Blogging Ramblings From the Dockside

Blogging Mistakes? I've Made a Few

Friday, June 16, 2017S.V. CAMBRIA


When I started this blog, I was young and foolish. Okay. Maybe not so young, but definitely foolish. And I made a lot of mistakes. I’m not alone in this. My blogging-buddy from The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick has written a post on the subject that reflects similar experiences. And now that I’m starting our second official blog, which is called “From the Towpath”, I wanted to share some of them with you.

I managed to narrow the list down to five things, but I promise you there are a lot more where these came from:

I Chose a Bad Blog Name

“S.V. Cambria” is named after our current boat, and I hate it: It’s unimaginative, restrictive, and tells the reader very little about what they can expect to find if they log on . . . it also won’t transfer to our next adventure in life, which is a real bugger. But when I started it nine years ago, its sole purpose was to keep our friends and family up to date so it didn’t really matter at the time. It does now.

Somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to reach out to more readers, particularly ones who cruise the Inside Passage, and “S.V. Cambria” isn’t a name that stands out from the pack. But, more importantly, it limits what topics I can write about.

My life is more than just sailing . . . or sailboats. And that will hold true for narrowboats, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

I want the new blog to be one that anyone can enjoy, not just people who have an interest in narrowboating. At the same time, I wanted the name to hint at our chosen lifestyle – that of “continuous cruisers”. I think “From the Towpath” fits the bill. Whether that’s true or not, I can’t really say, but I do like it better than “S.V. Cambria”, so it’s a start.

I Picked the Wrong Platform

“S.V. Cambria” first showed up on webs.com, a free website builder. I stayed for five years and was happy; but when I got interested in expanding readership, it started showing some of its limitations. So, I decided to make the move from website to blogsite, did a bit of research, and switched to Blogger.

The change made a big impact on the stats, but the benefits didn’t stop there. It was easier to use, offered more flexibility with templates, allowed me to link up with Cambria’s social media accounts, and came with enough storage space to post more pictures from our travels.

I really like Blogger and would have chosen them again had the name “From the Towpath” been available (the person who has it hasn’t posted since 2012 – argh!). But it wasn’t, so I chose WordPress this time around.

I’ve read a lot of good things about the platform – it’s user-friendly, has hundreds of templates to chose from, offers thousands of plug-ins, unlimited storage space, and more control. But that’s only if you sign up for the WordPress.org site. Right now I’m with the “dot com” version, which is similar to (and just as restrictive as) Blogger. Once I purchase a domain name and choose a server, I’ll make the switch to “dot org” (assuming I can).

Cambria’s No Different from the Rest

I love Cambria. She’s given us some amazing experiences as my husband and I have explored New Zealand, the west coast of the US, and the Inside Passage over the last 13 years. But “S.V. Cambria” is a different story.

There are a lot of sailing blogs out there and most of us are writing about the same things – our experiences on the water (both good and bad). And I’m tired of it. No, that’s not completely true. I’m bored with it.

It’s the same with narrowboating blogs. I’ve tried to follow along with several of them but have no idea what they’re writing about, where they are, or why I should care so I don’t come back. I don’t want “From the Towpath” to be like that. I want to offer something more . . . something a little different.

I want it to be about more than what we did on a particular day or how beautiful the scenery was. I want it to reflect who we are as people, not just to be a source of information. I want it to be real and honest, especially as we transition from sailboat to narrowboat. We’re going to make some stupid mistakes as newbies on the canal (because lord know we’re making them now!). I want to own those mistakes. To laugh at them. And to share them.

Will that be enough to separate us from the pack? Probably not. But I have a few other ideas about how to help accomplish that (namely by shamelessly stealing ideas from fellow bloggers and vloggers – giving them credit along the way, of course).

I Didn’t Write About What I Love

Yes. I love cruising and everything it’s given us over the years but sometimes writing about it is a downright chore (and a bore). This time around, I just want to have fun.

There’s a lot more to me than sailboats and sailing. In fact, some of my favourite posts didn’t have anything to do with them at all. They were about Sally (our former dog), attending the Women’s March on Washington in DC, a walk through a ghost town, the word of the week. As much as I enjoyed writing posts like these, I didn’t do it often enough. I don’t want to make that mistake again.

