We need to talk about… Sex

Note on a tree in a forestBlogging is generally good fun, but with so many blogs seeking an audience it can, even on a good day, be likened to pinning a note to a tree in a forest.  And if that’s the case, then posting on a Friday afternoon is like writing that note in invisible ink. Whatever the world at large was getting up to on Friday afternoon (and the sunny Saturday and Sunday that followed for that matter), you weren’t reading blog posts, were you?

Yes, I committed a social media faux pas when I posted my latest blog last Friday afternoon.  It was the one headed Precision detail in a novel – not just any place but this place about how I used notes and photographs to help me recall places and senses and inject precision detail into my writing.  I’ve been trying different days and times for posting and last week I plumbed the depths – a Friday afternoon ahead of a weekend that teased (the UK at least) with the promise of a little sunshine. Not only that, but I might allow that it wasn’t the most compelling of posts – interesting for some, but hardly challenging, contentious or amusing in the way a properly engaging blog post needs to be.   A double-whammy, for sure. I’m sorry, ok. Mea culpa and all that.

So last Friday afternoon it hit the water with a barely perceptible splash, before sinking without trace over the weekend, with hits in numbingly modest numbers and just one kind soul commenting; a dead body of a post, leaden and dull. Yesterday’s thoughts already half a mile down your blog reader, never to surface.

A few weeks ago, I penned a post on the challenges of writing sex into stories (Marmite Moments: Writing good sex). Strangely (who knew?), it was my most read and commented post of the last year. To be fair, a substantial dose of the credit for that is due to WordPress for offering me a second slot on Freshly Pressed – thanks, Ben! But it did get a few people going and it garnered some great comments and a whole host of new bloggers to connect with – and after all, that’s what makes blogging fun, isn’t it?

So clearly, I need to go back to writing about Marmite.

Or maybe… Sex.

That’s it. Not Marmite. Sex.

So I’ll see what I can do over the next few days, and I’ll be back soon with something to get properly hot around the collar, as it were, about.  Don’t get too excited though – this is still a blog about writing, not a blog about sex. But with the creative juices flowing, I imagine I can find a way to slip in a few sneakily salacious musings.

All in the best possible taste, of course.

12 thoughts on “We need to talk about… Sex

    1. Hi Elaine 🙂 Isn’t that funny! I don’t know that it has all that much to do with my posting on a Friday – more likely that it was an earnest post which didn’t offer much scope for comment. I’m guessing headlines, openers and pictures probably do most of the work of garnering hits, whatever day the post goes out. My attempts at finding a ‘good’ time to post aren’t exactly scientific either!

        1. Indeed I have. All very interesting. By far the most popular search term leading people to my blog has nothing at all to do with carnal matters – it’s actually ‘show not tell’ – which gladdens my heart, as it happens.

  1. You’re right, Julie, that sex will always do it. But don’t give upon your precision detail piece. I’ve found that people often discover old posts weeks after they’ve been published. (Although perhaps not in the numbers you’re looking for.) Tags help you find an audience, too. And there’s also a downside to “sex” as a tag or a subject. My second or third most popular piece ever was what I thought was a tender little reminiscence about my mother buying me my first bra in September 1944. It had the words “breast” and “nipple” in it (although they certainly weren’t tags). Now I see “tiny tits” and “young c**t” and other misspelled perverse atrocities showing up as search terms in my stats — not exactly what I had envisioned as readership for my little bit of memoir! So if you’re chasing high stat numbers, you just can’t win! Go on writing what you want to write about, as beautifully as you write it — and the right readers will find you! 🙂

    1. Hi Nina, I promise I’m not intending to shift gear into an entirely different sort of a blog any time soon. I take your point too – I’m writing to interest, amuse, challenge and engage with writers and people who are interested in writers and writing – and I don’t aim to solicit (as it were) the favours (as it were) of an audience inclined to the sort of search terms you saw after your post. And you know what? I’m not actuallly chasing high stat numbers – I’m enjoying this whole blogging business for its own sake. But… I do like to think that my posts are finding readers who enjoy them, and when I see that one has failed to gain traction for some reason, I can’t help the prickle of discomfort I feel. But it’s very short-lived. 🙂

  2. My first question would be: why are you worrying about visitor numbers? I know it is a great boost to the ego to have people flocking to your blog, and it’s wonderful to meet and interact with new people, but unless you have a sideline in online advertising (which I know you don’t) do you really want to restrict your writing to things guaranteed to draw people in.
    I look forward to your blogs because I know they are genuine, well written and insightful. I don’t comment on all but I do on most, because most things you write about chime with me. That’s not to say you shouldn’t write about sex and writing, because as you’ve shown in the past you have an interesting take on the subject, but please only do so if you want to. That’s what made most of us follow you in the first place and is what gained you those two, highly sought after, freshly pressed nominations.

    1. Oh God, Dylan… you’ve nailed it. It’s an ego thing… I know I’m a bad person – I can’t help it. I sneaked a look at the stats! That’s up there with ‘don’t get on the scales after a Saturday Night Blow-out’ – but I do that sometimes too.

      You’re totally right – I’m not writing for the benefit of online advertising (can’t stand the stuff). As I said to Nina above I’m writing to interest, amuse, challenge and engage with writers and people who are interested in writers and writing – and that’s about having fun with blogging and sharing some of the writerly angst with people. Perhaps I just shared a bit of bloggy angst instead this morning!

      I’m so glad you, and so many others, seem to enjoy my blog – and I honestly love getting your thoughts on some of my posts. I was a bit tongue-in-cheek this morning, I confess (you got that, right?). But… being a stubborn old mule, I will be posting about sex (…and writing) next – I’m set on it! 🙂

      1. You are not a bad person, just human like the rest of us. I watch my blog stats like a hawk and become just as disappointed as you when a post flops. I spent a few months alternating between normal posts and “top ten” posts because I heard they brought in readers (they do). I stopped because it felt fake to me so must have felt fake to my regular reader(s).
        Anyway, I’m off to add the finishing touches to my next post titled “10 things you never knew about sex, Miley Cyrus and One Direction”

        1. That’s a good point, about those ‘Top 10’ posts – they do draw readers. I’ll keep an eye out for that one about sex, Miley Cyrus and One Direction! 😉

  3. Julie sometimes you really make me laugh. You are a real trip. Dylan hit it right didn’t he? Your work is always excellent and enjoyed by those who read it. Sex? Of course sex sells well. It’s a draw card. I may just give it a go myself but I will have to give the idea a little thought. I found my biggest reader draw has been “porn stars wearing crosses” Read by people all over the world. I find it interesting.

    1. 🙂 Just a bit of fun, eh? But if you want another chuckle, check out my Twitter @JulieLawford where I posted a pic this afternoon showing what this particular blog headline did to my stats!

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