I’m a conformist by nature. Most of us are. It’s safer to conform, to follow the crowd, not stand out, not be noticed for good or bad. In my vanilla life, I’m a very conciliatory person. I want peace and harmony. I don’t want raised voices or disagreements. I’m pretty much the same way in my dark chocolate world, too.
That being said, I’m making decisions nearly every day about what my purpose is here on my website, on Twitter, on Facebook, on all of it. The moment I stopped writing “just for me” and began to write for my readers as well, I had decisions to make.
In my vanilla life, I work in communications, marketing, and public relations. Over the past several years, I’ve formed fairly strong opinions about what works and what doesn’t, regardless of the specific industry. One hard fast rule in the world of marketing, especially online marketing, is authenticity. A company, or a person, has to be real in order to gain and keep an audience.
I started this blog by writing about my sexual thoughts and my inability to orgasm. As many of you have seen, I’ve grown and developed on a personal level since the beginning. I look back over the past year, and I’m light years away from when I first started. And yet, at the same time, I’m still me.
I believe, professionally, in something called content marketing. That’s a very fancy term for “blogging.” When I decided to make a small business out of my writing, I looked at it as professionally as I could – which isn’t easy when the writing is your own personal thoughts, feelings, and sometimes pieces of your own soul. I forgot myself for the first few weeks, concentrating only on book sales. Be shocked, the world did not flock to buy my little piece of BDSM erotica. I realized, very quickly, that I wasn’t being authentic – I was simply trying to sell to people who had no reason to care about me or my writing.
I quickly switched gears. I went back to what mattered – writing good blog posts that had meaning for me, and hopefully resonated with readers. I went back on Twitter with the purpose of connecting with like-minded people. I’ve followed fellow writers. I’ve followed fellow kinksters. Hell, I’ve happily followed smart-asses because their tweets made me laugh. I’ve tweeted things that matter to me, knowing that somewhere, someone will laugh or smirk or whatever right along with me. I’m purposely trying to build a community of people that I have something in common with – not to sell them something. I want to create connections, real connections, with the world around me.
Every blog we write is content that we’re adding to the internet for someone to potentially find and hopefully connect with us. There’s a great responsibility in that. Nate has this amazing idea about communities. I agree with him in theory – the real discussion lies in the nitty-gritty details. With every post I write, whether it’s my own masturbatory experiences, sexually explicit scenes that live in my head, or just my thoughts on Dominance and submission, sex in general, or whatever, I’m adding to the plethora of words out there in the world.
I take pride in what I do, and I take pride in how I do it. Others write and blog, tweet and market better than I do, and I’m okay with that. I have a lot to learn. But at the end of the day, I have to be true to myself as well.
What brought all of this on? For the first time since I began writing, a near-stranger took me to task for being “too explicit” in a tweet request I made as part of an author’s group I belong to. I give her credit – she approached me privately, and we were both very polite to one another. I calmly explained that I am “explicit” because I would rather have people know exactly what kind of link they’re clicking on than to be fooled by what I’m offering and become upset when in the first three sentences someone has cum, someone has a cunt, and someone is getting finger-fucked. (Think about the shock to someone’s system if they weren’t prepared for that!)
She was polite, and I think I was too, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was angry when I read the message. Apparently, I’m the first member of this particular group to be so explicit. And my explicitness was causing her to leave the group. Actually, her own choices are causing her to leave the group. I take responsibility for my actions – not other people’s actions.
I thought about other writers I know that are a part of the group, who write sexual material as well, some more explicit than my own. I almost never see a tweet request. I wondered if they simply didn’t join the team because they knew these objections were out there, or if they’d received the same comments.
My first thought was to take my toys and leave the sandbox. My second thought was, “Oh hell no!” I have just as much right to participate as the next person, as long as I follow the rules. I thought about ways that I could tone down my messages, and it all felt false. Think about it – would you really classify me as “romance” or simply “sexually explicit?” I have a certain (and not unexpected) sensitivity to criticism about the BDSM world – shouldn’t I warn people that they’re about to read BDSM? If the title of my post contains the word “masturbation,” shouldn’t I tell you up front and not let it be an unpleasant surprise? Of course, I want my writing to be a pleasant surprise for everyone, but I’m not a complete Polly Anna – I know what kind of world we live in.
