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Two steps forward, one step back.
The process of writing these blogs means that at any time I have a queue of 3 or 4 articles in the pipeline ready to be published. Before an entry makes it into the final queue, I proofread it as well as asking my partner, Emma, to read and comment on it. Sometimes she will make observations or suggest small changes to help clarify things that perhaps I have overlooked.
I find it valuable to leave a few weeks between finishing writing and re-reading a blog. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes picks up minor errors that I hadn’t spotted previously. The expression of not being able to see the wood for the trees is quite apt when looking for grammatical errors in articles that you have written yourself.
My alarm clock is set for 6.30 a.m. on weekdays, yet most mornings I wake just before it is due to go off. Curiously, given that most of my readers are in the US and the UK, this is also an appropriate time to publish. US readers will get it in their inbox around midday or early afternoon, and those in the UK early in the evening
After nearly 80 consecutive weeks of posting this blog, my Fridays start with an almost Pavlovian response.
I will usually begin by logging on to the various sites where I post links to my blog, then I read through the post one final time, just to make sure there are no glaring errors or grammatical anomalies, and that it reads well.
Despite having previously proofread the entry and getting a second opinion of it, there are still times when I might change a word or phrase, just to tweak the entry and improve its readability.
I will hit the publish button, and then copy the link details to post on my various other platforms, to help promote the blog as widely as I can.
Pressing the publish button elicits feelings of both excitement and fear.
The excitement comes from the anticipation of the feedback and comments that I receive as readers reply to the work.
The fear comes from my perpetual sense of imposter syndrome, and that people won’t like what I write.
Despite having written nearly 80 weekly blogs, having had some of them reprinted in naturist publications, I still don’t really consider myself a writer, and I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on the subject of naturism.
Someone once told me that you only have to be one page ahead in the user manual to be considered the expert, and that may be true, but I am not sure that I am even working from a user manual on my naturist journey. It feels more like I’m stumbling blindly through in the vain hope that it will all make sense and become mainstream one day.
I find it incredibly interesting to look at the feedback that I get from my blogs and the different ideas and comments from people from all over the globe.
One of my fears is that my writing will not be well received. It looked like this was happening a couple of weeks ago after I posted the article about the people (meerkats) who used nudist spaces as a cover for their sexual liaisons. On the day of publishing, I lost a number of subscribers and thought perhaps I had upset my readers.
While I do lose several free subscribers every week, usually these are outnumbered by new signups. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress.
I accept that people's inboxes are bombarded by increasing numbers of articles, messages and alerts and that occasionally people will rationalise the material that is important to them. My writing may not be high on their list and I can live with that. While I would love a larger audience, I realise that not everyone will perceive value in my writing.
I do get a small sense of joy with each new subscriber and a small sense of loss every time someone unsubscribes.
The meerkat article started off with more people unsubscribing than usual and caused me a moment of concern. The loss of subscribers was significantly more than the normal attrition. To be fair, by the end of the week I had regained more new followers than I had lost, so it was still a net gain (just), but it left me feeling slightly deflated.
Perhaps the readers who decided not to follow me any more were upset by the things I wrote, in which case, they were possibly not my target audience anyway. Perhaps it was purely coincidence and it was just the same time that a number of people chose to no longer follow me rather than a reaction to anything I had written.
I may never know the reason for the slump in followers, but the sudden loss of more subscribers than usual highlighted perhaps that I am not so immune to the pressures of garnering social media likes as I had believed.
I know these feelings are superficial, and that I am more concerned with helping people to find naturism than gathering likes and followers for my writing, but sometimes, it’s nice when your writing doesn’t drive people away.
There are a lot of things in this world that are more important than being popular. Being true to yourself is one of them.
Thank you for reading and have a comfortable day.