring, path.

 Allow me to present a few mile markers of the journey:

  • love for the outdoors
  • willingness to share
  • burning passion to become a “great” writer
  • the idea, “hey maybe I can make money doing this”
  • delusions of grandeur
  • boredom
  • frustration
  • quitting/failure

If you don’t read a lot of blogs perhaps you miss the tell tale signs of a blogger that’s following “tried and true advice”.

What the big boys do: 

  • write reviews
  • publish the press releases of others
  • allow guest posts on the site
  • write guest posts for other sites
  • allow advertising of others for profit
  • filming short videos
  • writing e-books
  • maintaining a list of email addresses
  • publishing an electronic newsletter

Sound familiar?  While few bloggers follow all of the tried and true steps above, we all try.  Even this blog has subscribed to a fair share of these ideas.

Which brings me back to the reason I’m writing this post…  Why the hell does this blog exist?

What started as a brag board for a few friends fishing in South Eastern PA slowly became a destination forPennsylvaniafishing fanatics.  Fishing shows, gear reviews, even interviews of and by some fishing legends.

All this is well and good.  It’s been a good two year run but it is time to make a change.

Personally I’m asking this blog, “step up or step out?”

A few months back I told a regular contributor to the site that I was discontinuing all guest posts until I could either step things up or decide to shut the blog down.

I and the rest of the Functioning Fishaholics love fishing (and quite frankly love having a site devoted to our antics). But the question remains what the hell is the point of this site?

When we started it seemed like a group affair.  I (Matt) would manage the site and publish posts, we’d go out as a gang fishing, take some photos, maybe video, and I’d come back and tell our story.

Over time the site became its own entity celebrating fishing inPennsylvania.  However as the site grew professionally and fishing reports declined I started to realize that the site has lost its soul.

Can a website actually have a soul?  You ask.  While I don’t yet know the answer I do know that playing the blogging game, following advice of other pro bloggers, and walking the well beaten path is boring.  (sorry about dissing your sacred cows, o world of blogging)

Perhaps it’s all of the Star Trek I’ve been watching lately but I believe the purpose of writing should be, “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” …

Ok so that sounded a lot less cheesy in my head but either way my point is still valid.  Who the hell wants to read the same boring stuff?  The same structure, different sites, different pictures, BUT ALL DOING THE SAME THINGS.

One of my Twitter buddies had a list called “People who’s writing makes you feel like you’re there” or something like that.  I remember a year or so ago when I first saw that I was on that list.  I felt special.  It was as if someone had pinned a medal of honor to my chest.

I must say, over time my right to wear that metal has diminished.

Writing should be: 

  • Personal
  • Unorthodox
  • Unique

When you write for someone be it a book or blog post you are inviting them into your head.  For better or worse you need to make in impression.

Personality is a trait that is largely lacking in the online world.  Sure, we all stand on our soapboxes and pretend to be special but it is that tiring “celebrity of now mentality”  that has turned the internet into a graveyard of one hit wonder celebrity writers, photographers, videographers, and bloggers.

Who cares what’s hot at the current moment?  In the outdoor world we still worship legends who were in there prime decades ago.  Why doesn’t this reverence follow bloggers?  Why you ask?  Because we as a community have lost our soul.  Sensations fade…  Souls are eternal.

As I close this piece I ask myself, “Will I post this?”,  “If I post this should I even edit or re-read it?”,  “Will anyone agree, care, or be offended?”.

In that order I respond, “Yes”, “barely”, and “who cares.”

If you come back to this site (after reading this long rant without pictures) my promise to you is this.  I’m going to get personal.  Yep that’s right.  I’m going to attempt to pour myself, my feelings, opinions, judgments, and random thoughts into each post.  From now on this will be a quest to find this writer’s soul.

My hope is that my renewed sense of purpose as a blogger will be nothing less than the delivery of a personal, unorthodox, and unique perspective.

And yes, this will still be a site about the love of fishing.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.  If you’d like to share yours below I’d be honored.  If you’d like to stay quiet that’s cool too.

 

 

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  • Mat Trevors

    *slow clap*

    Looking forward to it, dude.

  • Thanks

  • Al Smith

    Hi Matt. Nice post. Heartfelt and straight from the hip. Many bloggers have walked the same path, felt those same feelings, and came to realize the “What the hell am I doing?” syndrome. I hope you find your original motivation for starting this blog and get back to writing joyfully just for the sake of writing. Life is too short to waste any of it doing things that don’t matter.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Your words are very true. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing! (:

  • Mike Sepelak

    I’m proud to say that I do none of the things that “big boys do,” and I remain a small potato as a result. But I’m almost four years in and still having fun, whether anyone reads me or not. You’re looking the right way, my friend. Inward. Please yourself.

