Writer’s Self Doubt

Writers, writing and self-doubt will at some point along the writing journey and often early on that journey collide with seismic proportions.

insightsThere is a huge difference in my mind between the phrases “writer’s block” and “self-doubt.” We may have the self-confidence to put “pen to paper,” but are at a bit of a roadblock on what to write. Self-doubt in many respects is the opposite of that. Plenty to say, but lacking the confidence to press “publish.”

The next installment(Number 22) in Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights Series is Blogging Insights #22 – Writer’s Self Doubt

Dr. Tanya gives us a bit of pre-amble to writer’s self-doubt.

Self Doubt is an affliction that affects writers nearly as often as writer’s bock. You might have seen those stereotypical pictures: an author sits at his desk, writing feverishly. All around him on the floor, are crumpled and screwed up sheets of paper. Or he might have been fastidious and then you will see a huge bin overflowing with crumpled up sheets of drafts and revisions.

For the 21st century writer, the picture is a little different. You either keep editing or re-writing the same piece of work on your device or you hit delete and create a new document altogether. Whatever your modus operandi, the worm of doubt can cast a shadow on your best creation. Today’s Blogging Insights is about this fear/doubt/lack of confidence that attacks writers from time to time. 

Question:

How often are you afflicted by self-doubt and what do you do about it?

selfdoubt1For the most part, self-doubt hasn’t been that much of an issue at this stage of my writing journey.

Almost every piece that I write, may sit for a day or so as part of an editing process. Coming back to a post after 24 hours always gives me a fresher look at it.

What is both good and bad, is that I can get “worked-up” on a topic. Off I go and write a post that allows all to get off my chest and damn it if there is carnage and wreckage because of the words on the page. Now, more often than not there is a little voice that says, “what until tomorrow before hitting publish.” But, not always though.

When tomorrow comes do I hit publish?

Sometimes, I check for grammar and hit publish, satisfied that the post says what I want it to say.

Other times, I might go back and edit; delete a bit; add more if needed. Then hit publish.

There is a rare time though, I just simply trash the whole thing.

Is that self-doubt? I don’t think so.

I tend to write based on emotion like many of us do. But, emotion can cloud things from time to time, so employing a bit of caution and restraint in a post until it is ready for publishing or for trashing can help in the long run.

I do feel that when self-doubt does creep in and it will, one good approach is to push back at it as hard or harder than it is pushing or coming at you.

Try something new in your writing. A different style or topic you might not have written on in the past. The more we grow and expand our writing and blogging envelope the more self-doubt in my mind gets eroded and becomes less of an issue over time.

Will self-doubt always be there?

Of course, it will. It is part of the nature of creativity and being creative.

As always, a huge thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and looking at “writer’s self-doubt” within the blogging and writing universe.

 

— in order to be together, we need to be apart  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – How Long Should Blog Posts Be

insightsDebate amongst those in the blogging world, and certainly among those who write extensively on blogging tips and advice is, “how long should the ideal blog post be?”

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #13 – How Long Is The Ideal Blog Post. asks that very question.

Dr. Tanya gives us this preamble of where she was coming from in regards to this post.

Short-form VS Long-form Content

Before I launched my blog a couple of years ago, I read quite a few posts and articles about blogging. All of them said that the search engines preferred content to be around 2000 words. This, I learned, was called long-form content.

I paid for a plug-in called Yoast which all the articles said I must have (more about this in a later post). This plug-in which works on a traffic light kind of system would not give me a green light unless I crossed 300 words. I dispensed with Yoast since the WordPress Business Plan that plug-ins operate on was quite expensive and not really doing anything for me.

By this time I had discovered that short-form content (1200 words or less) seemed to be doing very well for many bloggers whose work I admired.

Her questions are:

How long are your blog posts on average?

blog lengthDoing a quick bit of looking at stats from 2020 to 2017, my average post length for each year is:

2020 – 905 words

2019 – 763 words

2018 – 792 words

2017 – 656 words

Which averages out over those four years to be 780 words per post.

Given the option, would you rather post long-form or short-form content?

Obviously, it appears, I post in short-form content.

I have written many that are much more than those numbers above. One constraint I have is limited time to write, so I’ve developed the habit of writing more concise and shorter pieces.

Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, I write until the post until I believe the message it contains has been delivered. If I can do it with fewer words – wonderful. If it takes 1450 words, that’s okay too.

There are a few pieces I have written, that I have broken down into two-part or three-part series. Mostly done that way to keep the word counts lower and to separate the content into more meaningful or distinct chunks.

Time is short and the attention spans of social media users are shorter still, why do you think the search engines prefer longer content?

I have no idea about the search engine stuff and that side of things.

For myself, I prefer reading posts that are smaller in length. Unfortunately, I don’t have the attention span to read a long post. I need lots of visuals and paragraph breaks, highlights, bullet points and other devices in order to keep my attention.

I did read from a blogging expert that suggests keeping posts short and engaging with graphics, bullet points, block text and highlights, etc in order to keep the reader engaged due to the very reason of short attention spans.

