The Personal Blog Is Not Dead

I’ve been writing personal journal entries online again. For a while, it was on a completely different WordPress subdomain, but recently I imported all those posts to Sugarbutch — about 30 of them from the last two years. Since I brought them in to Sugarbutch, I’ve had more supporters there, and sharing them again has been inspiring me to write even more of them.

The new password is available for people who are Patreon supporters. You can be a supporter at any amount. (There are other benefits, too! Like free ebooks and giveaways and following my work in all the places I’ve been writing and personal updates and musings.)

I understand the frustration of someone you follow putting their (arguable best) work behind a paywall … but at this point, 11 years into writing on Sugarbutch, and with the death of personal blogs, things have changed so much. I just can’t share like I used to. A big part of the challenge of publishing personal things is the vulnerability, and the overexposure. There are just too many people reading, and when things are very fresh, when the things I’m writing about are still happening, it can be crippling to have comments or even acknowledgment.

So I am narrowing my audience. I tried to narrow it before, offering the password to the mailing list. But the mailing list is over 10,000 email addresses now. So now, it goes to the Patreon folks. I know that they are invested in me, in my art and expression, in my journey, and that feels like buy-in in a different way than folks who consume my writing as more of a reality tv show. Sharing it with the Patreon folks is a new experiment, and I’m not even sure how long it’ll last.

When I met rife, and Kristen and I started breaking up and having deep challenges between us, I started writing less about what was happening for me personally. Kristen requested me not to — but also, I was shutting down, struggling. Maybe I’d call it a sort of writer’s block, but really it was because I didn’t want to read or admit what I was writing. As I started writing less personally, I also started building Sugarbutch as more of a ‘brand,’ studying entrepreneurship, and trying to turn my work into a more serious business. That too took my focus away from sharing the personal. And in lots of ways, it was good for me; I learned a lot and it moved me forward. And I kept struggling. Those years were a major depression for me, and it’s taken a lot to get out of it … but maybe I am out of it? It’s certainly different now.

Plus, I have a job again. My grip on survival and money is not quite so terrified. I’m not working on my brand, my work, my websites, my marketing for every spare minute of every day, and collapsing when not working on it. It’s taken about a year of this new job (and 18 months of therapy) to get back to myself in this way, but it’s been a relief now that I’m writing more.

And yet, it still incites panic in my stomach to think about publishing those very personal things. But the Patreon has been deeply supportive … I love that it gives me hope that my writing is actually a valuable addition to the world, and it gives me financial proof in exchange. I love getting to know folks more and recognizing their names and having deeper conversations — it feels like I’m building friendships, not ‘readers.’

Money isn’t the only kind of exchange for my work, though. I know sometimes money is just not an option at all — my finances have at times been that tight, where it’s just impossible to spend even a dollar. I get it. I’m open to other ideas. As many of my friends have said, “I can’t pay my rent in vegan cupcakes,” so there are plenty of things I don’t really need and that won’t help me to exchange, but I’m sure there are even more which are useful and lovely. I’m not sure what they are? Perhaps folks who are interested in trading for something other than money can let me know and we can talk about what we could do?

I often hate it when people put their (arguably best) work behind a paywall, and I have in the past refused to give them money on principle. Even through all of the work I’ve done in the entrepreneur world, and knowing how little artists and activists get paid, it still feels arrogant or self-righteous to me — though I know it shouldn’t. But now that Patreon has rolled around, it feels very easy to support artists in that way. At first, as research, I pledged $10 a month to be divided among different folks on Patreon, and I’ve kept with that for the past few years, moving around the money depending on whose work is speaking to me right then. I’ve loved seeing behind the scenes and getting to know the struggles behind the creations. It really is a wonderful platform for creators online.

There’s also news that Patreon has changed their terms of service to exclude certain kinds of adult content. Violet Blue has been following this and investigating very closely, and I’m sure there’s still many updates to come, but it has made me panic much more than I expected. Will this support that has become so important to my work suddenly be taken out from under me? Will my CONSENSUAL explorations of fantasy cause me this circle of friends and support that has become an essential piece of my work? They aren’t saying that all adult content is banned, but I know my content with consensual non-consent and age play sets off alarm bells. I don’t really want to remove all of that from my site, but what if they say I can stay if I do? Would I do it?

I don’t know what’ll happen next with that. But for now, please come join my inner circle, and tell me you support my writing not with your words, but with a little bit of energy. For the price of a cup of coffee once a month. For a dollar. For a hundred dollars. For whatever you can spare. It tells me you want me to keep going, that you get value from this. And I’ll be glad to bring you in and share some of the harder, deeper truths that I’m struggling with, and learning.

PS: The old password still works for the older journal entries. The new ones tagged with mentalkink have the new password, the older ones have the password you got via email on the mailing list. I probably would go back and change all the old ones if I could, but that will be a deep to-do item for the site, since it’s so time consuming.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith is “the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women” (AfterEllen), who “is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places” (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and use the pronouns they, them, theirs, themself. Follow all their personal writings and all the updates through patreon.com/mrsexsmith.

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