Friday, September 30, 2011

Four Years of Blogging at River Mud

4 years.
200,000 pageviews. 
Over 450 posts published (420+) or scheduled 
150 Google, Google+, and Facebook "followers." 

All without ads or ad revenue.

I have to admit I'm a little proud of myself.  Proud that I have improved my writing over the last four years.  Proud that I have a better understanding of what good web publishing looks like (I think).  And maybe a little surprised, too.  Surprised that this blog has turned into something that people actually use as a resource (hopefully not for school research papers!), and surprised that at times, it's been a good sounding board for some of the tougher issues of our day - issues like conservation funding, professional guides and guiding, and private vs. public outdoor land opportunities.

I originally envisioned River Mud as a depository for my outdoor memories and an occasional rant or two.  You see, I am blessed to have a life where my fond outdoor memories literally blend together for the most part.  It's hard to tell (in my mind) when one great day ended, and the next one began.  This life and lifestyle have not been accidental, nor have they come without sacrifice in other areas of my life.  But the blog has become a great vehicle for me to transcend that inconvenient fact and remember the spark of individual days afield, whether alone, with friends, or with family.

5 Important Things I Didn't Blog About in Years 1-4
1. The exiling, forced retirements, and firings of my three highly inept former directors at Ducks Unlimited.
    Great story. One sided.  My side.  Still a great organization.  As a result....story left untold.
2. Pregnancy trials and tribulations.   Had enough already? Thought so.
3. My weight.  Honestly, nobody wants to hear me complain about this.  So there you go.
4. Home improvement.  Our house was built in 1945.  It falls apart.  All the time.  And this isn't younghouselove.  "Hey look another pipe busted and I fixed it, and wrapped this cool, ironic ribbon around it.  How cool is that?"
5. My dog dying.  I gave it one post.  Part of me's too busy.  Part of me doesn't have time to cope with the fact that my buddy has been gone all summer, and another hunting season is here, while he's not.
Of the outdoor blogging world in general, too many have simply dropped off the map.  Some got bored.  Some got hired as outdoor writers (yes, I'm jealous). I've read that the average blog lasts anywhere from 2.1 to 2.8 years, and that seems about right.  While I sometimes question why I pressure myself to post so regularly (3-4 times per week), I never question why I keep writing.  In fact, I wish I had started 9 years earlier than I did (although blogging in its current form did not actually exist at that time).

More and more outdoor and conservation blogs keep popping up, which is great, as far as I'm concerned.  While it's true that I'm a little dismayed by many new bloggers' attitude of "OK, I've had this blog for three months - when do the checks start rolling in?", I am surprised pretty regularly by the quality of a new blog's setup, the quality of writing or photography, or the obvious passion that the blogger has for natural resources and outdoor recreation.  I also feel a bit deflated when I look at a the archive of a great outdoors blog and see: "2011 (1,140 posts); 2010 (2 posts)."   I just get a feeling that it will flame out.  Great blogs have a history of it. 
With that, here's the River Mud Rundown:

My Wife's Blog:
I rarely refer to it because she used to leave it alone for months at a time.  I don't know what she was busy doing, with our young child and what not, I don't understand why she didn't have free time to blog it up? And you probably would have guessed this, but she is better looking than me, too. A little bit, anyway.

Longest Standing Blogs I Still Read
The Maine Outdoorsman (2006)
Downeast Duck Hunter (2007)

Good Blogs I Currently Visit for Inspiration
Mysteries Internal (challenging myself to be a better writer)
Root Simple (challenging myself to walk the walk)
The Unlucky Hunter (challenging myself to expand my vision of hunting and fishing opportunities)

Good Blogs that I Wish Inspired Me 
(Don't Worry, none of them read my blog)
Mallard of Discontent - Chad is a great writer, writes about really cool stuff and really awesome places....this blog could be amazing.
NorCalCazadora - I love Holly's blog, and I have learned a lot from how she runs it.  But she's been repeatedly taking it in the direction of "in defense of hunter ethics,"  which is not nearly as inspiring (to me) as her talented storytelling. However, her readership continues to grow, so she's doing plenty right.
Owl Jones - Owl is a hilarious, pointed writer, who (I think) is trying to figure out the ideal pace and meme of his blog.  He'll get there, and it'll be consistently awesome once he does.  He posts on a wide variety of topics, not all related to outdoors stuff (hey, it's HIS blog, not mine, so who am I to say?), so sometimes I just tune out a little.

In Year Five (wow!)......

I hope to expand my "real life" interactions with other bloggers - I've been blown off by several outdoor bloggers, or sent to inactive email addresses or Facebook pages they don't check, when I contact them to see if we can get together when I'm in their area.   That is a real bummer, and it simply doesn't make any sense.

So I'll keep you all up to date on my progress in that area.  Should be interesting!


Unknown said...

Congrats on 4 years

Downeast Duck Hunter said...

I remember back when the only four blogs in my world were Rabid, Tug, Mud, and the DEDH. Your realistic prose and knowledge about the topics you're passionate about are why I keep bouncing back.

Congratulations on four years and I need to go back to see how I've progressed (or the opposite) over time.

Keep up the good work.


Map Monkey said...

Congrats, Swampy! Very impressive. May you go another four years with the same passionate spirit.

Ian Nance said...

Congrats! Always a great read.

Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to say congratulations on four great years! I haven't read all your posts, but, many. Always enjoy.

Alex said...

Congrats! Glad I could help you get to those 200,000 page views.

Michael Agneta said...

4 years? That's an awesome accomplishment, you deserve to puff out your chest some and take a few bows. I have a very long blogroll over at my place, but (as you probably know) River Mud is on the short list. Not too many that make conservation entertaining without getting soapboxy at the same time.

And your wife's blog...damn, isn't she the crafty one?


Anonymous said...

A little late sorry but congratulations. I completed my 3rd. year of blogging just this past August and I am immensely satisfied with the whole thing.
Can't wait to read more.

AZWanderings said...

Just came across your site from the OBN. A big congrats on the four year mark. That truly is something to be proud of. I look forward to going back through the archives and also reading the good stuff to come.


Kirk Mantay said...

Trey - yours is another blog I look at frequently to see if there's anything you've figured out that I haven't - since you blog on multiple topics too.

DEDH - damn straight. You wouldn't want to read anything written by me that I don't care about writing. It would be awful.

Jules - you are eclipsing me in every blogging category there is - your work is amazing!

Bill Howard said...

Congratulations! That's a good run so far, here's to having it run MUCH longer!

Kirk Mantay said...

Good lord, positive feedback! Thanks for checking in - I spend time on all of your blogs!

Eastern Shore Outdoors said...

Great Blog...wish I was as prolific and love your take on things.

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