In the end, though, it will depend on “what you are blogging and writing about” and “why are you doing it” that will dictate how long your posts should be.

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her adding to the depth of this exceedingly important issue that all bloggers, whether professional or novice has to grapple with.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • short-form versus long-form content
  • does it really matter?

I would love to hear what you think about this.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Our Blog In 2020

2020 is here already. In fact, when writing this we’re 9 days into the new year.

Many of us already have compiled and posted goals for our blogs for the upcoming year.

insightsDr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #12 – Your Blog in 2020 asks several questions as it relates to our own blogs for 2020.

Her questions are:

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

Are you going to make any significant changes?

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

Again, Dr. Tanya supplies us with questions that all bloggers, whether serious at it or not, newbies or veterans should all at least ponder for a moment or two.

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

I see or at least hope for much of the sustained growth that occurred last year from 2018 to 2019. There was over a 100 percent increase in both views and visitors, which I found to be humbling and exciting at the same time.

In order to keep the growth going, I’m working hard to post more; write topics that are slightly edgier in nature(which is keeping more in line with my own personality) and as well to post more trip reports of our adventures.

In addition, I’m working at keeping posts slightly smaller in terms of word counts. In and around 500 to 750 words. This I hope will get me to be more concise and to create more posts that I can then schedule.

Are you going to make any significant changes?

I don’t think I will. I like the format and layout of our blog. I suspect that there might be some, but I have no idea what they will be yet. So, stay tuned I guess.

I will try to update the picture portion of the home page on a more frequent basis.

I have toiled with some ideas of changing the blog is some way, as I now write a more “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts as compared to trip reports. Perhaps separate the two out. But, many people have commented that perhaps just leave things as they are if they appear to be working.

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

This is a tough question for sure.

We as a society as certainly moving towards getting our information from a visual graphic format, perhaps as compared to reading it. But, I think text-based blogs are like that traditional dark blue or black suit of men. Other styles will come and go or even perhaps stay, but that traditional dark blue or black suit for men will always be in style.

Text-based blogs are like that. People still like to read and as far as I know, reading is still a popular activity.

I don’t follow Vlogs or YouTube people. I created a “justabifurther” YouTube channel a couple of years ago, but find not enough time to devote to it.

I guess time will tell. I think the universe in terms of text-based blogs and Vlogs are big enough for both formats.

Again, a big thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for the opportunity to add to the depth of this discussion.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • where is your blog headed in 2020?
  • any changes upcoming – big or small?

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

What I’ve Learned From Three Years of Blogging(and how none of it will help you)

“Old 2019” is quickly coming to an end. Christmas is just two and a half weeks away and the New Year will make a grand appearance a week after that.

There are a few bloggers I follow who have far more experience as yours truly and graciously offer up tips and insight on becoming more successful at this wacky craft called “having your own blog.”

But, that’s not to say you can’t learn something, regardless of how small “that something” might be from any bloggers out there that work diligently week after week at their craft.

This was originally posted back in March of this year. Since that time and until the end of November, we averaged now around 925 views per month and 680 visitors per month. And like I wrote in the March post, I have no clue what those numbers mean if they mean anything at all.

Having said this, there are a few things or nuggets that I can share that will have relevance to many bloggers out there, whether you’re brand new at this or have been at it for a while.

From March 2019..

First off, if you’re here reading this thinking all of your blogging worries and concerns will be magically solved and that you’ll be the next “big deal” in the blogosphere, sorry mate you’ve clicked into the wrong page.

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Source: Google Images

However, having said that, why not stick through this with me.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the past two and a half years is this. You never know what small and seemingly insignificant nugget of information found in what may look like just another random blog post could make the world of difference.

I started this blog back in the summer of 2016. It was our way to share with others the outdoor adventures that Lynn and I were having and to inspire others regardless of the point they may currently be in, to get outdoors and experience all that nature has to offer.

Since starting though, things in regards to the blog have grown and evolved in terms of content and such.

Although I certainly was “committed and serious” from the very start back in 2016, it was during the summer last year(2018) that things got “more serious and more committed.”

I decided to join some online social media blogging groups thinking this might be the way to sky-rocket my way into the stratosphere in terms of followers and exposure across the blogging universe. They were fine in what they provided and such but found they required FAR MORE TIME THAN ANTICIPATED networking within the group.

When I couldn’t commit to the time required, I felt guilty, like I was somehow abusing the group.

Needless to say, I’ve stopped that time waster. I know it may work and be beneficial for some, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

Some stats….

Prior to getting seriously serious in the summer of 2018, here’s where I was at:

For June 2018

  • 166 views
  • 127 visitors.

Not very impressive to say the least. The numbers were what the numbers were.

Now, as of the end of February 2019, I’m averaging 750 views and 513 visitors per month.

What does it all mean?

I haven’t a freaking clue in terms of whether the numbers are good or not.

