Authenticity and Blogging: Know Thyself and Be Thyself
I have been blogging in this particular space since the end of March this year. So almost five months. In the blogging world that is still a toddler learning to crawl. I am a veteran at blogging though, I have had blogs since my late teens. But none of those felt right and I created a lot of graveyard spaces with a few dozen blog posts, abandoned because they just didn’t feel right. I have always wanted to write, and it is something that I have done on and off since my childhood. So having a blog seemed like a natural direction for me to go into. It is harder than you think though! You need to find a niche that fits who you are, and there are so many different to choose from. But not only that. One thing that I feel has made this blog so successful is that I am able to express myself in a way that I can stay true to myself. I don’t have to hide any part of me. So this is what this post is going to be about: authenticity and blogging.
Maybe I can start with what successful means in this context, and for myself. A lot of people go into blogging to get feedback and to just be read by others. It might be about a connection with others, being part of a community, starting a conversation, sharing information. I read a post from the beautiful Floss a while ago that expressed just that: setting your own goals, creating connections, starting a conversation on topics that are usually shunned. And you might also want to get recognized as someone who has things of substance to say, or someone who is a great writer. It kind of depends on what you are focusing on in your writing. And I can definitely go down with that!
Starting a Conversation and Creating a Connection
For me success with my blog is partly about starting a conversation and making connections with like-minded people. I have met so many absolutely wonderful people who I admire through my blog. Some I would call my friends at this point. I also want to spread information about kinks, about BDSM, D/s, body positivity, mental health. And I want people to read my erotica! I think I am being fairly successful on that level because I write about topics that are not often covered on the internet in general. I have been trying to understand how the SEO keywords work and I get hits from search engines. They are not the largest groups of hits on my website yet, but I am getting there.
Which brings me to another level of success: stats. Some people like measurable goals, they like to see the numbers. I am definitely one of those people! It makes me feel good when I see that my numbers have gone up, I am wondering what went wrong when they go down, or what I could do better when they are stagnating.
I am not putting my biggest effort into growing my stats, but I am definitely working on it. I try to be present on social media, share my work where I can, I try to participate in memes. Also, I try to write guest posts that link back to me, I try to be on the bloglists. I could put more effort into it but there are only so many hours in the day.
Have I been successful at growing my stats? Yes, yes, I have. Let me give you some numbers! During the last week of May I had 379 views. Last week I had 1309 views. I also hit a new high on Sunday with 346 views, which was a lot more than my average of about 150 views a day. So yes, I see this as a success, and it is black on white, not just a feeling. And I have only been doing this for not even five months, mind you.
And finally, there is the money aspect. Not everyone wants to take the leap from being a sexblogger in their free time to actually becoming a freelance writer, a published author or have a lot of affiliates. And that is okay! But if you want to do that, there are a lot of great role models in the sex blogging community and many of them love sharing their knowledge on how to get a foot into the business part of it all. There is the Smutlancer, for instance. There is a ton of information out there!
Making money with your writing could be a way to describe success as a sexblogger. And I? I see it that way too. I want to make money with my writing. Honestly, I have always wanted to do that. I can’t work a normal 9 to 5 job. So this could be a great way for me to make a living, eventually. I have slowly been working on getting there. For instance,I have had my first article published. I am in touch with people that want to collaborate with me and I have started pitching ideas. I have not made a lot of money with it yet, at all. A few bucks here and there. But I am getting there!
Personal Success: Being true to myself
So in general, I feel like things are definitely going into the right direction for me, in all three areas: connection and interaction, stats and making money. That made me think though: how have I been able to actually be and feel successful so far? Okay, let me just say this first: I put a fuckton of work into my blog and writing. I write about 3000 words a day. and I post at least one blogpost a day. I read lots of blogs, comment, I do social networking. My “success” is in no way something that fell into my lap. I never have a day I don’t write. And you know, that is something that everyone can do, put the work in.
But there is something else: I am true to myself – I am being authentic. I know who I am, what I am, and I am not hiding it. I have done it all my life and in most other areas that kind of thinking is frowned upon. You are expected to adapt, to be “normal”, to function like others do. But that has never been me. I can’t function like others, I look different. I am different. You know, I have been fairly successful in some areas in my life in the past. But have I ever felt successful? Nope. I felt like I was hiding parts of who I am. I knew who I was, but I thought who I was, was not acceptable.
Being Fabulous, Mental Health and Sexy Pictures
Until I started my sexblog. I know I still stick out and learning that I don’t need to hide anything about who I truly am, has been a work in progress. It has only been recently that I realized that I actually come across in a certain way, and that it is not bad that I do. I know that I write different from others. I know that I look different. And of course: I know that I think differently, And I know that most of my life experiences are pretty out there.
Someone said the other day that I am in your face, that my blog is like: I am here, and I am fabulous! I wasn’t aware of that I come across that way. But that is how I want to be seen, because that is who I am! I stick out, and I want to stick out! (unless I am having a shit day and I want to hide under a rock).
One part of myself that I have rarely shared in my life are my mental health struggles. Even on this blog I have tried to tread that topic carefully, until I thought: ah fuck it, if someone shuns me for being messed up, then whatever. A milestone was writing that post about my Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was very nervous about publishing that particular post. And oh my, the response I have received is overwhelming, in a very positive way. I am finally being true to myself, I am me, I don’t hide my mess.
Another thing that has been very freeing is posting sexy pictures of myself on this blog. It is so odd. I don’t necessarily like my body, and I know I look very different. But posting those pictures, of me how I am and how I look, is being true to myself. I am being authentic. I am who I want to be. Unfortunately, I have recently had a backlash when an old friend criticized that I post sexy pictures of myself. But instead of feeling shame, I decided to own it. I posted a picture that I felt was erotic but close-minded people might be offended by. Whatever, I say. I am not going to change because others are judgmental. In this space, I want to be me.
That I am being true to myself feels like a huge success on my personal journey. I have a lot of struggles, I am not a very functioning human being. But I am fabulous and I want to show it to the world! And it makes me even happier, that that kind of authenticity is even translating into measurable success. I am lucky.
The Sexblogging Community
The sexbloggers that I admire and who I would describe as successful, stick out. They have something that is different. But it is not only that. They are being true to themselves: they show vulnerability, they are honest about who they are. And they don’t create some flashy fantasy of awesomeness. They are awesome because they are raw, sometimes brutally so, and because their talent shines through. The sexblogging community is amazing because it embraces diversity, it is accepting, and encouraging. Without the support and encouragement by other bloggers, I wouldn’t have taken the steps into the direction of success that were needed. So I want to encourage you too: you, who is reading thing. You, who wants to start writing. You, who has always been hiding who you truly are. If you stay true to yourself, you might just feel successful too!