Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The curious world of blogging

Blogging is commonplace among many current and wannabe fulltimers. Even those that do not write themselves tend to follow others. There are many reasons why fulltimers blog. Some write for others; others write for themselves. Some post lots of pictures; others are far more introspective and share primarily through words. Some write daily; others write only when the mood strikes them. There’s no right or wrong and that’s the beauty of it.

My world of blogging has evolved greatly. I started out wanting to keep a journal of everything we had to go through to become fulltimers. I began writing in a Word document. Being a pretty private person, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to share my thoughts with anyone (except, of course, Tracy). As I started writing, I found it to be very therapeutic and as we became more serious about this lifestyle, I thought it might be helpful to be able to share my thoughts with close family and friends, especially those who I suspected might have difficulty understanding and accepting our decisions. So I created this blog, but initially I didn’t publicize it. It was still just for me.

In October, we attended the RV-Dreams Rally and during check-in, they asked if we had a blog. During a weakened moment, I said yes and provided the address. What was I thinking? I hadn’t written many posts at that point, but I also hadn’t shared my thoughts with anyone. I guess it was the immediate feeling of acceptance that allowed me to let down my guard. The next day Howard included the link in his journal and shortly thereafter, I had several people approach me and offer compliments on my writings. Wow, I didn’t expect that. I’m not sure I even expected anyone to really read it. What a confidence booster. I was glad I decided to share.

So now that I had followers, I felt the pressure to keep writing. I probably would have done so anyway, but this gave me even more incentive. My focus was still on topics for which I anticipated questions. When we would finally find the courage to tell our loved ones about our plans, I wanted it to be very obvious that this was well thought out. None of us has a crystal ball and there’s no way we can plan for everything that might happen, but I believe that if we can at least identify the risks, then we’ll be more prepared to deal with them if they should happen. I hoped that by showing that we weren’t going into this blindly, some comfort would be provided to those who were concerned for us. At least that’s what I was telling myself. I thought I was writing for others, but I really think that I was writing for myself. I was the one that had all of those concerns and I think I needed to convince myself that the ‘what ifs’ weren’t all that bad.

Once we are on the road, I expect our blog to evolve once again. We plan to use our blog as our primary means for keeping everyone updated on where we are and what we’re doing. I think it will be a little less introspective and a little more like a travelogue, with hopefully a lot more pictures. Although, I will still be the one writing most of it so I’m sure it will still contain many contemplative thoughts. We have an awful lot of people who will be living vicariously through us, and who knows, if all goes well, maybe even one or two of them will be converted! But I suspect that even as we grow into experienced fulltimers, I will still be writing primarily for me.

And it is with that that I would like to depart slightly and include a short rant…for me. I knew that when I publicized our blog, that it was open to everyone. And I am humbled by the number of followers that I have and am flattered that people find interest in my ramblings. I understand that nothing I write is copywrited and it is open to anyone to use as they choose. As fulltiimers, we share a lot of common thoughts and I will be the first to admit that I get a lot of ideas from reading other blogs. I’m sure that I have read things and then turned around and written similar viewpoints, but I hope that I at least have the creativity to put them in my own words. I recently ran across a blog that had used some of my writing, word for word. I'm familiar with the saying “imitation is the best form of flattery”, but I have to admit that I am a bit offended. I understand that they may share in the feelings I express; after all I suspect that many of us share in many similar feelings. But to use my words exactly? Am I wrong to feel victimized? I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. Do I share my feelings directly with them? Do I just let it slide and chalk it up to the risks of the world wide web? Well, I guess this is my way of dealing with it. I’m hoping that I can vent and then let it go. After all, there’s really nothing I can do about it and I don’t want to mire in the negative feelings. So I will take the high road and just let it be. Thanks for letting me vent and helping me move on.

Overall, blogging has been a wonderful tool for me and I have never regretted my decision in sharing. I still get tickled at every comment I receive. I read a lot of blogs, but am not very diligent about commenting. I will have to get better about that, knowing what the comments mean to me. For you bloggers out there, know that I am reading and appreciating everything you write. I love the diversity. I have learned so much from all of you and I have gained a lot of confidence in knowing that we share so much. Even though I have never met most of you in person, I feel like we are a community and I look forward to crossing paths with you each of you in the future. Thank you!


  1. I love following your very well-written blog and your comments here nudged me to let you know :) We, too, are hoping to be out there this year. I think it's incredibly rude and dishonest to plagiarize your blog! It's entirely possible that the guilty party has already read this entry and knows they've been busted. They should be very ashamed of themselves!