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Source: Google Images

It does show that in that eight-month period, we’ve experienced growth and that I conclude is a good thing. I think the growth can be attributed to creating good content that connects with others while at the same time cultivating relationships with those in the blogging world whom you like and respect and who like and respect your writing and content as well.

Five Things

Nevertheless, here are five things I’ve learned since starting the blogging journey.

Write From The Heart

If this doesn’t apply to you, because your blog is about the latest and greatest trends in fashion, well that’s all right. Thinking about it for a second, perhaps fashion is what gets you going. Oh well.

I write from my heart. I write and blog on those elements of life and how they intersect with the outdoors and nature. That is the thing that comes naturally to me. It’s like those emotions and experiences of life can be illustrated and written about through what nature and the great outdoors and teach us.

For me, writing from my heart; that spot that is so very deep within my soul creates at least the potential for good/great content. And isn’t that what you want for your readers and followers; great content with that emotional “right hook” that smacks them right upside their head?

If I am, and to use a well-worn cliche, “not feeling it” there is no use writing about it at that point. Everything then for me becomes a forced and painful exercise, leading to frustration and moving on to something else for the morning. That’s not to say, the draft won’t revive itself and find life published at some point in the future, but I have lots of “draft posts” sitting there and the heart just isn’t feeling it for any of them.

Writing from that “well” which is deep within my soul; the agony, pain and emotions of life, spilling out on the keyboard has been in my experience the posts that resonate and connect most deeply and profoundly with readers and followers.

Remember though, it can take time to get the courage; the nerve; to be vulnerable; to hang yourself out there for all to read about.

It did for me to get to that point to hit “publish.”

Also remember, there are many out there that are in the same boat as you and need to read what you have to say. Some are at a point in their own path or journey that what you’ve experienced and are sharing with them, can make a world of difference.

Perhaps change their destiny

Don’t be afraid to write from the heart.

Write/Post When You Can

Experts or those experts that I’ve read indicate that consistency of posting on your blog is a key element.

Excellent then.

One question that pops to mind is how consistent is consistent? Daily, weekly, bi-weekly, every 3.5 hours or some random combination.

I am not a full-time writer. And I suspect, not many of you are either. Like most, I hold down a full-time job, that requires me to up by 3:15am; out the door by 4:00am and not returning home until 6:00pm. There are some days getting home is earlier, but my four-day workweek is full. That was a choice we made to only work four days a week. Best decision we made in many years!

As such, I can only commit to writing and my blog in the early mornings on my three days off and before Lynn gets up. Once she’s up, we like to get outdoors and take on yet another adventure or we have other commitments that we need to take care of.

Do I post every week?

I try to for the most part. But, going back to the first point, if I’m “not feeling it” it is unlikely that new a post gets written and subsequently gets published. Now, having said that, I have in the recent past gone back and revised earlier posts and re-blogged those.

What’s my point then?

I don’t get all “whigged out” or too upset if nothing gets published on my days off. Life happens; things happen; sometimes the “well” isn’t pumping water that day.

I try to remember that this is my outlet. My creative “thing” that brings me joy and soothes my soul.

If you feel the need and push to publish each day or whatever the schedule is that works for you, then great – go for it.

I post when I can and when the post is ready for me to hit “publish.” Once, twice or even three a week or great. If it doesn’t happen, there is always next week.

Enjoy Yourself

Need I say more?

If this stops being fun and not enjoyable anymore, then from where I sit, it would be time to pack it in and move on to discover another outlet.

I have written before that blogging, on the subjects I do, is a cathartic exercise. Allowing me to deal with, grow and move through life’s challenges and past experiences. It is also my creative outlet. As painting, sculpture or photography may be the creative exercise for others, writing and blogging are for me.

Doing what soothes your soul at even its basic level should be enjoyable, shouldn’t it? If it wasn’t, why invest the time and heartache to do it?

Enjoy doing it – enough said.

Challenge and Push the Envelope

This can mean whatever you what it to mean.

For me, it meant several things.

First, to get to the point to challenge myself to write and blog about issues or topics that I knew were touchy or difficult issues for people and thus difficult or painful for me to write about. This always means vulnerable and hanging your emotions out there for people to get a darn could look at.

Not all of us want the world to see and read how messed up we are or messed up we were.

Doing this can be tough and a challenge for sure. Therefore, it can take some time getting to this point, if this is where you what to go and eventually end up at. Maybe some people never get to this point and that is okay too.

Challenge yourself to be provocative; push the outside of the limits of things; dare to be slightly or significantly different than those others blogging around the same issues.

The second for me was to challenge myself creatively. Up until just a week or so ago, all of my writing and blogging were long-form. Simply what most of you may do and read.

For 2019, one goal was to move in other creative directions and to try different genres of writing.

So, with that in mind, I moved into creating poetry as another way to express myself.

I can emphatically and somewhat triumphally state, I know less the zero about poetry. But, not letting that hold me back, I’ve found that writing poetry challenging, difficult, but rewarding beyond my wildest dreams.

