Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Turn

I am pleased and gratified that so many friends took the time to weigh in on the future of MBS. I hear what you're telling me and I expect I will adopt many of your suggestions.

I've dispensed with the normal summary this week in favor of a more point by point response. For the sake of brevity, I tried to omit all but the first mention of each idea.

S.N.M.: I think a blog can indeed provide quality content indefinitely. The best way to do this is to mix things up and avoid stagnation.

I agree and that's why I asked for suggestions.

S.N.M.: If you've exhausted your ideas for Sunday brunch, start a new weekly series of some kind.

Actually, I have a couple of months of brunch topics in the hopper. A lot of those good ideas came from readers. The weekly brunch, In with the New, Bonnie's Mailbag, and Keyword Chaos are four features I definitely plan to keep.

S.N.M.: Maybe writing prompts for stories? Guest-of-the-week? Spanko news columns? More of your hilarious short stories and faux-advertisements?

I like guest posts, but they sometimes pose a problem. I try to explain my expectations in advance. Even so, once in a while, I receive a story that simply doesn't fit with the tone of MBS. At that point, my choices are to run something readers might not enjoy or tell the author that I reject their story. Needless to say, I don't care for either option.

I think the news angle is well covered elsewhere. Part of my dilemma is that I would rather not borrow another blogger's formula unless I can improve it in some significant way. I would love to produce more stories and humor posts. The trouble is, of course, finding the quiet time to write.


Curtis: I'd be happy if you didn't change a thing, provided you're still enjoying.

Thank you, Curtis. My level of enjoyment varies from day to day. At this point, I like blogging better than not blogging, so onward we go.

Hermione: My first reaction to your question was yes, find more time to write.

It's not that I am spending less time on the blog than in past years. If anything, I probably invest more. The difference is that where I might have been writing stories in the past, I am now answering e-mail, updating the blogroll, or visiting blogs and forums.

Hermione: MBS is famous for its brunches. They are a popular weekly feature, judging from the number of responses you get each week. I would hope they continue for a long time.

I am not considering abandoning our brunches.

Hermione: Your blog has always had the distinction of being unique. Rather than adopt ideas that other bloggers are already using, I hope MBS will continue to be a bit different...

That is my hope as well.

Hermione: If you ever need a partner in crime, you can count on me, and I wouldn't need a passport for cross-border blogging.

You're definitely on my short list! I truly appreciate all the help you provide today.

Hermione: I know you get a large amount of mail from readers. Why not a spinoff from the Bonnie's Mailbag feature called Ask Bonnie, in which you print a reader's question and then supply the answer, suggestion or reply?

Believe it or not, I actually have that feature. It doesn't run as often as the mailbag, but it does exist.

Hermione: As for a topic that you haven't covered, what about how spanking changes as couples age? It probably isn't the same for a couple in their 20s as it is for one in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s. There's a five-part series for you.

That's a great idea. I like it. Thanks.

Sara: I suspect people would use and appreciate a place where they could ask and get answers, and read the answers to questions already asked and posted.

As I say, I do have an Ask Bonnie segment, but I haven't solicited questions in a long time.

Sara: I like your personal accounts the best, but I assume you write those as often as the spirit moves you.

Me too, Sara. But as you say, I cannot summon the muse on command. There will be more spanking accounts, but I cannot tell you just when.

Muffin: I'd be happy to contribute in any way I can, in lieu of starting my own blog anytime soon.

Let's discuss that possibility. I think you are an excellent writer.

LS: The only question that matters is are you happy? Yes MBS is the #1 site to meet and greet but what does Bonnie the woman want not Bonnie the blogging Spanko Queen.

Quite honestly, what I want changes based upon the events of the day. For now, I believe I am happier blogging than not blogging. Every time I consider moving on, I experience a feeling of loss. Someday I will give up blogging, but I'm not ready yet.

LS: Highlighting your favorite posts from other bloggers would be a simple addition...

It's an excellent feature, but I doubt I could do it better than Chross already does.

Handsdown: It's your commitment to the non-commercial Spanko life that makes this a very fine place on the net.

There won't be any advertisements as long as I run this blog.

Handsdown: I would enjoy a spanking tales corner where we can all share our favorite spanking experiences.