I Didn’t Post Regularly

This is probably a big one when it comes to the world of blogging mistakes, but it’s a symptom of the lifestyle. During the cruising season, we spend a lot of time in remote areas where we don’t have access to the internet so weeks can go by without a word posted to the blog. I hope to change that on “From the Towpath” and get back to a regular schedule (three times a week). But I also hope to build our social media presence, especially through Facebook and Instagram, something else that hard to do in the wilderness.

It Wasn’t All Bad

Despite all of the mistakes (and these are just a few of the ones I’ve made along the way), blogging has been a great outlet for my more creative side. It’s given me the opportunity to improve my writing skills and to use some of the photos I’ve taken to tell a story. It’s helped me discover other hobbies, like photography and drawing. And allowed me to meet people with similar interests – both virtually and physically. It’s also been a lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that’s really the point, isn’t it?

What mistakes have you made as a blogger? Would you choose the same name if you had the chance to do it again? Join the conversation in the comments section below or on our Facebook page – we love hearing from you!

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8 comments

  1. As you know, I can definitely relate to a lot of the points you make :-) I'm really looking forward to your new blog. It's a great opportunity to have a fresh start and change some aspects of your blogging while keeping those that have worked really well for you.

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    1. My biggest regret has to be the name. If I had any idea that I wanted to blog for years, I would have picked something like "Cambrian Tales" that could have grown with us. Hopefully, "From the Towpath" fixes that mistake!

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    2. I commiserate with your points, as you mention some that cause us anguish as well.

      Allow me to risk receiving another anonymous 'Mr FixIt' hat [printed using sarcastic font...] and say you can change your blogger name to any registered domain name you own... [and the original blogger name will still work as well...]

      Look in Settings/Basic/Blog Name... Everything you need is right there- including a link to create/register [and pay for...] your desired domain name. [e.g., 'Cambrian Tales'...]

      In case this helps mulify at least some of those regrets...

      Cheers! Bill

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    3. Thanks, Bill. Actually Liesbet from Roaming About mentioned the same thing and when she did, it all clicked into place -- it would work the same way it did when I applied the www.svcambria.com address. DUH! Add another mistake to the list! Lol.

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  2. i like the new name! But I guess I don't consider the current blog name a mistake. I've frequently thought we should have named our blog after our boat, as that seems to be expected. i wish I could be inspired to post on a regular basis but it's just not how I roll right now and I can't see that changing when we get to the land of no interwebs. I agree that sometimes writing about boats is boring. I can barely write about the projects we do and include all the gory details I know boat lovers want to know, because to me it's just reciting facts. I don't like to read that stuff and i don't like to write that stuff, but i do it because it's a good record and people do read those posts. Many of them continue to be read even years later, weirdly. Off to new adventures for you! I look forward to seeing how that develops.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. That's funny that you think you should have named Little Cunning Plan after the boat (because it's such a great name!). So maybe it's a "glass half empty/full" kind of thing . . . I'm even having second thoughts about "From the Towpath" and I took my time with it. As far as writing goes, I know there are people who'd like to know why we're in a boatyard and what happened but it's just a little too close to home right now -- I'm working on it though.

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  3. Wow, a new blog! Congrats, Stephanie. Now I see what you have been doing these last weeks. :-) I like WordPress better than Blogger. I started Roaming About for similar reasons as you started From the Towpath, same with the name of that blog. Not because I didn't like my It's Irie name (the domain name Irie.com was already taken), it served its purpose as a cruising blog, but Roaming About is more versatile. BTW: if you purchase the domain name of From the Towpath, you could have kept using Blogger as well, I think.

    I wouldn't call them mistakes, but rather your realizations and steps of growing as a blogger and writing about what you are most passionate about. I agree with most of your points - I don't want to keep writing what others write and rather offer more insights into our lives (it is also what I hope to do with my memoir). Where, what, when stories are quite easy to write, but they get boring.

    The mental "pressure" of writing three blogs a week was too much for me, however. While I enjoy it tremendously, other projects would have to disappear. If blogging is your main hobby or past time, doing three a week, answering comments, visiting other bloggers, dealing with all the photo editing and social media... I guess it is doable. Maybe one day I will have time for that. Once you are on the narrowboat, you might have to commit to less a week again, because you will be out exploring! :-)

    Good luck and good fun with your new blog! It is lookin' good!!

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    1. Thanks, Liesbet. I was wondering how you liked WordPress. I'm still trying to get the hang of it, but it seems pretty good. And I really like the way you look at things -- not necessarily mistakes, but realizations!

      Cheers!

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