January 2021

Thoughts about…

Ringing in the New Year

I’m sure it’s obvious by now (based on previous newsletters) that I’ve been struggling to keep up with my usual essays. This isn’t due to a lack of ideas. I’ve simply been investing my time and resources into other projects. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.

What becomes frustrating for me isn’t necessarily the fact that I don’t get around to writing the essays. Mostly, I just become frustrated from the pressure that I place upon myself to get them done. And, then, when I miss the mark on publishing my newsletter in a timely fashion (because I’m wasting time dragging my feet on writing something new), I feel guilty and like I’ve failed in some small way.

I totally realize that there’s no reason for me to place that kind of pressure on myself. But I try to be thorough and professional in everything I do. So instead of going through this monthly mental fiasco, I’m going to mix things up slightly for 2021. Instead of placing emphasis on the written word, I’m going to feature more of my visually-oriented work.

What I’ve discovered during these past months through my increased video output is that I do already infuse much of what I would’ve written (in my newsletters) into my cross-country skiing videos, for example. This really shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve always incorporated metaphor into my work.

I just didn’t know whether or not there was a “market” for that messaging in my videos. But I’ve been finding that people respond to it well. Even when I include philosophical stuff into my cross-country ski “how-to” and FAQ videos, people seem to appreciate the broader perspective. Perhaps my work simply provides a welcome contrast to the typically straightforward and step-by-step approach that many creators take when sharing information. I’ve also received a lot of positive feedback regarding my down-to-earth and matter-of-fact presentation.

The bottom line is that it’s begun to feel redundant to produce my videos, edit/write articles for Tahoe Trail Guide, and then try to write a unique (from those projects) essay for this newsletter. If I was financially independent I could accomplish it all, but in the meantime I have to manage my time as best I can. So, I’ll be featuring a lot more photography, art, and videos in the months to come as I’m consistently producing this work every week (and it’s relatively easy for me to assemble it all in these newsletters).

Life is what it is, and it cares not for our plans. So long as we embrace the process and let go of the outcome, we can trust that life will be more fulfilling and more likely to be filled with peace.

I hope you continue to follow me along this journey 🙂

Tahoe Big Year

The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science is hosting the Tahoe Big Year for 2021. Check out their website(s) for more information. I encourage you to participate in this event if it’s of any interest to you. The birding community at Lake Tahoe is relatively small, but it’s made up of fantastic people who are always willing to help you get into the world of birding.

As you probably already know, there’s a huge demand for winter-related (i.e. cross-country skiing and snowshoeing) gear and information. So, I’m trying to make myself useful by offering as much information as possible. These YouTube videos are an effective way of delivering that information. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m investing so much effort into building my channel. And my effort seems to be paying of (literally and figuratively) as I continue to gain new subscribers, increased traffic, and generally a lot of great feedback.

Many of the comments that I’ve received about my videos is that people appreciate my matter-of-fact and down-to-earth style of instruction and production. For a long time I wondered whether or not I needed a “schtick” when making these videos. But shoehorning into my videos clickbait such as wacky and over-the-top pratfalls, high-octane techno music, or presenting myself as some sort of perma-smiling cheerleader is just so fake and artificial. None of which has anything to do with my personality. I totally admit that much of what I produce isn’t super dynamic and it’s not so compelling that you simply can’t look away from it.

But, it’s honest.

I don’t try to make anything out to be something other than what it is. I don’t present an image of myself or my abilities that’s incongruous with who I am in “normal” life. What you see is what you get, and what you get is quality information based on my direct and diverse experience and knowledge.

Sure, I am “selling” a way of life. But that way of life for which I advocate is based on developing an appreciation for nature and learning to be a good steward of public land. I’m not hustling products or junk you don’t need.

The bottom line is that I totally understand that it’s going to (most likely) take me a lot longer than other people to build some sort of financial independence out of this digital delivery system of online articles and videos.  However, I’ll happily continue to produce helpful material that enables people to travel safely in the outdoors and enjoy themselves rather than spending all of my time researching and experimenting with what makes a video go viral.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my channel. Thank you 🙂

Thanks for being a part of my life. Until next time…

-Jared Manninen

Tahoe Trail Guide is an online resource for hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the Lake Tahoe region. In addition to trail data, I offer backcountry “how-to” articles and information about the local and natural history of Tahoe. Tahoe Swag is a collection of art and design products I create based on my love of the outdoors and appreciation for Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains.

If you like any of the images I post in these newsletters, please contact me. I’d be more than happy to upload them to my RedBubble account so that you can order prints and other merchandise featuring the images.

Categories: Newsletters
Tags: #2021

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