About This Blog

It hopefully goes without saying that I’ve not been very active on this blog over the past month and maybe a bit more. I’d like to write about why that is and what’s going on.

So, I could sit here and blame external sources like ‘work’ or the fact that walks I’ve been doing recently are ‘similar to walks I’ve done before’… Both of which are items that I’ve never used to prevent myself from writing frequently.

I certainly have a lot of time on my hands right now, with an ‘indefinite’ work situation employing me less than five-days a week. This means I’m also able to cram in more walks each week than the usual one or two at a weekend. So, the content is there; it’s just not being written.

Writing is something I enjoy doing and it’s one of the few ways in which I feel most comfortable in expressing myself. While I like to write often and can find myself struggling if I don’t maintain that habit, I also recognise that few people will read my work – being very specific, I’m referring to the average walk review and its exceedingly long length.

So, I’ve been focusing on that a bit more than usual lately and I’ve almost reached a ‘what’s the point?’ conclusion. At the same time, I don’t know what or how else to amend my style of writing to gain more of a wide appeal. Engaging with people is not a strength I can claim.

I intend to start writing another walk-related post immediately after submitting this one and I’ll see how that goes. I’m not saying that ‘I’ll never write another long post again’ as I know there are a few who do appreciate those, especially when following a long-distance trail. But I would consider making those posts less regular, if only I knew of what to supplement them with…

I’d love to be able to make money through my blog (if only to contribute towards the expenses of life) but I don’t want to sell myself to each and every brand available. If you have any thoughts on any of this, please share them below or e-mail me directly.

Thanks for reading.

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12 thoughts on “About This Blog

  1. jcombe

    Oh that’s a shame Olly and I do enjoy what you write even if I don’t always like or comment on your posts. It’s tought to make money out of a blog. I know a few who do sponsored posts but that just seems to amount to “I’ll write a good review of a product I’ve been given for free to review” and in any case to do that you need to have the numbers reading to make it worth the companies while to send you something free to review.

    I think I’m also guilty of writing posts that are too long but in many ways (and probably with too many photos) but then having written a lot I find it hard to delete half of it to make the post shorter!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Thanks for your comment as always, Jon. It’s good to know that you do read.

      I’ve just written something that’ll appear on a couple of days… Let’s call it ‘a different take on a walk’, as opposed to just sharing a route I’ve possibly done in the past. I quite enjoyed writing that and what I’m taking from this so far is that I could look at including more posts like this, instead of writing just about the actual walks.

      I think my limited social media following makes my blog less appealing to most marketing groups, ever before we’ve discussed content, etc. Saying that, I have recently been sent something new to the market that I’ll be looking to review in some way. I do not receive a fee for this (or anything I’ve done previously) but I do get to keep the product(s).

      Maybe I’m guilty of over-valuing the stats. I see some people post one photo, a few words or a quote underneath and the number of Likes to that post will reach double-figures in minutes. But even I know that half the likes we receive on these sites are not necessarily representative of our true audience (ironically, Make Money Online Master has liked this post!). As I’ve done a lot of familiar walks lately, I’ve felt less inspired to write about them once again and I see my blog going quiet because of that. But I’ve also made progress along the Severn Way, for example and still intend to write about that in detail.

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  2. Lois

    Hi Olly, it is so frustrating, I know, I share the sense of not knowing how to proceed to get more engagement… in the end I’ve decided to write for me and if others read and comment and engage then that’s great. I don’t think there is any secret, and I puzzle over people who write little or merely post a couple of lines of verse and get dozens of views/likes/comments etc – I think they must follow a load of other people who like them back without necessarily really being interested! I’m sure something will suddenly click and you’ll have lots of people reading your interesting blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Hi Lois and thank you.
      I think back to when I started this blog and I believe my decision was to ‘write how and as I wanted’, as a number of people were less keen on reading the same content on my other blog (DIY and woodworking).