  2. I look forward to and enjoyy reading your blog. Much of what you say I can see in myself, especially the thoughts about the gypsy in yourself. I have always had the same feelings. I can imagine nothing worse for me that to know I am in the spot I am going to stay in for the rest of my life. We will be on the road in 2 years and I can't wait.

  3. I've had the opportunity to follow your blog for the past couple of months or so and it amazes me that you are able to so closely put my thoughts into your words. And they are your words. I'm not articulate enough to open up my inner thoughts but I'm trying to let a little bit of me out in our blog. The two of you are about a year or so ahead of us in the journey to fulltiming and I can truly see a reflection of our journey in your blog. You're doing a great job. Keep it up.

  4. We really enjoy your blog and we are very grateful that you follow ours! Can't wait to read and follow your full time adventures!

    In regards to the question:

    "But to use my words exactly? Am I wrong to feel victimized?"

    You have every right to feel both victimized and offended! You have poured your heart, soul and time into your blog. For someone to just come along and copy/paste your words and call them your own is despicable and utterly disrespectful! I hope this person reads your post and these comments. They should be more than ashamed of themselves! That's certainly not the way to present yourself into this lifestyle or community. May Karma play it's role... :)

  5. Connie, Rod and I follow your blog and we get really excited when you post. Mainly because of how you articulate and because we both know you write from your heart.

    If someone else copied and pasted your thoughts I think its probably because you captured their exact feelings, but they just didn't know how to express it in words, so they used yours.

    If you assume good intent,it might not sting as bad. Hopefully, they will read this and understand how this made you feel and will refrain from doing it anymore. I'm sure it was innocent at the time.

    Our best to you and Tracy as you make your final preparations for the road. Let the excitement of this overshadow the small stuff and look forward to happy days!

    Our best to you both,

  6. Thank you all for the comments, the support and the reassurance. I do hope that the plagaraziation was an innocent error in judgement and I will not allow it to overshadow all of the wonderful things that are happening. It truly does warm my heart knowing that we have so many friends along side us. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  7. "I understand that nothing I write is copywrited and it is open to anyone to use as they choose."

    As a published author, I beg to differ with you. If you write it, as soon as you publish it somewhere (be it in print or the Internet), it IS copyrighted and you own the copyright. In fact, magazines that want first rights or exclusive rights will not accept something previously published on the Internet.

    That said, whoever took your words and used them WITHOUT CREDIT TO YOU (and a link is always nice), is guilty of plagiarism.

    You should contact them and inform them that if they don't REMOVE or at a minimum credit you and link to your site (your choice of what you desire them to do), you will contact their site's host and report them and ask that their account be terminated.

    This is wrong!!!

  8. One thing I have to agree with you - RVers are a community, in particular full timers. I jest recently met few of them, (most of the bloggers as well) and there is something very special about this group, that makes me feel very proud being part of.
    As of copyright - I believe that if someone takes a paragraph of my blog (or a picture) it is because it was so good they just could not make it better (Like a greeting card) and that is a complement. Sure, a link might be better, and as Donna said - it is probably wrong, but still a complement :)

  9. We really enjoy reading your well written blog. We too are experiencing a lot of the same feeling you are. We read your blog and laugh at the similarities to our situation. We hope that whoever is copying your words will stop. I believe your blog writing belongs to you and it should be a common courtesy that others would not steal your writing. I really appreciate you being kind enough to share your thoughts and experiences with us. Please don’t stop writing. We love reading it.

  10. I really enjoy reading your blog as it is informative, interesting...and just plain fun most of the time. Sorry somebody stole some of your content. :(

  11. Sorry to hear of the issue with someone using your content. I would hope that it was not intentional....but you never know.

    I enjoy your blog and being a new full-timer can certainly identify with what you write. I have found that I(we) write our blog for ourselves as a reflection on our travels and for family and friends.

    Keep up the good work!!

  12. Connie, like others have said, I also enjoy your blog and look forward to each new posting. I'm sure it's a little disconcerting to see exact quotes lifted from your blog with no link-back or even a mention attributing the quotes to you. There is a lot of 'back and forth' in many of our blogs but it's pretty much all good-natured stuff where we gladly link to another blogger or talk openly about what he or she wrote - that's one of the great joys of blogging - the interaction.

    Your case is a bit different though and now that you've mentioned it, somehow it seems to cast a pretty long shadow over many of us who had nothing to do with this incident. If readers of your blog are like me, they may be asking themselves "I wonder who it was? I know it wasn't me, so maybe it was "x, y or z"!! See what I mean?

    I think the better approach might have been to ask the offending blogger directly what was on their mind when they pulled your quote and do they not think they should have attributed it to you? Depending on their answer, you may have been in a better position to determine your next course of action without leaving us all to wonder "who is the plagarist"?

    Just my own thoughts!