Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sailing Blog Question

A commenter to one of my posts this week said, "As a non-sailor I really enjoyed this piece, good writing transcends subject matter; don't you think?"

Leave aside your feelings for a moment about the totally undeserved compliment to my writing, choke back your nausea at my self-serving repetition of it, and ponder the following questions ...

Do you think that generally he's correct? More specifically, can a blog about sailing attract an audience of non-sailors? If you were going to write a sailing blog in a way that would be interesting to non-sailors what would you do differently from if you were only writing for fellow sailors? Is it possible to write a blog in a way that it would be of interest both to ardent sailors and to non-sailors? And if it is possible why would you bother to do it? If you are a non-sailor what would attract you to read a sailing blog?

And this one is from the "my wildest dreams" category, could a sailing blog even attract non-sailors to try out the sport?

Comments please.


skint writer said...

As the commenter in question perhaps I can elaborate.

The writing appealed to me because the underlying premise could be applied to any activity, not just sailing. In this way it was like any good piece of writing where instead of getting bogged down in cliches and stereotypes it highlighted some of the feelings and experiences we all share as human beings.

Besides that, it was well written and a pleasure to read, a proper narrative with carefully chosen words and phrases, and it had a beginning, middle and end - in other words it satisfied.

Good writing will always attract the layman, I mean, I read the Guardian regularly. As a substantive broadsheet newspaper it has articles on every concievable subject, most of which I have no direct interest in, but that doesn't stop me reading them, as long as they are well written.

And you can learn a lot by peeking into other people's interests, about them as well as their subject.

Will reading good articles about sailing motivate me to take it up as a sport or a hobby? In my case probably not, but it will help me to understand other people better and that in itself is something valuable and worthwhile.

Zen said...

I can understand that, however there, I would think needs to be something, most likely in the title that someone finds of interest, intriguing. Case in point "pressure" it could mean anything, for someone with a curious mind, they would go, hmmmm wonder what this is about?
When I am out seeking other blogs on say Japan or world music, there are little snipits of the story, if the title or the lead-in is interesting I will follow through with reading the whole enchilada ( or shabang or 10 yrds for those who do not know what that is)even though I may not have any interest in jumping off a windmill on a rubberband whilst listening to Southern Balboa folk yodoling. However I read the whole articule because it was written well and I learned something. I will never most likely want to try it, but it was a well done article.
So my point is yes you can write for a non-sailing group but, there would need to be some "hook" for most to get them interested. Reading an hardcopy publication from cover to cover is different from finding an reading a blog site of which there are thousands.
On the other hand if I was a writer I would view things diferently.

You can lead a horse to water... as the saying goes

lqt said...

Yes, good writing can and should transcend subject matter, in other words, even non-sailors would still be interested to read a post on sailing.

"If you were going to write a sailing blog in a way that would be interesting to non-sailors what would you do differently from if you were only writing for fellow sailors?" Actually I don't think you should be considering this question, because ultimately, a blog is, in my opinion, a journal where you express your thoughts, albeit one that's online and can be read other people. Thus, I don't think you should write with the aim of attracting a wider audience (non-sailors).

Because, I believe, what non-sailors would find of interest would be your humourous writing style, and the strong passion for sailing you convey through your posts. Maybe (I'm speculating here, because I'm not a non-sailor) they find that they read about something new, something interesting when you write about your sailing experience. If you merely wrote about non-specific daily stuff how would that distinguish your blog from the greater millions of other blogs?

But in answer to your question, perhaps your reflection on, say, your sailing experience / different aspects of sailing / sailors, would interest non-sailors because it transcends the technical aspects of sailing itself and touches upon the more general issues of Life and people.

lzp! said...

"good writing" is something like pizza: no really matter "what-u-put-on-it", usually it's good enough anyway!!

for the last question the answer is "could be": a sailing blog could attract a non-sailor to try a ride on a boat!

Obviously it depends on blog's "cut".
When a blog fill the "distance" between the "common-idea-of-sailin'" typical of a non-sailor and "real-sailing", reporting (in friendly style) about this one, then it's possibile!

This is the reason why "official-sailing-web-site" are unable to do this: they don't "fill" this distance, better: they keep on "the distance", for a sort of insane desire to celebrate "the-sailing-hero-idea"!!
Something as "the best sailor", "the faster boat", "the best-"er" dinghy", and so!!

In general these one takes the thing too seriously, and "the thing" becomes such boring..

In your opinion: how many non-sailor came to try a dinghy via...scuttelbutt(??)

anyway this is just an opinion... supported by facts.. but just an opinion..

good w.e.!

Fuff said...

Yes it could. Pictures of beautiful days on the water help, not miserable beats into grey water, however.
It can also encourage sailors who have abstained for one reason or another, to get back out there. I have a reader who is looking at boats again as a result of reading about sailing.

Adrift At Sea said...

I think that good writing can attract an audience of people, even if the subject material isn't one they would normally choose to read.

Carol Anne said...

I agree with previous commenters that good writing is good writing no matter what the subject matter. I read this blog for Tillerman's descriptive writing and sharp sense of humor. There are gazillions of blogs about sailing out there, so I can't read them all; instead I choose to read the ones that, in addition to being enlightening, are also entertaining.

My own blog is not intended to be a "sailing blog"; it just happens to include a lot of sailing because sailing is something I do a lot of.

As for this blog actually encouraging readers to take up sailing, well, maybe not, but it did lead me to take a new direction in my own sailing -- I hadn't really seriously thought about racing before.

Ant said...

My respone is really around "can blogging about sailing really encourage people to try it". I think the answer is ultimately YES.

Lets look around the sailing blogosphere, I'm sure I dont see 10% of all sailing blogs but the ones I see vary from focussing on specific "campains", people learning to sail, my social/race mix, Tillermans varie posts. Someone who starts following this "conversation" will very quickly learn that sailing is great fun, that people from all walks of life do it, that the best bits of sailing are the cruising the restoring the social the tactics the relationships the watching the.... well everything. It would be great to here if anyone had decided to take the plunge from reading blogs, I think it is inevitable at some point; my hope is that we all continue to write as we want to write, ideally we right "sensibly" i.e. no blatant lies no misdirection honesty, seriousness and humour all in the right doses.. if we keep doing this we will be an asset to the global sailing community, how much depends on what we write being compelling, not on the basis of each post but more from the overall karma...
There; that had no beginning no end and crap punctuation, hopefully the point shines through the crap prose!

Pat said...

Sure there are differences in how you'd write for the specialist and the non-specialist and it's probably a lot of work to try to keep both groups happy. When you write for the specialist you have the advantage of shared vocabulary and shared experiences; you can describe things very exactly and jump right into the story. On the other tack, however, this audience can be more critical and quick to pounce on any errors. With the non-specialist audience, you have to explain terms and add enough background and context so that the story makes some sort of sense.

raiderreader said...

I am an avid sailor, teacher and grandmother who is now in the middle of Texas and have to sail on lakes. Now lakes can be fun, don't get me wrong but there seems to be something missing when you take spray over the bow and it tastes....... I grew up sailing summers in Maine on the Penobscot bay. It really has to be some of the best sailing water in the US. I miss it. I have recently bought an old O'day 23, redid the bottom and it feels so good to be at the helm again. It is just hard to meet other skilled sailors that know what I am feeling.

Howard said...

I dont sail myself... but a sialing blog would interest me!

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