      I think a lot of this has come up in my head because I’m looking at an uncertain employment situation, I really don’t know what to do next and I almost feel frustrated that I don’t/can’t make a living from writing, which always feels so natural to me.

      You may well be correct about the ‘Like for a Like’ culture. I see it a lot on social media, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Ruth Livingstone

    It would be a shame if you stopped writing, Olly. I’ve had a bit of a break from social media recently, and not been writing much online or reading much either. I think sometimes we just need a bit of a holiday! As for your blogs being too long, one of the things I like about them is that you share your thoughts, your fears, your uncertainties and your triumphs too. There are a lot of walking blogs that simply describe a route, but yours has added value because you share a bit of yourself too (as does Jon, who commented above). That’s why I follow and read your stuff 😀
    As to how you make money from this type of blog… sorry, I don’t know how to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Thank you, Ruth. I’ve received a few great responses to this post, including yours, across social media. I feel encouraged to keep writing. I think the problem arose as a general ‘mundane’ feeling within me right now… I do enjoy writing but feel as though I have to commit too much time and energy to other things right now.

      I have an ambition to write a book based on my full experience of walking The Ridgeway. Just lacking that something to get started.

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      Reply
      1. jcombe

        As Ruth said “As to how you make money from this type of blog… sorry, I don’t know how to do that.” I think unfortunately, the answer is, you don’t. If you host it yourself you could cover it in adverts, but I suspect even then once you factor in the web hosting costs, you’d only make a few beer tokens (£s), if you are lucky.

        It is possible to make a living out of writing (some authors manage it), but I don’t know how easy it is. I know a few coastal walkers have written books about their experiences and/or photo books, but I don’t know how much money they make doing that. Ruth is one such person who has done just that, so perhaps she might be able to advise there.

        I think my feelings on this are well summed up by Lois above “in the end I’ve decided to write for me and if others read and comment and engage then that’s great.”. That’s basically my philosophy, that and it makes a good record and reminder of good days and adventures!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

        I’ve read a few books by Keith Foskett – somehow, he makes a living from his writing and I think he does a few other bits as well (possibly painting and decorating). I do intend to write a book or eBook on my full experience of tackling The Ridgeway this year. I’m not currently very committed to sitting down and doing it! I certainly don’t want to be one of those pretentious full-time “adventurers” who are all over social media like flies to a bowl of fruit.

        I do like the freedom of writing what I want and not writing to appease anyone but myself. That was why I started this blog, after a few people complained about the range of content on my older blog. I did actually try writing targeted articles for a website (and I got paid for it) a few years ago but I wasn’t in the slightest bit passionate about it and I never liked having someone review and edit my work or having to write within their preferences.

        I think I’ll keep doing as I am. 😉

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  4. A Little Wilder

    Hi Olly,
    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and really enjoy your posts. I’ve even jotted down a few of the walks you’ve talked about in my ‘walks to do’ list.
    I follow outdoor blogs for two reasons;
    1. For the real, genuine, outdoor adventures that give me ideas for my own, very accessible and not too scary and showy adventures.
    2. For the amazingly beautiful (and probably heavily planned and posed for) photography of the outdoors and outdoors adventures which inspire me get out and see and do all of that beautiful stuff- and I do love a good Instagram.
    So I have guilty pleasures and i’m afraid to say I aspire to be more like those bloggers and Instagramers BUT there’s definitely room and a need for the more genuine raw stuff like you!
    I started writing at the start of this year because no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find an account of a novice walker like me attempting the National 3 Peaks Challenge which I was considering at the time and wanted some tips and reassurance I could take it on. So, I started my own blog about my own journey of completing the challenge. And like you I promised myself to write when and how I liked. Unfortunately, I think we can’t help branding ourselves and what we do, but don’t we need to create a brand if we ever want to make some pennies from our outdoor lifestyles?
    The other thing to consider is your ‘competitors’ or very successful blogs you aspire to, probably got into the blogging game early, probably have mad tech skills… I have no idea what i’m doing and still trying to learn what a SEO means. They’re successful for a number of reasons, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance of one day being where the are, because you do. Your writing style will get crisper and your photos will get better, we improve with time, that’s natural.
    You have a true genuine interest and passion for the outdoors, keep doing what you’re doing, when and how YOU want to. Even if for now you’re only reaching a ‘small’ number of people, we’re reading, we’re enjoying, and we’d like to see more.
    Besides, if you only wrote for you in a paper journal, how could anyone else read it? Words are meant to be read! We just need to be confident enough to share it.
    Alex x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