One mantra that I often bellow out is, “that if you’re not moving forward; you’re not remaining in the same place either; you’re moving backwards.”

Challenge yourself and push the envelope of your writing and blogging

Lastly – Find and Follow The Advice of Bloggers Who Are Great at This

It seems funny at this point in the narrative, but this has been the greatest thing I’ve learned since heading off on the blogging expedition.

If you desire to be a great Doctor, you learn and are taught by great Doctors. The same principle applies here.

If you want to be a great or at least a better writer or blogger, follow and learn from someone who has and is doing well.

Read what they have to say. Study what they have done. Examine their blog sites. Pick the points they make that have the most relevance to your own situation. Then go ahead and implement them and see what happens.

Have I taken to heart each and every point these bloggers make? No, of course not. But, I have tried to work some of them into my situation.

The biggest and most important element I work at each time at the keyboard is that content is king. Having great content trumps all other elements. You can promote the crap out of your blog, but if your content sucks it is unlikely people will return for a second visit.

Here are two bloggers that I follow that are doing it well; if not great.

Cristian Mihai and Jordan Peters

Well, that’s it

All of what I’ve learned from two and a half years in this wild and wacky world of blogging.

If you managed to find a nugget here that may help you move forward in your own blogging journey, then this post is well worth the time it took to compose it. If not, that was 10 minutes in your life, you’ll never get back.

One last question though, what have you learned since you started blogging that others may find to be the one thing that could help them the most?

Thanks for reading.

 

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Has It Really Been Three Years?

My, how the time flies by.

time-flies-fast-300x200While sipping away on a coffee or two this morning, it’s hard to believe it has been three years. Three years, since I parked myself in a lawn chair in our backyard one morning and got this crazy idea to start a blog.

Nothing more, than just sitting there reading the outdoors blog of another person and thought, “I could that.”

For me, the idea of blogging and writing was no more extensive or detailed than that.

No long dwelling and burning desire deep inside my soul that was waiting for the perfect moment; the perfect circumstances to spew forth and unleash my innermost thoughts upon an unsuspecting world.

Nope.

What was I possibly thinking?

This came as a comment or note from WordPress the other day.

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But, how things have evolved and changes throughout those three years.

From starting out with simple trip reports of our adventures. Then putting down my own take and views on life and living, and finally jumping into the deep end of the pool – writing poetry.

Having articles and poems published. To be recognized and nominated for pieces I composed on web-based publishing platforms.

Through all of this, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many other bloggers and writers from across the world.

people in drawing net on blackboard

That part alone has made the journey, all worthwhile.

Thanks to everyone who has read a post and left a comment or two over those three years.

Thanks to the bloggers, writers and poets who have inspired me to think, reflect and perhaps slightly alter the way I see things as they unfold in front of me.

Thanks to everyone; you’ve all played a role.

Finally

The biggest thank you of all is to Lynn! 

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She has had to endure the countless ideas I babble on about when we’re in the car, either going on or coming back from one of our many outdoor adventures. The many, many re-writes she goes over and who serves as “chief editor” from time to time.

The simple truth is, the inspiration for many, if not most of my writing comes from her art and her passion she captures and shares for all to experience through her photography.

So, remember….

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

The Return of “Number 38” – A PEI Lobster Fishing Adventure

This Friday past was “setting day” for the lobster fishery on Prince Edward Island. It’s the day the lobster boats and crews head out to set their lobster traps for the spring season ahead. Things were delayed a day or two due to back weather, but once a decision was made by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that the weather looked good for Friday, it was a go for the start of another season.

“Setting day” is akin to a provincial holiday in some respects. Much anticipation and news articles about getting ready to launch and anticipated prices for the catches always proceed the actual day. Generally, each harbour has the local clergy out to bless the fleet for the upcoming season. When setting day dawns, scores of people arrive at each harbour. Boat crews, family, friends and those who love to watch the boats roar out for the first time in the spring.

There may be many people may not see or understand “why all excitement?” Most people outside of Prince Edward Island, likely don’t care at all. As long as the lobster shows up at their local restaurant – all is good then.

But, to those in the industry; to those whose roots run deep on the Island, “setting day” is part of their DNA. It’s who they are. The sea, lobster fishing and all that entails, is part of the DNA of Prince Edward Island. In many ways, it defines in some respect what PEI is.

So, in honour of “setting day” and “landing day” (which is the day after setting day and the first day that lobsters are retrieved”), I’ve re-posted our journey from first finding a lobster buoy; developing a friendship and to spending a late June day lobster fishing out of Launching Harbour, PEI with Paul Fitzpatrick.

An alternative title might be, “How a Buoy from Prince Edward Island Travelled Half-Way Across the Country – Twice.”

Isn’t the world a bit of a funny, but a unique place for the most part.

Things happen or don’t happen, and often times there is no real explanation for why, but things obviously do happen.

