After kicking around a few ideas in my head, I turned to readers for advice. Most of the suggestions I received had a common theme: make post number 200 all about me and all about Adventure-Inspired. It was a perfect chance to reflect on the blog's evolution.
|I find inspiration by doing things, |
but also through some of the amazing people I know.
Why I Write and Where the Ideas Come FromI write because I love it. It's cathartic and fulfilling. I created Adventure-Inspired because I'm truly passionate about the outdoors and decided it was time to start sharing what I had to say. Isn't that how all blogs start, though? The narcissistic part of us thinks others care what we're writing about, true or not. Coming up with things to say that are (1) worth saying and (2) worth sharing with the entire known universe is a challenge. And it's not just about making posts interesting; it's about being comfortable with what I'm sharing. There's a great deal distributed on the internet that doesn't need to be (see #1).
Regardless, I have to feel good about what I write. I've canned many a draft because I wasn't satisfied with the topic or the content. I've also, sadly, posted a few of them. I firmly believe that if you're forcing the thoughts out of your mind and into a mold, or pumping out content because it needs to be pumped out, you lose the passion and uniqueness in your voice. However, when you've got a blog you want to grow, it's important to post regularly.
Thankfully, there's been no shortage of inspiration thus far thanks to adventures I've had, adventures others have had, gear I've used and general outdoor industry happenings. I have a Google calendar, creatively labeled "blog," that I use to keep track of ideas and space them out enough to keep content flowing. If something comes to me in the shower, I come up with a title, a promise to readers, and on to the calendar it goes...after I get out of the shower, of course. (I'm always open to new ideas and guest posts, too!) And thanks to the wonder of scheduling posts through Blogger, I can write a post at midnight, for example, and have it post at 9am the next morning, even a week later. This makes balancing Adventure-Inspired with a job I really enjoy and the rest of life much, much easier.
The Evolution of Adventure-InspiredIn the beginning, Adventure-Inspired was simply a way for me to keep track of things I'd done, things I felt needed to be shared and my reactions to the outdoor world. A good portion of the earliest posts read more like journal entries. As I became more involved in social media and concurrently exploring more of my outdoor passions, the blog began to evolve into something more.
I didn't want Adventure-Inspired to be all about me; I envisioned a place where normal adventurers could gather and read about things they identify with. Hearing from sponsored athletes is great, but there's a need for informal influencers in the outdoor space, too. I saw the blog evolving into a more professional-looking, professional-sounding collection of stories, trustworthy gear reviews and eventually guest posts that would allow people like me to learn and grow.
I began to understand that developing a collection of written works with a single, distinct voice meant tailoring topics and thoughts to that voice, which can be limiting. In fact, if I'd kept all of the original posts I've written, this would be post number 205. But that's the beauty of writing - I can write about anything I want, but don't always have to share it here, or at all. Of course, it's always been a dream of mine to get paid to write about things that matter to me, and thanks to Columbia Sportswear, Adventure-Inspired was officially sponsored for the past two months. I've also had the chance to write for companies like EMS, Vertical Girl, Big City Mountaineers and Pemba Serves. It's been a dream come true.
|I'm hoping to see a lot more of nights like this!|
Vision for the FutureEven now that Adventure-Inspired has a purpose and a voice, I refine it with every post and every interaction I have with the website. I'm not (exactly) a professional writer, website designer or social media expert; I'm just a girl who loves to write and loves to learn. Everything I've done here has been through trial and error, and it's been an incredible journey. I've learned how to develop everything from a voice to a logo, began to understand how domain settings and affiliate links work, and designed a website that represents me. But this is just the beginning. My goals for the future include:
- Continuing to work towards making Adventure-Inspired a legitimate outdoor industry resource. (This might involve bumper stickers and t-shirts, potentially also things like logoed oven mitts and dog sweaters. You know, important things.)
- Building a stronger understanding of SEO, SEM, coding and other web-related skills. The Blogger platform has allowed me to design Adventure-Inspired without much coding knowledge, but that lack of knowledge is limiting.
- Continuing to grow and reaching a wider audience. I know good content is a significant piece of that, as is posting regularly and intimate familiarity with Google Analytics.
- On one hand, garnering more industry support for Adventure-Inspired, including sponsorships, is a huge goal. I'd also love to continue supporting organizations I believe in and companies doing incredible things with gear and in the industry as a whole.
- Continuing to develop my writing, integrate the writings of others and work on more (*gasp*) videos.
- Learning more, in general, about what works for readers and what doesn't. (The comments section is a great place to tell me whether or not a post is actually worth reading!)