Last year, when I wrote a post just like this one, I remarked on how well-received my work had become, and how much my blog had grown. I was excited to see the numbers jump up drastically from the previous year, and felt like maybe I was advancing past the point of fledgling blogger. Looking at the numbers for this year vs. previous years, that same feeling is coming back to me all over again! I tried some new things in 2018 and became more accustomed to things I was just starting to do. But with things changing as we move on to 2019, there are a few things I must say didn’t work out too well or things I didn’t do as much as I wanted to.
Book reviews were popular
Near the end of 2017, I received a copy of an amazing BDSM-inspired fantasy erotica novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it to the point that I wanted to write a detailed review to help promote it. That review was the most viewed post for a couple months, so I decided to do more of them to help my fellow authors. I’ve done many more in 2018, and those posts continue to be viewed more frequently than others. I can’t say for certain if these detailed reviews are generating more book sales for those authors, but they get enough traffic to encourage me to do even more of them. You’re always welcome to contact me for submissions of your erotica and smut to be reviewed here on Forbidden Writings.
The Smut Marathon
If you’ve been following this blog since last year, you are likely already aware that I took part in the Smut Marathon hosted by Marie Rebelle of Rebel’s Notes. It was a year-long contest that challenged smut writers like myself to push our boundaries and write short stories from different perspectives, different styles, or even gives a small rule or prompt to write from. It was an amazing challenge, and it allowed me to meet dozens of new writers to connect with. And while I won’t be participating in next year’s marathon, I can still strongly recommend it to any writer who loves to create smut and wants to push their skills even further.
Focused on research
I admit that my posts haven’t had a consistent purpose in the past. I went into this with the idea of looking up various kinks, fetishes, and lifestyles that we have, both in our own lives and in fiction, and present them in a way to help clear the confusion over what they are for anyone who didn’t know. This was probably a bit arrogant of me, and I’m working on my arrogance, and now I have a much more focused goal for these posts. I started looking more into why these kinks and lifestyles are as attractive as they are, and what drives people to seek them out. I’ve redoubled my research efforts to learn more about their psychology, rather than tell people who probably already know what it is what my definition of it is. And it’s no longer meant as a means to inform, but to give insight when writing a character into your story. My hope is that, while not trying to tell you how to write your story, I want to create a perspective that might assist in your efforts.
My advice column flopped
Surprised? Unaware? Yup, I can understand that. At the end of 2017, I thought I could introduce a new feature called ‘Dear Charlton’ for readers to send anonymous questions about sex, sexuality, or the erotica/smut genre, and I could answer them in a sort of ‘Dear Abby’ fashion. I received a few questions, at first, but they quickly came to a stop. I think I would chalk it up to more arrogance that I could be a voice of knowledge when I don’t think I’ve adequately established myself as an expert on anything in particular. There are lots of bloggers out there who are doing the same thing already, and I think people would rather get their answers from them, rather than from me. So, I will be retiring ‘Dear Charlton’ from Forbidden Writings, and sticking to what is already working for me.
I became a Top Sex Blogger
Throughout 2018, I was feeling a bit unmotivated to do a lot of writing as I was suffering from the imposter syndrome that many writers feel from time to time. Ideas weren’t coming to me, I was doubting the topics I was choosing, and questioning if I should even keep writing at all. I was in a dark place for a few months. I had friends and fellow bloggers who encouraged me and told me my content was good, but there was always that gnawing thought in the back of my mind: what if people didn’t really care? When nominations began for the Top 100 Sex Bloggers of 2018, I was pretty certain that, not only would I not place, but I probably wouldn’t get nominated either. I felt like I was probably still too much of a fledgling for anyone to give me any serious consideration.
Not only did I get nominated, but I also made it onto the list! And a week later, I appeared on another list!
Seriously guys, I cannot thank you enough for all the support you guys have shown me over the past couple of years. There was a few of you who have been keeping in contact with me directly, and I have those people to thank for keeping my spirits up this whole time. I’m not sure I could have kept going if it wasn’t for you. You know who you are 😉
I created a prompt challenge! This was something I had wanted to do for a while, but never quite had the courage to pull the trigger on. I had a few ideas for this, and admittedly had some different ideas for what to call it, but, c’est la vie. My biggest worry was that this wouldn’t be picked up, and no one would have any interest in taking part. Surprisingly, there are people who find this to be a great prompt to inspire new stories. It makes me happy to know that, what helps inspire me, can also inspire others as well!
I revealed myself… mostly
Not in that sort of way, but I did decide to take off the mask, as it were. I kept much of myself concealed to prevent people from associating what I write here with the work I do in my personal life. But, earlier this year, I decided to stop hiding so much of myself, and step out from the “headless man in a suit” avi. I still haven’t revealed my real name, and I don’t know if I ever will. I feel, at this point, Charlton Tod really is a part of me I can’t show to many people, but don’t have to hide it when I’m here. And I’m not sure I have the heart to destroy him just for some semblance of honesty of my identity. For now, I’m still Charlton.
Things to change in 2019
As awesome as things have been this past year, there are still a few things I can do better, and a few things to change.
Migrate and relaunch Forbidden Writings
After the passing of SESTA/FOSTA, social media sites have been much less tolerant of any sort of adult content or sexual education, and along with that, some LGBTQ+ content creators. After the most recent Tumblr ban, public platforms where we can share our content is quickly dwindling. Many content creators and bloggers of adult content, like myself, are already being banned by WordPress, which is where this blog was built and hosted. I have no idea how long it will be before I’m next, and this site suddenly disappears, so it’s time to move on.
I’ll be seeking an adult-friendly hosting site and moving all of my content there, as well as some redesigns for the layout. I just need to brush up on my coding, first. Since my WordPress hosting will be expiring before the end of January, this seems like the most auspicious time to do so. I’ll be keeping you all updated on any changes, including a possible conversion to a .com instead of a .blog address.
More reviews in 2019
This past year was a great chance to begin doing book reviews for fellow authors, and so far, a lot of submissions I’ve received or bought were fantastic! I generally get around to writing the review pretty quickly, but I currently have a couple that I still need to get around to completing. This time of the year is pretty draining on all of us if I’m being honest. I’ll catch up on those soon enough, and hope to do many more of them in 2019. So, if you’re interested in making a submission, you can contact me for more information.
Keep up with my friends
I’ve met a lot of amazing people over this last year, and many of them run their own blogs with tons of great stories, short-story prompts, reviews, and posts from their own lives. I’m terrible when it comes to keeping up with what everyone’s talking about, but I’d like to engage with my friends and fellow writers more often.
And the usual stuff
Unfinished projects, unfinished stories, try to write more books, try to write more content. All the stuff I should be focusing on anyway. Of course, I want to finish my research and notes on Redefining Masculinity, Primal Play, and maybe find something new to learn in-depth within myself.
For all of you who have been following me from the start, or if you just found this blog today, and everyone in between: I want to thank you for giving me a reason to come back to this every day, even if I don’t always write something that day. I want to continue creating smutty stories for you, and assist you in creating great smutty stories of your own. here’s hoping that we both continue to grow, improve, love one another and explore who we are and who we want to become.