Featured Blog: Dawn’s Bloggy Blog

I’d like to introduce you to Dawn Fine, whom you may know in other contexts as

Dawn and her husband Jeff have been full-time motorhoming for more than seven years and still love it. When and where they will settle down is a mystery, but for now they are enjoying the nomadic lifestyle. They love hiking, birding, mushrooming, shelling, rocking, and hanging out in the great outdoors as well as spending time with family and friends.

Dawn’s Bloggy Blog is the story of their travels around the United States in their home on wheels – a visual travelogue.

Welcome, Dawn. Tell us why you started a blog.

Eight years ago when my husband Jeff retired we sold our home, put lots of stuff in storage, and hit the road in our Homey on Wheels. I started out doing an email travelogue so that family and friends could keep up with our journey. At the time dial-up internet was our only option. As time passed and technology changed WiFi became available and I purchased a broadband card for my laptop.

This opened up a whole new world for me. I, for the most part, was always connected to the Internet. I decided then to start blogging our adventures. I could now embed video and photos…and write a new type of travelogue…A Virtual Travelogue.

My sister will tell you that I used to joke about inventing a machine that would enable me to transport family or friends to wherever we were. I didn’t invent that machine, but blogging allows me to take Mom and Dad, friends and family, hiking to the tops of mountains with me, viewing amazing rock formations in Utah, and seeing the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the beauty in the desert, the vast stretches of beaches, and other wonderful things that we see as we travel.

What’s the best thing about blogging?

Blogging for me is like show and tell. The best thing about blogging is being able to show my family, friends and blogging friends what I am seeing, thinking , and doing.

It enables me to keep in touch with family and friends and meet new blogging friends.

I can take my friends and family everywhere I go…My own traveling community.

How has blogging changed how you think about nature? or how you write?

I can’t say that blogging has changed the way that I think about nature but it has slowed me down when I am in nature. I find I am waiting a little longer to capture that special bird or bug photo…waiting for the sun to rise or to set to capture its beauty, or just looking at things a bit more to find that special treasure to take home to my friends and family…and blog about it.

As far as the writing…Err ahh…I am not a writer…nor can I disguise myself to be one…tee hee. I am a simple gal, with simple writing skills. I can say that I appreciate and admire many bloggers who have a way with words and can take me places without pictures…with only their words…amazing…

Nope, I don’t do that. Simple. To the point, a bit of silliness…that’s me.

How do you promote your blog and attract readers?

This promotion thing is fairly new to me. I’ve always had a widget on my blog in order to see where people that read my blog were originating and a counter that I rarely look at.

I never used to keep track of how many hits I would have a day. I do love comments and was happy to see the number of comments increasing when I started interacting with other bloggers. I saw that others did Skywatch posts and started doing a few of those myself and had many more comments and more followers. I noticed that many of the blogs I read were members of this Nature Blog Network. A few months ago I thought I might apply…thinking that my blog, being a hodgepodge of everything, might not be the type of blog they would want on the NBN. Much to my pleasure I was accepted into this amazing community of wonderful nature bloggers!

I watched as my rating went from in the 900s down to the mid 100s. within a few months I was astonished and excited that I had quite a readership already. I think a lot of that was because I had already formed online friendships with other bloggers.

In order to keep a readership I have been using Twitter, Chirptracker and Facebook to show when I have a new blog post.

My virtual community is growing. I embrace Nature Blog Network, Blogging, Twitter, Chirptracker and Facebook as great social networking tools. I suggest all of you who haven’t tried them to do so. If you need any help…just send me a tweet…Ill be glad to help ya!

Is there a story behind the name of your blog?

There is absolutely no story behind the name of my blog. It was me being silly and fun and light…that is what I like my blog to be as well.

Do you feel you’re part of a community with other nature bloggers?

The best part about blogging for me is the community, the small virtual world that has been created by blogging. When I started my blog four years ago the only people that saw my blog were family and friends. Within the past seven months or so, I began to read other bird and nature blogs. I started commenting on these blogs and the bloggers would then visit my blog and comment. Friendships formed and I discovered a community that could move with me as I traveled. How cool is that! My blogroll grew from ten to hummm…I am not going to count…but at least ten miles long.

Birding and nature blogs are my passion…I can read morning til night if I let myself. I have became a Blogoholic. Yes…that’s me… and here it is out in the open for everyone to see…tee hee Dawn Fine is a Blogoholic!

