I’ve been reading Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. It’s a great book about writing. Not everything in it resonates for me, but much does. (Stuff like “just write,” and “write shitty first drafts.”) I’ve also been doing a bit more writing away from this blog – writing that I actually “edit” before pressing “send” or “publish” on. It’s such a different process, writing for a blog, and writing for more serious/demanding venues. That’s not to say that I’m not demanding of myself here, that you’re not demanding of me. But what I write here, I write primarily for the purpose of expressing myself. The writing (verb) itself is the point, more than the writing (noun). It’s not so much what I have written that matters to me as the experience of having written it. The fact of you, my audience, is a tremendous benefit, but it’s not, ultimately, the point. And you, alas, for the most part get to read my shitty first drafts.
I’ve learned that I don’t really write for you over the years by watching my relationship to my audience. In the beginning, I was obsessed by traffic. How many people were coming to the site? How long were they staying? How many pages were they visiting? Nowadays, I’m still somewhat obsessed, but in a much more… passive, consumptive… way. I monitor my stats. I see when I get more visitors, when fewer. When folks stay longer, when they stay less. I see which pages are consistent draws, which are new draws, and which seem to fall into a void after I press “publish.”
It’s all very interesting to me, but it no longer carries much (if any) weight. In the beginning, I would try to tweet to juice my stats, post on Google+, comment on others’ blogs, participate in memes and contests and the like. I would comment on mainstream news articles, hoping to get readers who didn’t think themselves readers of sex blogs. And so on.
Now, I look at my “GAnalytics” app a couple of times a day, most days (though many days, not at all). I track my stats overall. I notice trends. Like, for instance, a steady upward trend in the “stickiness” of my site over the last few months, as I’ve changed the mobile theme, and made an effort both to write excerpts to tease readers past the front page, and to engage in at least minimal search engine optimization when I post. (To give you a sense – the average viewer used to stick around for three pages per visit; nowadays, it’s up to over six.)
Also, my traffic has been up. And almost all of the increase is due to Google. Which would seem to suggest that search engine optimization works. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems that the combination of creating “focus keywords,” writing “meta descriptions,” and making my front page a little less daunting all have produced results.
To what effect, though? Do I really care? Honestly? No.
I went offline a couple of months ago for a bit, because reasons. That frustrated me, a little, because I had been on a kind of steroid-al trajectory upward in traffic for a few weeks right before that. And it still frustrates me, because I haven’t yet recovered to where I was.
But where, a few years ago, I would have set myself to making it all right, to juicing my stats by hook or by crook, today, I’m much more interested in simply seeing what happens, in inferring what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, I really just want to express myself.
And, of course, to get laid. That’s important, too.
On that note: it’s been a long time since I had a threesome. There was an abortive one just under a year ago about which I didn’t write, but from which I have a spectacular photo. But none since then, and neither of the two participants in that last one is likely to participate in the next. One because she seems to have moved on from me as a sexual partner (though not, thankfully, as a friend), and one who sucked my cock quite recently. But who won’t be doing that in the company of others, any time soon.
I think it might be time for me to rectify that.
Speaking of which, I have some dates to write about. One, with Tamora – which I wrote about, but which I wrote about badly, and need to fix my writing about. One, with Gwyneth – a third or fourth date over a period of a few years, I believe, but a woman about whom I’ve not written. And two about which I can’t write, exactly, but about which I want to find a way to write, in spite of not being able to write about them. And, I have some non-dates, a little distant buddy action, about which I’m also eager to write….
That all was a long-winded way of saying, “I’m ready to spend a fun evening with two or more women again. It’s been too long.”
Don’t you think?