    • Gin Clear

      Mike, I think and blog along your lines, but not as frequently.

      Matt, don’t over think it. Just enjoy the ride.

  • The River Damsel

    I don’t follow protocol…Ha! I take adventures, write about them and hope that others enjoy coming along and reliving it with me. And that is what it is for the River Damsel. Just a good ol’ time sharing memories with a few friends. No advertisements, reviews, or gimmicks. I just keep it “reel”… Good luck in whatever you want to do with your site. I have always enjoyed checking up on it… Just have fun.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Thanks RD (:

  • Get deep man, get deep. I’ll be reading. You’ve set your new bar, go get ’em.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Get ready I’m about to go over my waders…

  • kyleindenver

    I’ve been reading for a long time – maybe I need to say that more. Keep up the good work, bro.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Thanks Kyle. I feel like it’s been way too long since we’ve conversed over the web! I foresee some g+ fly tying hangouts in the future!

  • Todd Forsyth

    Honestly, I am bored with reading the same kind of stuff all over the internet. Get personal, get unorthodox, get unique. I’ll be reading still.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      I’ll do my best!

  • Kirk @ River Mud

    I did some thinking about 10 months ago and arrived at many of the same conclusions. Describing what happened outside yesterday is one thing. And it’s okay, for sure – and worth doing. WRITING is something different, and something I aspire to. (as I end a sentence with a preposition).

    I don’t have the spare time to make the blog “blow up” as it could, and heck – it COULD – 17,000 visitors last month, nearly 600 posts and >400,000 all time visitors in 5 years. But I’m not committed to making it work as a business. Unfortunately 🙁

    So I’ll keep writing. About whatever I feel like writing.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      I don’t know if I’ll attain “writer” status… Just hoping to improve.

  • Ricky Anderson

    I love the honest from the heart stuff. That is a lot better then the cookie cutter stuff that a lot of people do (me included). besides doing the same thing everybody else does will get you lost in obscurity. 100% of the most well known people out there got to their lofty statuses by being different, unique, and edgy, not by being the same as everybody else. They are the people everybody else copies. Your blog is one of the best i have come across, by being more unique it can only get better.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Wow, thanks for the kind words!

      As I think things over I almost want to go 2 directions. One, a soulful personal log of adventure. Two, a collection of valuable fishing info/knowledge.

      I almost want to build a wall between these two, a blog, and a site. Both full of value but a clear divide between. No fluff.

      Anyway, just random thoughts for now…

  • Kevin Frank

    Keep you blog up. I think many of us write blogs because we are hoping what we say is important to somoene. Sure it would be nice if we’d all get 10,000 hits a month with adoring blog lovers telling us how awesome we are. I’m happy with just one comment on a post. I appreciate anyone taking the time to read what I have wrote. I think I write just for the fact to feel like I have another connectiong to fly fishing. You know when you watch a short fly fishing film and you think. I could watch these all day? I could probably read fishing blogs all day. No matter how good or bad they are. They don’t all have to be shakespeare or Mysteries Internal. =) I agree totally with personality in a blog. I’m trying to work on that as well. Anyone can give a fishing report.

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Kevin you are spot on! There is nothing better than seeing a comment on a post. I still keep track of unique visits but it’s the interaction that makes ory worthwhile.

  • *Joined the slow clap*

    Glad you aren’t shutting down

  • John Cummings

    Sounds like the right idea. Looking forward to keeping up.

  • Howard Levett

    Saying what needs to be said sometimes bothers people. I say go your own way, go a different direction and enjoy yourself. The audience will still be here.

  • Pam “ShesaManiYak”

    I will keep reading. I would love to be a better writer and will be the first to admit, some of my composition and grammar skills have fallen by the wayside due to years of neglect. Following others who are striving for improvement only serves to inspire me.

  • Clif

    I think everyone has their own reason. You know yours and when you forget, that’s when it’s over.

  • Isaac Miller

    Go fishing. Drink a beer. Call it good. Repeat.

  • MacLoosh

    You sir, have balls the size of church bells. My hat’s off to you for your honesty in this post. My $.02 is this: If it isn’t true to you, then it isn’t true to us. If you continue-write from the gut. If you stop-you will be missed, but there are lots of us who will understand.

    -Mark

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Lol church bells (:

  • Owl

    This may very well be the most interesting and enjoyable post I’ve ever read here.

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