During this time period I started using Chirptracker and Twitter to post bird sightings and chat with other birders.

In order to keep track of these birders who had blogs or used twitter or chirptracker…I created a Facebook group called Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp, where people could post URLs to their accounts and read of others who did the same. Greedy little Blogaholic me..picked up a few new blogs to read from the group. The facebook group Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp continues to grow…Please join us!

Now here is where this community changes for me and where face to face meetings take place. As Jeff and I traveled birders on Twitter and Chirptracker were telling us where to go see the birds and what to expect. Another amazing community! I suggest you all sign up for both!

I decided that it would be great to meet up with some birders and the first meet up was in New York with John of A DC Birding Blog and Matt of Chirptracker fame and his own blog Mattbango.  We had so much fun meeting these two bright birders!

Another meet up was one that Christopher of Picusblog so kindly organized and suggested. I decided to make this an official Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp meet up. We had a great showing.and a fantastic time, which is posted at http://dawnandjeffsblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/birders-who-blog-tweet-and-chirp-outing_15.html. Christopher and others plan on continuing outings in New England.

As I blogged, tweeted and chirped and used Facebook to talk about these outings others became interested and we have more outings planned in the future. For example, we just had an outing July 11th in Milford, Ct. We had a perfect day and a wonderful time! http://dawnandjeffsblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/bwbtc-outing-milford-ct.html. Another event will be on August 15th in Minnesota – our first Birders who Blog Tweet and Chirp meets Birds and Beers (Birdchick‘s group). Should be lots of fun! Check out my blog for details.

Any words of wisdom for new nature bloggers?

Words of wisdom…humm…Be yourself, blog your passion, enjoy blogging…don’t let it become a burden. Embrace the nature blogging community! Amazing people out there!

Anything else you’d like me to ask you, or that you’d like to volunteer without being asked?

I have an announcement about the Birders, who Blog, Tweet and Chirp. I am very excited about this! John Briggs from Birding in Maine has been working on a website for us, actually for all of you who would like to start your own meet ups and outings.

The website is arranged by region and then by state. We would like to have area bird/nature bloggers representing their state or region who will arrange bird outings and meet ups. Let John or me know if you are interested. Meet ups and outings can be posted to the website.  There is a discussion board, photo gallery, and much more. All of this is free for all of you to use. So please join and enjoy! We are hoping that more of you can meet your fellow bird/nature bloggers.

As we travel west this summer I will continue to plan outings for Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp. Please check the new website or my website to see if we will be in your area. We would love to meet you!

Thank you, Wren, and the Nature Blog Network for this opportunity to speak about my blog, and thank you for creating such a wonderful community of nature bloggers here.

Thank you, Dawn. Safe travels, and say hello to everyone from us as you meet up with your colleagues.

27 Comments

  1. July 20, 2009 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    Fun interview and gorgeous images! Dawn is far more talented than she gives herself credit for… Curious, friendly, funny, energetic and loaded with heart. It has been a great pleasure to get to know her!

  2. Lori
    July 20, 2009 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    I have been reading Dawn’s blog since the beginning. Of course, I happen to be one of her crazy sickstas. Dawn has an amazing sense of humor and she cracks me up with her take on her and her hubbys adventures.

  3. Biff
    July 20, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Great article and very impressive blog. I’ve added the URL to my “favorites” list.

  4. July 20, 2009 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Awesome! You all knew Dawn already, but your comments may help convince someone else to visit her blog. That’s the best part of the Featured Blog posts – introducing bloggers to new audiences.

  5. David Breyer
    July 20, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    Great story, Dawn! And the pictures are just awesome.

    Miss you guys!

    doc

  6. July 20, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Great piece on Dawn, who I met recently in person at the Milford CT outing. I was a newbie birder and she and her husband embraced and welcomed me to the fold. I love her blog and love reading about their adventures. Instead of wishing I could go along for the ride, I get to in reading her blog…

  7. July 20, 2009 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    It has been a long time. Good hearing from you.
    I see you still have the same coach. I still have mine.
    Charlie and Mary Granone

  8. Samarrah Fine
    July 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Dawn’s Bloggy Blog is the best! (of course I am not biased; I am family :) ) I enjoy reading it becasue it is almost as good as being on the road with Jeff and Dawn.