That's a fascinating idea, but it would require a certain amount of structure to make it work well. Thanks!

Handsdown: I think a spanking recipe addition would be amusing. Recipes to get you a great spanking or a dinner that is guaranteed to get you off the hook--or out from under--as it were. LOL

There have been a few spanko bloggers who shared recipes. I certainly have some, but cooking (at least the conventional variety) seems off-topic to me.

Handsdown: How about a "try this implement" feature?

We've done Implement Stories a few times (with good response) and I plan to revive that feature at some point.

Handsdown: At any rate, please keep it Spanko.

That's the challenge, isn't it?

Anon #1: The moment you don't derive pleasure (not talking the occasional funk but when it becomes a chore) from My Bottom Smarts, Quit.

Thanks, Anon #1, for your thoughts. Had I followed that advice, I'd have bailed early on. There are times when I can't bear to look at the blog and others when I feel driven to do whatever I can to make it better. It is a whole lot of work. Most of the time, it feels as though it's worthwhile. That's why I'm still here.

Anon #1: Get that fella you live with to write on a regular basis...

I don't think that is going to happen. I've extended the invitation. Randy participates when and how he chooses.

Anon #1: Invite reader submissions - in the style of MBS to keep the tone consistent and publish the best of them.

There's the rub. After a dedicated reader and friend spends hours crafting a story for MBS, it kills me to have to tell them that their tone is wrong or that their work is simply not good enough. It seems unfair and arbitrary. On the other hand, I don't want to publish a story that many MBS readers will find objectionable.

Abby: [MBS] was the first I found that celebrated spanking amongst the rest of us. I have a feeling you inspired many a blogger by creating a space where we all feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and experiences without fear of mockery or reproach.

That's pretty much the charter of this blog.

Abby: As Niki Flynn has just proved, remaining in this world is not eternal for all of us, no matter how well-written, well-loved, or well-spanked he or she is.

I agree there will come a day for all of us when other priorities will prevail.

Abby: I've told Mr. W any number of times that I was done with my own blog. I was wrong each time, but the point is, life was drawing me in another direction.

I've said those words myself, but I always gravitated back to blogging.

Abby: I'm not sure about opening up posts to others consistently - you'll have a lot to read and consider, and that alone could be another site, or really, another career. You also have a certain tone that I wouldn't want to see changed. For example, much as I'd love to see some of my own writing on your site, I'm delving into some darker areas of myself now, and that belongs on my own site, not one that is meant for everyone in the spanking community.

You've captured well the dilemma of guest contributions.

Mary: You have a niche that no one else fills.

Thank you. That might be the nicest compliment of all.

Prefectdt: The time pressure and inspiration for new ideas are always the hard parts of keeping a blog going and personal life changes means that a blog must change to fit in with its owners lifestyle or it will become too much pressure and fail. In short a blog must evolve over time, to fit in with the owners life.

Well said!

Prefectdt: Many of the newer bloggers are getting lost in the crowd (the blog roll here shows how many blogs there are now), and I see some with interesting content but stat counters that that show a very low hit rate. I wonder how long many of them will keep going whilst talking to the internet ether. How about inviting guest posts from bloggers who are still in their first six months of blogging.

You've hit upon a great point. I just noticed today that a great young blog (The Torture Room) has disappeared. Had more people visited and commented, I wonder whether Anna might still be around. Rather than solicit guest posts, it might be easier and better if I asked permission to republish all or part of an existing post. We did this recently with RU and LU and that post received a strong reception.

Loki: I like the blog as is. I say keep going.

Thank you!

Daisy: I loved your accounts of spankings. Randy is quite a creative spanker! Bring back those!

Those accounts are often time-consuming to write and I have to be in the right frame of mind. As I said above, there will be more, but I cannot set a timetable.

Daisy: It would be wonderful to get a "side by side" account of a spanking...both you and Randy writing about the same spanking, from your own points of view, showing how male and female feelings differ at each section of the spanking!

For the time being, I can provide only one side. I am working on transcribing some recordings I made during spankings. That should provide a little different perspective.

Daisy: Please stay! Don't go into retirement. Yours is always the voice of reason, of sense and wisdom and reassurance. We need you! And, we love you. Blog world wouldn't be the same without our Bon!