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In June 2017, Lynn and I spent the best part of a morning hiking along the shore of Boughton Island which is located just off the east coast of Prince Edward Island. You can read about our morning hike on the beach in the post  – Boughton Island.

While on Boughton Island, we found a fully intact lobster buoy that had washed up on the beach front. As we walked along the beach, you could see and hear the lobster boats off in the distance. A gentle thumping and rumbling noise wafting across the sea.

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“Number 38”

So, what happened after we found the buoy? Why not read “The Journey of Number 38.” Reading it will give some context and a little of the back story.

Throughout the rest of 2017 and 2018, we spent time(mostly Lynn) getting to know Krystle via Facebook. She’s a vibrate Islander who has lobster fishing and all that it entails, flowing through her blood.

As time progressed, we told Krystle when we would be back on PEI and that we were exceedingly excited to meet her Dad, Mom and herself, as well as to spend the day lobster fishing with them.

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Excited to have us with them, Krystle hoped that we would enjoy the experience, as this was the real authentic lobster fishing experience, the pre-dawn start; the weather being what it might be that day and the ocean awakening as either flat and calm, to rolling and cranky, and everything in between.

Excited at the prospect of the upcoming day to be spent with them, we kind of looked at this has one of the highlights of our trip to the Island this year. Not to diminish any of the other activities, but for us, this was perhaps something that most visitors to the Island might not have the opportunity to experience.

In addition, finally getting to meet the people you’ve come to be friends with over the past year… that is and was the highlight.

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Krystle and Lynn

As part of the planning for our trip, we knew already that lobster fishing was an early pre-dawn start. With that in mind, we weren’t thrilled with the idea of staying in or around Charlottetown, and having to get up at 3:00 am to get ready and then have to drive an hour to get to the harbour.  We decided to look for accommodation on the eastern part of the Island that would put us closer to Launching Harbour. After a bit of searching, and with a recommendation from our daughter to look at Airbnb places, we found through Airbnb a super fully contained apartment in the Town of Montague on the east side of the Island.

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Town of Montague

In all honesty, both Lynn and I can say that this was one of the most enjoyable accommodations we’ve had over the years. In a way, it felt like home.  Our Airbnb was very clean, comfortable and we got to experience for the first time a heat pump (gotta say… we’re a fan!). The hosts were friendly and accommodating to all our needs, but at the same time giving us the space to come and go as we pleased. In fact, we never really saw or heard them much, even though they were living above us. All of this wrapped up at $55.00 per night!

With our accommodations all set, we waited with anticipation for our vacation time to roll around.

Once on the Island, we connected with Krystal to firm up our plans with the idea of meeting her at her house between 4:30 and 4:45 am, as her place was on the road to the harbour. Once there, it was a short 5 to 10-minute trip to the boat.

With the alarm going off at 3:30 am, we were up with coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other… driving along the darkened roads of eastern Prince Edward Island to meet Krystal and the start of the day we’d been anxiously anticipating for the past number of months.

Lynn’s take on the start of the day.

We arrived at the “Now N Then” just before 5:00 am. After meeting and chatting a bit with her Mom and Dad, Lynn and I climbed aboard and watched as they prepared to get going for the day.

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Gotta see where you’re going!

In just a few minutes, the key was turned on; the engine rumbled to life and we were off to haul in some of that world-famous Prince Edward Island lobster.

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Heading down the channel of Launching Harbour with the sun starting to peak above the horizon in the distance.

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A perfect sunrise over the ocean on yet another day of lobster fishing. Really, the pictures don’t do justice to the view we had heading out. Calm waters, cool temperatures and a sunrise that can’t be explained – only experienced.10

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One of the first set of traps to be hauled up at the start of our morning.

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As the traps get hauled up from the ocean floor, the lobsters are checked to ensure they meet the legal size requirements. Ones that are too small or large breeding females with eggs showing are thrown back. The ones that are kept are measured and graded as either canning or market lobsters.

Generally speaking, canning lobster or “canners” are the smaller ones weighing between 0.5 to just under one pound. These are the ones that are sold to commercial canning /lobster preparation plants.

Market lobsters are generally one to three pounds in size and those are the ones we might buy in a grocery store or eat if we’re out for dinner in a restaurant.

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Working the “gaff” to snag a buoy
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Using the winch to haul traps up
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Emptying and re-baiting the traps

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Measuring for size
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Freshly baited trap ready to go back

Lobster traps are baited with fresh or frozen fish to attract the lobsters into the trap by having a snack ready to nibble on the inside. Sounds a little like “an after-school snack”,  but the oils and smell of the bait draw the lobsters into the traps.

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A short video of Lynn showing us “how to bait a lobster trap.”

Once the traps have been re-baited, they’re slid down the washboard of the boat and pushed back into the ocean at that particular set of traps pre-determined GPS location.

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Lobsters can be a bit of a troublesome bunch when caught. Seems they like to fight and use those two large claws like vice grips. The market lobsters get banded with rubber bands once they’ve been landed.