I believe in my heart that I know what’s true and right for me. I absolutely respect that others will disagree or feel uncomfortable with my explicitness. I will NOT falsely advertise to total strangers. And I am purposely trying to build a community of people who, while they might not be in to my brand of kink, at least have a curiosity about what I may have to say. The bonus is when they learn something from me, and I learn from them. And the extra-special bonus is when I turn my readers on with my words.
What I’m being reminded of is that the moment I took myself out of my safe, cocoon of a blog that was just for me and the people who willingly follow me and read my posts, I opened myself up to criticism. I’m not so arrogant that I can’t and won’t take constructive criticism and try to improve myself. At the end of the day, though, I have to be true to myself.
I make no apologies for being a sexually explicit, sexually submissive writer who adores writing BDSM-themed erotica – both fiction and non-fiction. Regardless of the people who don’t understand what I write or find it distasteful, I will not run and hide in an effort to make sure no one is uncomfortable. Frankly, I hope my readers are uncomfortable – in the best possible way. If you aren’t squirming in your chair because my words had a physical or mental effect on you, then I’m doing something wrong.
Because a handful of people that I know and love read my blog, I already filter myself. I struggle with that some days but I do it because I love them and don’t want to cause distress by outing our interpersonal communications. There is no way I’d do it for a stranger.
There will always be people who won’t accept the gift you are offering. Authenticity is the most precious gift any one person has to offer another. I love that you are staying true to yourself. You go, girl.
I want to thump my chest and do the big, brash thing about how awesome I am for refusing to back down. The reality is that I desperately want to be the “good girl” even with people who don’t matter. But, at the end of the day, I’m still going to be authentically me.
Do not back down my sweet. It is one of the reasons why I adore you. I’m proud of you Kayla. I wish I could be more like you. In time I will be. You make me so very, very proud.
Thank you. I won’t back down, but I will choose my battles wisely. 🙂
You will never be able to please everyone, no matter how hard you try or what you do there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. Don’t obsess over it, you both had your say and move on.
But always, always be who you are.
That’s my plan. And sometimes, you have to realize it’s a battle you’ll never win and walk away gracefully. I think I may need to forge my own path and rely less on the help of others outside my own genre – as much as I hate to admit that.
I’m proud of you for not backing down in the face of her criticism. Her discomfort is her personal issue with sex not your decision to put it out there. It’s commendable your drive to put your stuff out there and so is your consideration for your readers when you advertise the way you do. Do your thing, girl! 🙂
The official word is that the word “masturbation” makes people uncomfortable. I may have the inspiration for a work of non-fiction. Something to dwell on…
I don’t know how to be anyone other than who I am…and after an entire lifetime of pretending to be what others want me to be, the last thing I’m going to do is pretend in this forum.
I’ll be over here, doing my own thing, if anyone wants to join me.
/blush Thank you.
I’m a rebel and more non-conformist than ever as I age. I love authentic people who are whatever the fuck they are. That just shines in a sea of mediocrity. IMHO. Plus I’m just really sick of the prudishness (Amazon adult tag BS, censorship, etc.).
Prudishness is the right term. I often forget that since I feel freedom in my own sexuality that a good portion of the world still hides it all away as if it’s a bad thing. I’m just gonna be me. 🙂
Me again, you have Renee to thank for this, she did a post with video’s of Amanda Palmer. I couldn’t get the video’s to play, due to the firewall here but I became curious about who she is.
Found this TED talk she did back in Feb. and she talks about connecting with her fans and maintaining that one on one connection, very interesting:
The Art of Asking: http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html
Thank you. 🙂
Hiip-hiiip-huzzah! for telling Mrs. Grundy to go get fucked! I left an erotic writing group because what they wrote and talked about was so narrow and “ugh”. Oh, and I too was too explicit about BDSM… and… you know, you really do need to stop using certain words…. ARGH!! Oh, and the “You realize you’ll have to cut all that detail, because real people only want to read about monogamous happy endings with loving family. (ie the bitch gets pregnant) sigh.
So, I’m proud of you!
Yeah, in the end, I learned yesterday that the objections came down to one word – masturbation. I think I’ll just do my thing and let them do their thing, you know?
You keep on doing what you love to do and eventually others will appreciate you for it!
Thank you! I think people respond to authenticity more than anything. So that’s my plan – just keep being real. 🙂
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