  9. July 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    I’ve know Dawn and Jeff since the day they picked up their Homey in Junction City, OR. We shared the terrible September 11th attacks while viewing a TV in the waiting room in OR as the day’s events unfolded.
    Dawn’s phone calls back to her daughter in NY, etc. etc. I taught Dawn to make scrubbies……She was just becoming a new Full-Timer….. The blog is a fantastic way to keep in touch. Keep it coming…

  10. Lorraine
    July 20, 2009 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Dawns blogs are always informative, and lots of fun. I go with her every step of the way, in mind and spirit. The pictures are fantastic and even though I hardly travel I feel as I have seen it all. Thank you darling daughter, you, yourself are a treasure!

  11. July 20, 2009 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Dawn’s blog is what got me so interested in blogging and meeting other birders. Reading her blog also gives me other blogs to explore and discover. She is a great writer/blogger/chirper/tweeter

    dan

  12. July 20, 2009 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Dawn, you’re living my dream! I do hope you enjoy every mile, every minute, every creature, and every new reader!

  13. July 20, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    I think any of us would be hard-pressed to name someone who’s done more for the community part of the nature blogging community in the last year, well, except for Mike of course.

    Kudos, Dawn!

  14. Tinasbirdyarns
    July 20, 2009 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    Wow what a great interview Dawn. I think you are living your dream..beam me up Scotty..I wish you and Jeff good health and happy trails!

  15. Mom Fine
    July 20, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    Dawn, I love your blogs, read them daily, and this way I keep in touch with you and Jeff all the time. Your nature pictures are really beautiful and I am so proud to have you as my daughter-in-law.

  16. July 20, 2009 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations, Dawn! Great job! You are blogger poster girl! And I enjoyed meeting you in CT; would love to meet up with you and Jeff again.

  17. July 20, 2009 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Congrats!
    Love that frog photo!

  18. July 21, 2009 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    I’m relatively new to Dawn’s flock, but I’m so glad I’m in! Dawn’s posts are always creative and fun…and informative too. What a life! Traveling around and following the birds is a dream come true. Now she’s meeting birders wherever she goes! Dawn…you are a natural leader…keep on bloggin’!

  19. Tink
    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    I am Dawn’s sister and enjoy her blog and how it has evolved through the years. It’s light, informative and humorous at times. She is more talented then she will admit. Anyone is lucky to get a peak at her adventures.

  20. July 21, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Dawn is one of the bright stars of the blogosphere! Her style is both fun and informative, with great stories and pictures as well.

    I believe Dawn loves meeting people and has become instrumental in promoting nature blogger’s get-togethers. I am looking forward to meeting Dawn and Jeff when you come out West for a Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp outing!

  21. July 21, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    Awww You guys..I feel the Love and it makes me smile ear to ear…wow do I look funny with that smile..

    But seriously..Thanks..and yes..I think its all about community here..Lots of great Nature bloggers..and we all have that something in common..A love of nature a yearning to learn more about it!

    Thanks family and friends for the very kind comments!

  22. July 21, 2009 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for this interview and the photos!
    I enjoy following Dawn as she travels about the country.
    Sherry

  23. July 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    I have been following Dawn’s blog for several months and it is one of my all-time favorites.

    I had the privilege of meeting Dawn and her husband Jeff during a BwBTC outing in Massachusetts. They are awesome folks and it’s an honor to have them as friends.

  24. July 22, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    Dawn was my mentor when I wanted to learn how to blog. After almost one year and over 100 blogs later, she still sets the bar and keeps me inspired to keep on blogging. Our lives are not as mobile as her’s, but she has taught me that everyday has something of interest to write about.
    Thanks Dawn!

  25. July 22, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    It’s impressive to see the support Dawn recieves from friends and family. Of course, that’s a tribute to her as well, for making and keeping friends and inspiring loyalty.

  26. August 2, 2009 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    Great interview Dawn. your Tweets first caught my attention via Gunnar and from there I’ve kept up to date (when I’m not out in the sticks birding – its a hard life haha)

    Love your passion for nature which I share – wish sometimes I could connect more online and share what’s happening here.

    btw very jealous you guys there get to meet each other – at the moment only about 6 (max) birders here, but working on it :) )

    Take care and never lose that enthusiasm.

    Marcell

  27. February 7, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

    I believe Dawn loves meeting people and has become instrumental in promoting nature blogger’s get-togethers.

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  1. By Birds and bloggers on October 29, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    [...] DawnFine on Twitter Dawn Simmons Fine on facebook You can read more about me here My interview with  Nature Blog Network. [...]