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Banding lobsters was the only job I could “master” during the morning
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Another ready for market

And thus the morning was a series of hauling nets; collecting the lobsters; rebaiting the traps; sorting and banding the lobsters; re-setting the traps.

They even let an ‘old boy” from Ontario try his hand at snagging a buoy using the gaff pole.35

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I must admit I was pretty awesome on the three I did snag. Didn’t miss one and thus didn’t have to make the Captain “go around” for another try.

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After all the traps had been checked and re-set, the catch was delivered to a wholesale buyer working at the harbour. The catch was lifted off the boat, weighed and the appropriate paperwork exchanged between parties.

After getting the frozen bait from the supplier for the next day’s fishing, Paul docked the “Now N Then” in its slip, did a bit of tidying up and called it a day.

We really wanted to make the “Number 38” special for us and we figured that having Paul sign the buoy when we were out would make something unique.

From the time we found the buoy back in 2017 until now, we kept telling Krystle to tease her Dad in making sure he worked on his “signature.” However, once we got finished and off the boat, it seemed like a better plan to have all of them sign it.

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Krystle putting her “name” on it.
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Sherry showing us “how it’s done”
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Paul showing everybody this is how to put your signature on it.

We stood and chatted for a bit more, but all of us had other things that we needed to get to. Paul and Sherry invited us to their place, but sadly Lynn and I need to head back to Montague to change, as we had tickets to see the Anne of Green Gables musical in Charlottetown.  (When on the Island… we go from morning till night… we sleep when we get home lol)

Paul, Sherry and Krystle were accommodating and just wonderful people to begin friendships with. Taking more or less complete strangers with them on their workday.  It turned out to be an incredible experience for us.

We enjoyed Paul’s sense of humour as he “complained” much about the crew he had to work with most days (aka his wife and daughter). Sherry was patient in showing us/teaching us how to band the lobster and made sure we got the chance to try whatever we felt comfortable with in terms of helping. Krystle was just a joy to be around… befriending us and just showing us that true Islander hospitality.

One comes away after spending time with them, knowing that they are a very proud Islander family, deeply rooted on the Island and living out the fishing tradition that PEI is famous for.

We’re so glad and grateful that we happened upon “Number 38” while hiking along the shore of Boughton Island.

Without finding that buoy, we would never have had the chance to spend the day lobster fishing, but more importantly… we would never have had the opportunity to meet and make new friends on the Island.

Krystle, I think it’s time to start planning something for when we visit again next year.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

What I’ve Learned From Three Years of Blogging(and how none of it will help you)

First off, if you’re here reading this thinking all of your blogging worries and concerns will be magically solved and that you’ll be the next “big deal” in the blogosphere, sorry mate you’ve clicked into the wrong page.

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Source: Google Images

However, having said that, why not stick through this with me.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the past two and a half years is this. You never know what small and seemingly insignificant nugget of information found in what may look like just another random blog post could make the world of difference.

I started this blog back in the summer of 2016. It was our way to share with others the outdoor adventures that Lynn and I were having and to inspire others regardless of the point they may currently be in, to get outdoors and experience all that nature has to offer.

Since starting though, things in regards to the blog have grown and evolved in terms of content and such.

Although I certainly was “committed and serious” from the very start back in 2016, it was during the summer last year(2018) that things got “more serious and more committed.”

I decided to join some online social media blogging groups thinking this might be the way to sky-rocket my way into the stratosphere in terms of followers and exposure across the blogging universe. They were fine in what they provided and such but found they required FAR MORE TIME THAN ANTICIPATED networking within the group.

When I couldn’t commit to the time required, I felt guilty, like I was somehow abusing the group.

Needless to say, I’ve stopped that time waster. I know it may work and be beneficial for some, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

Some stats….

Prior to getting seriously serious in the summer of 2018, here’s where I was at:

For June 2018

  • 166 views
  • 127 visitors.

Not very impressive to say the least. The numbers were what the numbers were.

Now, as of the end of February 2019, I’m averaging 750 views and 513 visitors per month.

What does it all mean?

I haven’t a freaking clue in terms of whether the numbers are good or not.

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Source: Google Images

It does show that in that eight-month period, we’ve experienced growth and that I conclude is a good thing. I think the growth can be attributed to creating good content that connects with others while at the same time cultivating relationships with those in the blogging world whom you like and respect and who like and respect your writing and content as well.

Five Things

Nevertheless, here are five things I’ve learned since starting the blogging journey.

Write From The Heart

If this doesn’t apply to you, because your blog is about the latest and greatest trends in fashion, well that’s all right. Thinking about it for a second, perhaps fashion is what gets you going. Oh well.

I write from my heart. I write and blog on those elements of life and how they intersect with the outdoors and nature. That is the thing that comes naturally to me. It’s like those emotions and experiences of life can be illustrated and written about through what nature and the great outdoors and teach us.

For me, writing from my heart; that spot that is so very deep within my soul creates at least the potential for good/great content. And isn’t that what you want for your readers and followers; great content with that emotional “right hook” that smacks them right upside their head?

