Turf and Blog

Turf zone – JohnMuirWay

You may have gathered from the sheer number of pages on Planet Gary that I enjoy blogging and you would be right. While I enjoy a wide range of interests, many of them listed here, writing up a blog page or posting some photographs online gives me a final purpose to whatever activity I’ve been up too, be it finding sand samples for the collection, searching for that unknown Scottish brickmark, exploring on my Swifty kick scooter, or by far my favourite at the moment, playing the Turf game.

As well as creating my own blog pages, I also enjoy reading the blogs of others, but blogs on Turf seem few and far between, there are some in the Swedish language but none I’ve been able to find in English. Yes, you can use Google to translate but it’s not quite the same. On this page I want to show how easy it is, relatively speaking, to create a blog and there are a number of ways of doing this. My aim is, hopefully, to encourage other turfers to put finger to keyboard and share their turfing adventures online. Who would not want to know what Féarglas, Queen of Turfers, gets up to when she’s out turfing all night!

The first, and the simplest, is to write up your story and post on the Turf forum, most likely in the General section. This does not seem to be a common practice – I guess people are too busy out playing Turf to have the time. Perhaps the Turf admins might create a dedicated section for Turf blogs and we can share our adventures. There is also an option to post images as well. Similarly, you could also post your blog on your Facebook page, if you have one, and share a link to it on the Turf forum. Don’t worry if you think you cannot write, it doesn’t matter at all, everyone will understand, as many of us are in the same boat, myself included.

Another option is to sign up for a free online blog such as WordPress – I’ve chosen this as an example as it’s the same blogging platform I use myself for Planet Gary, the main difference being I host the software online myself. The free version is fairly basic but will get you up and running in no time, just follow the instructions or wizards. Once you get going and want more features there are also paid options from a few pounds per month upwards. There are various downsides to the free version. For example, you cannot have your own domain name, there will be various restrictions on use, space limits, features, etc., you don’t own the blog and then there’s the advertising – say no more. None of these apply if you choose the next option.

The next option is do-it-yourself and this is a bit more complicated. Firstly, you will need some hosting, that’s a space on the Internet, actually on a server somewhere, that will hold your blogging software. You then download your chosen blogging software, for example, from the WordPress site, and upload it to your hosting. Setting up the actual blog only takes a few minutes but you will need to create a database first that will be used to store all the data relating to the posts and images you upload and you will also need a domain name. Hosting packages are available from around £5.00 a month. There is a bit of a learning curve here but plenty of help is available online. Note that the initial setup may vary depending on the blogging software you decide to use. There are quite a few to choose from with WordPress being the most common, followed by Blogger. You can also add various features, such as subscriber forms, social media links and so on, to your blog in the form of plug-ins. My own hosting, Ionos, has a neat app that will setup a WordPress blog in a few minutes. Easy as eating apple pie and ice cream.

The best advice I can give is to do your research. A quick search on “how to create a blog” will produce plenty of pages for the reading, some better than others. That’s the Internet for you. If you do decide to share your Turf adventures, start simply by posting your words and images on the Turf forum or on your Facebook page. Then if you find yourself wanting something more, go for one of the other options above. Don’t forget to tell people you’ve posted a blog page or fellow turfers may not know you’ve posting anything.

Once you’ve got your blog up and running online, you need something to go on it. Now, turfing is not the easiest subject to blog about. Essentially, all you are doing is taking zones, one after the other, again and again and again. And that would soon become very boring reading indeed, though only possibly, as you never know who your readers are.

So, what do you write your turfing blog about? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Explain your turfing plan for the day, your route and thoughts.
  • Mention any interesting or special zones you’ve taken.
  • You might mention any zones that you couldn’t take, and why.
  • Then there’s also the ever changing weather to comment about.
  • What about mode of transport: bike, walk, run or kick scooting.
  • You might include local history, geology, wildlife or archaeology.
  • Note any encounters during your turfing session, people, etc.
  • Mention the location: woodland, hills, urban, desert or coastal.
  • You might include any aims for medals, point targets, etc.
  • Perhaps recall your own past experiences, memories, etc.
  • Include a few stats: points total, zones tally, medals awarded.
  • And whatever else comes to mind. Anything goes!

Whatever you want to say, try and make it interesting to readers, and avoid simply recording just the zones you went to. You might also ask yourself why you want to write a blog? Personally, I find writing the blog gives me purpose beyond whatever activity I’m undertaking, be that cycling, turfing, sand collecting or whatever. It gives me an ultimate reason to get out and about. Essentially, I do the blog for myself but it’s great when others enjoy them as well, get something from them and possibly even find encouragement to try something new themselves.

Finally, if you do know of any blogs relating to Turf, please use the Contact Form to let me know and I’ll include it on my Turf Links page. Happy turfing!

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