You Should Start an Outbound Journal. Here's Why.
Think you're not so great at writing? Think again.
I'm not a writer. Well, maybe I am, but allow me to explain... I'm an analyst; I went to college to get a degree in Intelligence Analysis and there I learned how to give informative presentations and brief senior officials by giving facts up front, no fluff, period. Basically I suck at writing anything else. My list of adjectives include "pretty," "amazing," and "beautiful" when it comes to writing about the outdoors but thats okay. I write about my experiences outdoors to help me better remember my adventures, share some amazing (see told you) places with other people and to challenge myself.
"Fluffy" writing has never come easy to me. You know, the kind of writing that makes you stop whatever your doing and want to go do exactly whatever it is your reading about. I write best when I deliver my bottom line up front, not added fluff, pertinent details, done. However, two years ago I decided to embark on the journey that is blogging and I started my own little hiking blog. Looking back on what I wrote two years ago makes me cringe but thats a good thing. I've improved. My writing still isn't the greatest but hey, at least I'm trying. Since starting a blog I've noticed a few things:
The first thing is I remember my adventures a lot better. Little details that would've been forgotten in a week have been etched into my brain because a few days after my hike I sat down and made myself think really hard about everything that happened, and I rewrote my experience. Even if I didn't end up writing everything down I still thought about it and it's seriously made all the difference in the world. If you ask me about certain hikes I did before college my response would most likely be "Yeah sounds familiar, I think I did it in high school. There might've been a waterfall? But I can't remember anything else." Now if you ask me about certain hikes I can tell you the milage, terrain, what the outlook was like and if I saw any wildlife.
Writing about my adventures has also, weirdly enough, engaged me while I'm out on the trail. Before I would mindlessly think about anything (which I still frequently do) but now I find myself describing certain things to myself in my head. If I hike a certain section of trail I find very enjoyable I'll think in my head, "Oooo maybe I could describe this as a soft trail covered with loose pine needles; the scent of Christmas in the air...." and I really think about why I enjoyed it so much. Knowing that I'm going to write about it afterwards encourages me to be more engaged in what I'm doing so I can relay my experiences to other people
The last thing that I love about writing is it's genuinely fun to go back and read about my hikes. Two years later I may have forgotten about the time I got stung by a hornet and a wasp in the same hiking trip but rereading my own blog posts makes me laugh (now) about things that happened while hiking in the past. I constantly go through my own blog and reread posts from long ago only to reminisce on how I felt on that particular day, looking at a particular view, enjoy the outdoors with a particular person.
So taking all this into account, starting a blog is no easy feat. Luckily The Outbound has created an amazing platform for you to blog as you please and keep an online diary. Seriously. You don't have to worry about layouts, html, css, etc. all you have to do is add a story and write. You can write about very specific hikes, include the milage, elevation gain and what you brought with you (plus pictures!) or you can write about something that you're passionate about or whatever you're feeling like writing that day. Additionally, The Outbound has cultivated a environment of like-minded, outdoors-lovin' people who care about what you write so your audience is right there. Give it a try! Even if you think you're horrible at writing you may find after a few months you actually love it and the only way to get better is to practice!
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.