Bonjour, Blogger! : Vanessa
What is your blog about? When over-familiar strangers ask I reply “Sex” and that often gets them to go away, as the idea of sex seems to frighten a lot of people. However it’s mainly rambling about my dating life and all the sex I am (and am not) having.
Is this your first blog? Nope, I had a Diaryland blog before I even had a LiveJournal, and I had quite a few of those including one where I wrote stories about a boy called Rolf and his fox, for a special friend’s amusement.
When did you start your current blog? All the way back in October 2009
What made you do it? For a long time I’d been wanting to write a blog that was less personal and more focussed. I tried blogging my fiction (no-one read it), then lifestyle blogging (my day to life is horribly dull), and was at a total loss. That summer I worked at a festival and spent a lot of time complaining to my friend about all the terrible people I was dating and the ridiculous scrapes I ended up in, until finally at about 3am on Saturday morning he snapped “Why don’t you fucking blog about this rather than jabber at me?” At first I really worried as most dating blogs were about how desperate the writer was to find ‘the one’ which doesn’t interest me at all. On the other hand most sex blogs were detailed descriptions of how wild and crazy the author’s sex lives were, and often became a test to see who had the grossest or wildest sex stories. However when I realised that I could do it my own klutzy weird way it felt really liberating, and the feedback I got from people who really related to what I was writing made me feel way less weird and alone.
What was your first blog post about? It was actually about how to date multiple people at the same time ethically. Seeing as at the time I thought I was incredibly monogamous, and am now happily in a non-monogamous/polyamrous relationship I find this really hilarious! The signs were always there…
What do you think is the most useful tool to you as a blogger? Twitter totally. Without Twitter I’d never have managed to steer people to my blog, meet wonderful sex educators, activists, sex workers, and other inspirational people, as well as half my partners and friends. It’s a brilliant tool and is what you make of it. My feed is mostly filled with awesome queers, fantastic sex workers, and then a tonne of nerds who will squee over X Files with me: what more could I want?
Do people in your “real life” know about your blog? Everyone, even my parents, knows about my blog. In fact when I go to parties I am frequently introduced as “This is Vanessa, she writes about her sex life” which is quite an entrance to make.
If yes, has your blog helped you career wise? If you had told me 4 years ago that I’d be working on a book about sex and relationships that people are interested in publishing, and thinking of doing a PhD in Gender Studies I’d probably have thought you were high, but it’s exactly how my life is panning out and I totally love it. My blog is the reason that my life is wonderful today.
What has been the one thing (blog post, project, etc) you’ve been really proud of?
A couple of years ago the MP Nadine Dorries went on TV and implied that child abuse victims should blame themselves for what happened. As a sexual abuse survivor myself I was horrified. I wrote an incredibly emotional and off the cuff piece as a response, then went out for a long walk and a bit of a cry. When I came back I had been retweeted 100s of times, and I was receiving so much support and so many people sharing their stories that it was overwhelming. A group of people started writing to Nadine Dorries to ask her to explain her comments, and everyone from journalists to vicars supporting my comments. It was crazy, overwhelming, but ultimately wonderful.
Where do you see your blog in a year? As always reaching more people, being more honest, and getting more hits. I try not to plan too far ahead, just onwards and upwards.
What do you wish you knew when starting your blog? I wish I had known that gimmicks and silly promotional tricks don’t do anything. The best way to get noticed and make a name is by producing work you are proud of and promoting it hard yourself. You can do all the giveaways and sponsored posts you want, but if your content and ethos are crap no-one will care.
What do you wish you know about now? I wish someone would come and write this book for me, so I could update my blog more often.
How do you keep motivated to post? Because of the personal nature of my blog I don’t try to keep to schedules or have themed periods: when something happens to me that makes me really think (for more than about two minutes) then I spill it out into my update box and let it go.
Anything else you’d like to add? If you want to start a blog about dating or your sex life do it! So many people have been supportive about it, including my family, and we women need more people bucking the ‘get married have babies’ trope, so get out there. You have something awesome and interesting to say it and we all need to hear it.
Thanks Vanessa! We love her writing, and can’t wait to see more from her!