I appreciate your confidence, affection, and support. I plan to continue blogging as long as it remains practical to do so.

Tiggs: You need to follow your own heart and mind and thoughts and feelings... that's the soundest and longest lasting advice you've given to countless other folks out here, and to do anything less would be absolutely wrong (and blogger suicide).

I do say that, don't I? (smile) I view MBS as a blog I publish, but one that belongs to the whole community. I need to feel good about what I'm doing, but at the same time, I also want others to embrace the message and participate actively. While I could act on my own, the spirit of the blog mandates that I consider readers as well.

Tiggs: You will know without question when it is time to stop.

I sure hope so.

Spanky: I love your blog just the way it is overall.

Thank you!

Thomas: I think that a blogger can continue indefinitely with a single topic, though they may have to occasionally think outside of the box to find a fresh idea. However, don't make changes just to keep things different. Only make changes that make you are confident in and will enjoy. My temporary change to fantasy football instead of spanking fantasies has been a good one for me. If you feel that a change will be good for you, even if just for a brief period, then give it a shot.

I appreciate your wise counsel. Even after four years, I sometimes don't know how a new feature will be received until I post it. I tend to try a lot of ideas and then stick with the ones that seem to work. The challenge is to keep generating those new concepts while remaining true to the spirit of the blog.

LU: There have been many great suggestions given above, but, as a writer myself, I know you will not be happy unless you follow your heart and take this in the direction that will still spark your creativity and desire to write it.

Yes, that's very true. Thanks.

Anon VII: I'll echo the often-expressed sentiment that MBS is great, and that you should change nothing about its basic format.

I have no intention of changing the general format, the central topic, the tone, or the target readership. The features, however, may be subject to renovation.

Anon VII: I like the idea of guest writers, with the understanding that you will screen everything first and, if you've time, get back to anyone whose effort you turn down with a brief explanation of what, in your opinion, is wrong. You might want to set up a few ground rules first.

I want MBS to be as inclusive as possible. I would rather forgo guest posts than have to tell a loyal reader that I won't post their story because it doesn't match my preferences.

A. Lurker: I have noticed that your blog has evolved over the years without sacrificing quality. Don’t worry about “indefinitely.” For now and in the foreseeable future you are doing just fine.

Thanks!

A. Lurker: I like Hermione’s suggestion about how spanking changes as you age. A corollary could be an ongoing feature about how to handle various obstacles to spanking such as young children waking up, older teens who pop in and out at any hour, bad backs, hormones, etc.

Yes, I think if we followed up on Hermione's suggestion, all of those scenarios would have to be considered.

A. Lurker: Lately I have also enjoyed your Potpourri features where you cover a few different topics in one post.

Yes, we'll do that again. Sometimes, I have a lot of small topics, none of which merit a separate post.

A. Lurker: When you do throw in the towel, please leave MBS up and public so that we can all come back here to find info, links, and ideas.

That is certainly my plan.

Radha: I really like the things you have already done with your blog. I especially like the way you feature new bloggers on a regular basis. You are such a valuable part of this community and so welcoming and most importantly, a leader in such positive ways. For me, that is enough especially if you are lacking time to do more.

Thank you. I enjoy discovering and sharing new blogs. I will definitely keep In with the New.

Jane: I'd love an Ask Bonnie feature. Maybe it could be the starting topic for some Sunday Brunches.

Believe it or not, I've published six Ask Bonnie posts. But we could certainly have more.

Katia: I have enjoyed reading the Sunday Brunch question and responses, even when I don't respond. I think, "Ask Bonnie" is a great idea.

Thanks, Katia!

Anon #2: I enjoy your personal accounts. I know they're time consuming to write, but I'd imagine you're still receiving lots of "inspiration" so maybe you could try for a brunch and a few personal accounts each month if you feel you have time for only that.

“Inspiration” isn't the issue. Those accounts are best written when the critical events are fresh in my mind (and perhaps elsewhere as well!). The trouble is that when Randy and I are spending time together, the last thing I want to do is crawl off into the computer.

Anon #3: You might consider partnering with someone you trust to take some of the routine maintenance off your hands.

Actually, I already do to some degree.

Anon #3: You have set the tone for the blog and you must make sure that tone doesn't drift off the mark.