If I am, and to use a well-worn cliche, “not feeling it” there is no use writing about it at that point. Everything then for me becomes a forced and painful exercise, leading to frustration and moving on to something else for the morning. That’s not to say, the draft won’t revive itself and find life published at some point in the future, but I have lots of “draft posts” sitting there and the heart just isn’t feeling it for any of them.

Writing from that “well” which is deep within my soul; the agony, pain and emotions of life, spilling out on the keyboard has been in my experience the posts that resonate and connect most deeply and profoundly with readers and followers.

Remember though, it can take time to get the courage; the nerve; to be vulnerable; to hang yourself out there for all to read about.

It did for me to get to that point to hit “publish.”

Also remember, there are many out there that are in the same boat as you and need to read what you have to say. Some are at a point in their own path or journey that what you’ve experienced and are sharing with them, can make a world of difference.

Perhaps change their destiny

Don’t be afraid to write from the heart.

Write/Post When You Can

Experts or those experts that I’ve read indicate that consistency of posting on your blog is a key element.

Excellent then.

One question that pops to mind is how consistent is consistent? Daily, weekly, bi-weekly, every 3.5 hours or some random combination.

I am not a full-time writer. And I suspect, not many of you are either. Like most, I hold down a full-time job, that requires me to up by 3:15am; out the door by 4:00am and not returning home until 6:00pm. There are some days getting home is earlier, but my four-day workweek is full. That was a choice we made to only work four days a week. Best decision we made in many years!

As such, I can only commit to writing and my blog in the early mornings on my three days off and before Lynn gets up. Once she’s up, we like to get outdoors and take on yet another adventure or we have other commitments that we need to take care of.

Do I post every week?

I try to for the most part. But, going back to the first point, if I’m “not feeling it” it is unlikely that new a post gets written and subsequently gets published. Now, having said that, I have in the recent past gone back and revised earlier posts and re-blogged those.

What’s my point then?

I don’t get all “whigged out” or too upset if nothing gets published on my days off. Life happens; things happen; sometimes the “well” isn’t pumping water that day.

I try to remember that this is my outlet. My creative “thing” that brings me joy and soothes my soul.

If you feel the need and push to publish each day or whatever the schedule is that works for you, then great – go for it.

I post when I can and when the post is ready for me to hit “publish.” Once, twice or even three a week or great. If it doesn’t happen, there is always next week.

Enjoy Yourself

Need I say more?

If this stops being fun and not enjoyable anymore, then from where I sit, it would be time to pack it in and move on to discover another outlet.

I have written before that blogging, on the subjects I do, is a cathartic exercise. Allowing me to deal with, grow and move through life’s challenges and past experiences. It is also my creative outlet. As painting, sculpture or photography may be the creative exercise for others, writing and blogging are for me.

Doing what soothes your soul at even its basic level should be enjoyable, shouldn’t it? If it wasn’t, why invest the time and heartache to do it?

Enjoy doing it – enough said.

Challenge and Push the Envelope

This can mean whatever you what it to mean.

For me, it meant several things.

First, to get to the point to challenge myself to write and blog about issues or topics that I knew were touchy or difficult issues for people and thus difficult or painful for me to write about. This always means vulnerable and hanging your emotions out there for people to get a darn could look at.

Not all of us want the world to see and read how messed up we are or messed up we were.

Doing this can be tough and a challenge for sure. Therefore, it can take some time getting to this point, if this is where you what to go and eventually end up at. Maybe some people never get to this point and that is okay too.

Challenge yourself to be provocative; push the outside of the limits of things; dare to be slightly or significantly different than those others blogging around the same issues.

The second for me was to challenge myself creatively. Up until just a week or so ago, all of my writing and blogging were long-form. Simply what most of you may do and read.

For 2019, one goal was to move in other creative directions and to try different genres of writing.

So, with that in mind, I moved into creating poetry as another way to express myself.

I can emphatically and somewhat triumphally state, I know less the zero about poetry. But, not letting that hold me back, I’ve found that writing poetry challenging, difficult, but rewarding beyond my wildest dreams.

One mantra that I often bellow out is, “that if you’re not moving forward; you’re not remaining in the same place either; you’re moving backwards.”

Challenge yourself and push the envelope of your writing and blogging

Lastly – Find and Follow The Advice of Bloggers Who Are Great at This

It seems funny at this point in the narrative, but this has been the greatest thing I’ve learned since heading off on the blogging expedition.

If you desire to be a great Doctor, you learn and are taught by great Doctors. The same principle applies here.

If you want to be a great or at least a better writer or blogger, follow and learn from someone who has and is doing well.

Read what they have to say. Study what they have done. Examine their blog sites. Pick the points they make that have the most relevance to your own situation. Then go ahead and implement them and see what happens.

Have I taken to heart each and every point these bloggers make? No, of course not. But, I have tried to work some of them into my situation.