      Hi Alex,
      Thanks very much for reading and for your comment.

      I’m pleased and flattered to hear you have found your own inspiration through following my blog. I often think that some of the walks I do – particularly the ones far from my own home – are ones that every man and has dog has already covered several times.

      I guess there are Outdoor Bloggers and there are Outdoor Bloggers, even within that higher tier of writers and creators. I’m a little bit funny about it all as I applied to join Ordnance Survey’s ‘Get Outside Champions’ thing last year but my application was rejected without explanation. I took it as though I would’ve had to change and adapt my style and content to suit their preferences and I felt sad that they (possibly) couldn’t have seen something positive within my writing as it is (I realise that I’m potentially fabricating a criticism of myself, here).

      I’m a bit surprised to learn that there was nothing available for anyone looking to attempt the Three Peaks Challenge, as I imagine a large proportion of participants each year are not seasoned hikers. I’ve met people who do walk who said they ended up doing the challenge ‘with co-workers’. I also read about someone recently (definitely a hiker) who backed down from the challenge after enduring Ben Nevis on day one. Have you already completed your challenge? I imagine your journey will appeal to many others as time goes on.

      I agree that it is hard not to want to brand ourselves in this modern world. There are so many people doing this now that it is possibly a disadvantage not to follow the suit and make yourself more instantly identifiable. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to test new products, which I’m grateful for, although I haven’t made any money. I’d be happy just to recoup the costs of my annual WordPress subscription (I think I pay £70).

      You do raise a very good point about the competition. I used to know a bit about SEO when I created a website for an attempted business ten years ago. But that has long since departed from my memory. I’m sure there are short courses available that cover the basics of websites and all that. I’m grateful to have the community of followers and readers that I do have. At least I can say that I know everyone’s names and I recognise their faces. 😉

      Thanks once again with your thoughts. I hope you have a good weekend.
      Olly

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. A Little Wilder

        Hi Olly,

        I don’t mind coming across the occasional repetitive blog post about a popular topic or walking route. Let’s face it there are so many blogs and so many people, we’re probably not going to read every single one in circulation just a handful over time.
        Shame you didn’t get picked for a Get Outside Champion, but please don’t nit pick at yourself! If it’s something you still want to pursue than keep going for it!
        My search for content about the 3 Peaks was more about complete novice walkers who have no fitness level. YouTube, instagram, blog searchers would mainly pull up posts from either seasoned walkers or people with a good fitness level already like gym goers and personal trainers. Of course there’s tonnes of inspirational # pics but I wanted a more in depth conversation. I have indeed completed my 3 Peaks challenge! But I did it over 3 days not 24 hours, through my practice walks I realised I needed to alter the challenge a little. I just haven’t posted about the actual challenge just yet because well I’ve needed a little break but I’m sure I’ll do some writing soon.
        Looking forward to more of your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Olly Parry-Jones Post author

        I’m pleased to hear that you have completed the Three Peaks Challenge, Alex and I do like how you’ve decided to tackle it in your own way. To be honest, I’ve never seen the appeal of rushing through them all and ultimately conquering one in complete darkness! One of the reasons I like to climb mountains is to obtain the views.

        I look forward to seeing your post when the time is right.

        I did something similar when I walked The Ridgeway this year… My plan had been to walk it in five consecutive days but I ended up doing it in five days… Spread across three months! I learnt a lot along the way and feel better prepared for future challenges. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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