I agree, but it's not easy to deliver quality topical content on a regular basis.

Anon #4: Show us more of your personality.

This is pretty much the real me. I don't often show my grumpy side, and I think that's probably for the best. I also don't talk much about my vanilla interests, but I have mentioned, for example, that I am a theater enthusiast. I think most readers come here for the spanking-related content and that's what I strive to supply.

Anon #5: You should do in the future what is right for you and Randy, but what you have done here is really special.

I'm pleased that my blog has been beneficial for you. I enjoy being able to help people.

Thanks, everybody, for sharing your wonderful ideas! I plan to adopt several in the near future.

10 comments :

Sara said...

Bonnie, I see you considered an idea regarding posting a blog entry form a newer blogger. I wanted to offer my support for that. You did that for me when I started and it was not only a tremendous boost for my traffic, but for my esteem. It helped me to think maybe I could really do this, write a blog. I know you know how hard it is to get a blog going or to believe anyone will want to read what you have to say.... Most new bloggers especially do. So, just wanted to share my thoughts on that.

Jane said...

Is there any way to find the previous "Ask Bonnie" entries (so I can see if my questions have already been addressed)?

Tiggs said...

Indeed it s a great and community-driven thought to post stories from newer bloggers, since there are so many terrific blogs out here now, and ever so little time to bounce, that is VERY enticing and alluring.

As for the Ask Bonnie posts, you definitely need a drop-down menu for those! That's a great point... I didn't realize you didn't have one until Jane said something... maybe you could add a few more drop-downs for folks to more easily access your copious archives! I need to do the same lately, cause I can't even find my own older posts!

Sounds like you've received lots of super ideas and I can't wait to see what you do with them to make them your own!

Hugs and love and thanks again for all you do for all of us!

Jane said...

Wow... Ask Bonnie drop down has appeared! Cannot wait to dive in. Thank-you!

S.N.M. said...

I'm going to third Hermione's age-related query. Being younger than most (though not all) of the people in this online community, I'd definitely be interested in learning more about how different age groups are alike and different. I also want to know what's in store for me a few years down the line, I guess.

Also, when I read the title of this post, I couldn't help but imagine you marching out of a cave entrance in a suit of jury-rigged powered armor.

Dr. Ken said...

Bonnie--I'll follow in the footsteps of Hermione and Muffin: If there's anything I can do for you or your blog, let me know. You've been more than generous toward my own blogging efforts, and I'd be happy to repay you in some way.

Dr. Ken

Florida Dom said...

Bonnie: I often call you the Godmother of the spanking community. So I think what you're doing is just fine and I hope you keep doing it. Your influence is unbelieveable as I found out when I firt stared my blog and your mention was enough to get a lot of visitors. I think you should keep nurturing new bloggers and maybe quoting from them is a good idea. Or if you have the time, even quoting from old blogs if you see something that's interesting to remind people to check them out.

I'd also suggest you write more about your own spanking experiences. I think you're so busy nuturing the community that you don't do enough of your own experiences because I think that would encourage more new spankos.

Anyway, whatever you do, trust that you will have a lot of readers. Keep it up.

FD

Cowgirl said...

Bonnie,

I think your blog is great already. I look forward to the Sunday Brunch every week, too! The idea of posting work from a new blogger is excellent. Not only would it give you something new to add on a continuous basis, but it would also help the new blogger out.

I think the lack of interaction is why new bloggers often quit. From my experience, it was frustrating to write for a blog and get very little feed back from the people who visited the site. I kept seeing the hit number increase, but there just wasn't enough interaction with the readers... which is why I quit blogging. Although, my recent involvement with Todd and Suzy's OTK fantasy football league has given me humorous material to blog about, so the blog is up and running for now. Again, still not sure how long it will last with out reader support.

You may already know this, however I will state it anyway. It is important to interact (comments, chatbox, etc.) on a fairly regular basis, with the people of the blogs in which you enjoy... especially if it's a new(ish) blog.

Bonnie... Keep up the good work! You definitely have a niche here... that is quite clear.

Nici said...

Great suggestions & comments. I wrestle with the "I'm bored".."where do I want this blog to go?" stagnation.

allystepsforward said...

Bonnie - I nominated you for an ‘honest blogger’ award, and hope you will take part!
Ally

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