The biggest and most important element I work at each time at the keyboard is that content is king. Having great content trumps all other elements. You can promote the crap out of your blog, but if your content sucks it is unlikely people will return for a second visit.

Here are two bloggers that I follow that are doing it well; if not great.

Cristian Mihai and Jordan Peters

Well, that’s it

All of what I’ve learned from two and a half years in this wild and wacky world of blogging.

If you managed to find a nugget here that may help you move forward in your own blogging journey, then this post is well worth the time it took to compose it. If not, that was 10 minutes in your life, you’ll never get back.

One last question though, what have you learned since you started blogging that others may find to be the one thing that could help them the most?

Thanks for reading.

 

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Solidarity Blogger Award

Mel(Crush Caramel – Learner At Love) nominated me for my first “The Solidarity Blogger Award.” This is was one award that I had never heard of before and I’m quite shocked and honoured at the same time to have had Mel(Crushed Caramel – Learner At Love) nominate me for this.

So, A BIG THANKS!

What Is The Solidarity Blogger Award?

SIWO (Success Inspirers World) is an International Friends Blogging Forum. The idea is to encourage teamwork and to blog together as a community. As an international friend’s blogging forum, Success Inspirer’s World provides an opportunity that every blogger is looking for – the opportunity to get more exposure and find more followers and readers.

The Rules:

1. Write a post on your blog thanking the person who nominated you – THANK YOU Crushed Caramel.
2. Paste the award in the post.
3. Provide a link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
4. Tell Success Inspirers’ World, SIWO what you think about solidarity blogging. Is it worthwhile?
5. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award and inform them.solidarity blogging award

Solidarity Blogging

I’ve come across many difficult and challenging questions to answer in the past, but this has to be one of the more imposing ones yet – “what do you think about solidarity blogging and is it worthwhile?”

Let’s first start by defining the word “solidarity.” The dictionary defines solidarity as “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.”

And doesn’t that simple definition in a general sense describe the blogging world and the people in it? If it doesn’t I’m not sure what does?

Blogging in and of itself is a solitary endeavour at best. You sit at the computer, facing the screen and tap away at the keys, composing the next great literary piece that will soon enter into the land of the blogosphere. Sure, there might be others around, but it is you at the keys; your ideas; your soul going into the piece.

But, thankfully you collect followers along the way. But, what happens is that there are just a few(you can define a few any way you prefer) that connect with what you write and interact with you on a seemingly constant basis. They always have great comments to leave you with and they’re endlessly encouraging you and others, as well.

This to me is where “solidarity blogging” thrives. In that tiny or not so tiny group of bloggers that seem to connect on whatever basis it is. Friendships develop; encouragement happens and solidarity binds the people together.

Is it worthwhile?

Of course, it is. Remember, blogging can be a solitary pursuit. My guess is that most who start down the blogging path, blog because they feel the need to blog. They have something to say that they feel others need to hear. Having even just a small group and a small group might be only one or two other bloggers who are always there commenting and encouraging you creates a world that defines in my mind “solidarity blogging.”

So, with that in mind here is my nominee for “The Solidarity Blogging” Award.

Margi – Walking the Walk (Wondering About My Wanderings)

If you also happen to be reading this, take the nomination and find one or two others and spread and share “solidarity blogging” with some other so well deserving bloggers out there.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

 

Thanks To All That Have Stopped By – “1337”

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I have to admit, I’ve seen other posts about “1337” before. But, alas I need to get a heavy burden off my chest. I never really paid any attention or if I did, I certainly don’t remember the significance of “1337.”

But, earlier this morning, my notification box had this strange, but oddly satisfying note saying, “Congratulations on getting 1337 total likes on “justabitfurther.””

In my early morning and not enough coffee yet daze, I pondered how can 1337 total likes be a milestone? One would think that 1000, 2000, 5000 and such might be mentionable, but 1337?

So, in a wild quest for enlightenment, I turned as many do to “the source of all knowledge – Google.” A quick little tappy tap on the keys and here’s out I found out:

1337 means ‘leet’, short for elite, in other words, ‘The Best’. If you flip 1337, it says LEET. 

Wikipedia, a subset of “the source of all knowledge – Google” goes even further with this definition: “The term “leet” is derived from the word elite, used as an adjective to describe formidable prowess or accomplishment, especially in the fields of online gaming and computer hacking. The leet lexicon includes spellings of the word as 1337 or l33t.”

Wow, “an adjective to describe formidable prowess or accomplishment.” I think we should stop right there. Anything that has “formidable prowess or accomplishment” as part of its definition or description is “top drawer” in my book!

But, in all seriousness, I’m grateful to everyone who visits “justabitfurther” and graciously and unselfishly gives their valuable time to it. All the likes, comments and feedback is what has made “justabitfurther” what it is today.

Thanks again for making me a quite successful “an adjective to describe formidable prowess or accomplishment” or a “1337/leet/elite” blogger. At least according to WordPress and in my own mind.

Thanks again, everyone!

 

 

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —