Negative/Positive Balance in a Blog (page 2) - CycleBlaze

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Negative/Positive Balance in a Blog (page 2)

Gregory GarceauTo Scott Anderson

Yes, thank you for reminding about those view-blockers.  Damn, I hate those things.

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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Steve Miller/Grampies

I'm a melancholy guy and have never been credibly accused of being the life of the party. To avoid being perceived as TOO negative, I try to be selective about problems that I write about in tour journals.

I generally only write about problems that might be relevant to other cyclists and travelers. I will write about a problem with my bike, or a physical ailment relating to cycling. Of course I will write about rough roads, construction, inclement weather, etc. I don't write about other personal problems such as being unable to refill a prescription, a pimple on my nose, etc.

Over the years I have received occasional comments such as "I like that you actually mention when you're tired". I'm not sure how that perception arises. I think basically all tour journals by cyclists over 30 years old include statements about tiredness and/or soreness.

When reading other peoples' journals, positivity and negativity don't matter much to me. I care more about useful information. I avoid journals that are all about meeting strangers and have no pictures or information about the route and roads. I prefer journals that tell me a lot about the place they are traveling, with maps and pictures of places.

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1 month ago
George HallTo Steve Miller/Grampies

Thanks for starting this thread, I've enjoyed reading the responses. 

I try to be honest in my writing, so I write what I experienced.  It's mostly good, because I like bike touring - why else would I do it? At the time I am writing, I know that I have family and friends who are following along and want to know what I'm experiencing - so I try to give them the good and the bad. My Transam journal wouldn't have been authentic, if, for instance, I was to have said that everything in eastern Kentucky was just peachy.  Eastern Kentucky is stricken with poverty and every cyclist has to deal with the loose dogs - an authentic journal will mention those things.  OTOH, eastern Kentucky is beautiful (if you ignore the trash in the streams) and if you ride the Transam you will definitely remember it.   Middle and western Kentucky were truly wonderful for touring.   

While I am writing for the immediate benefit of my family and friends, I know from experience that others read my journals when doing planning research for their own  tours.  One of the highlights of my Northern Tier tour last year was a roadside meeting with Tom from Alaska - he "knew" me because of the Hula Girl on my rear rack - he had read my Transam journal and remembered the Hula Girl.  So I try to be authentic regarding places I stay, for example, so that others can decide if they want to stay there or if they should avoid that particular place.   That's the kind of info I am looking for when I research other's journals in preparation for a tour. 

I like journals that are authentic - real - honest - and sometimes that means that there is some negativity.  I want to know about the negative aspects so I can plan how to avoid them if I ride that particular tour.  There are those on this site who I consider to be very authentic, and I follow their tours on a day-by-day basis if I can.   There are many here who are so much more experienced than me, and I follow their journals so I can learn from them - I want them to be real, to be honest, to mention the negative aspects if it had an impact on their day - so I can learn from them.  And sometimes I can empathize with them, and relate to both the positive and negative aspects of their tour. 

Finally, I think I should mention that I write the journal so that I can relive it in the future.  I get emotional sometimes when re-reading certain memorable parts of my journals - I suspect I'm not alone in that regard.  So I try to write what I actually felt at the time, both good and bad - and when I read it again some years later all the emotions come back.  When I wrote my first journals, I had no idea how much it would affect me to read certain passages years later (for instance, the Spooky Church episode is so vivid to me that when I re-read it I still get a bit frightened, and when I re-read the Beast Mode episode I find myself feeling quite exhausted).  So, even though it sounds egotistical to say it, I suppose I'm one of my biggest fans - at least, in the sense that I occasionally go back and re-read my own journals.  So I have learned that when I'm writing, I'm ultimately writing for my own memories - and I try to be honest with myself.   Someday (soon enough, I fear) I will be weak and incapable of cycle touring.  When that day comes, I will have my journals to bring back the memories - and I want to remember all of it.  Here's wishing the best of memories to all my fellow cycle tourists...

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1 month ago
Bob DistelbergTo George Hall

Well said, or perhaps I should say “well written”. And I think explains why I enjoy following your journals so much.

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4 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Steve Miller/Grampies

I try to focus on the positive but will discuss challenges as well.  But I try not to whine or bitch, just accept that the world is imperfect and get on with it.

Negatives are informative, negativity is not. When writing about things that displease me I try to stick to the facts, which may include my state of mind at the time, or I try to inject some humor as a counterbalancing element to the day's story.

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3 weeks ago