The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants

Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous


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Design Woes: A Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Tale


I’m doing it again… I don’t know why I punish myself like this and I wonder how many other bloggers/web designers have this problem. I can never just leave well enough alone and I always want better. It’s like the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side type of issue but all about the design of your website.

I’m not talking about this blog, although I’ve already begun falling out of love with the design of it, but I’m talking about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. I’ve had the same design on that site since it’s infancy and I’m getting incredibly tired of it. I want a change and I want something different. But then, when I try to figure out what I want, I just completely blank.

It doesn’t help that, while I’m totally confident with HTML, even though I’m understanding CSS a lot better, I’m just not confident with it. I don’t believe I could manipulate it and get anything like what I see when I’m searching for inspiration – which I’ve been doing too much of. I can tell it’s too much, because instead of inspiring me, it’s just making me feel sad. “Oh, that’s a nice site. Too bad I’ll never be able to replicate anything close to it…”. Lots of negative self-talking going on.

The biggest thing that I can’t seem to figure out is what kind of design do I want to go for on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous? What kind would most adult bloggers appreciate and be attracted to? I personally have never seen a design that I truly enjoy on most adult websites. Ones that I don’t hate so much, okay – but one that I’m really attracted to. Nope. The sites I’m typically attracted to are the ones that you often find in the “design inspiration” type of posts – the clean, minimalistic, super-simple-to-navigate type of sites. Now, how do I execute that type of feel on a social network and still highlight all the things I want to highlight, without turning it into a cluttered mess (which is what I believe I have right now on the site…)?

Then another issue that I have is that I would prefer to make all my own images. Have social icons that look like they were made specifically for an adult blogging social network, have an overall design scheme that feels like it was created just for this site and not any other, have real quality in the layout of the content, etc. And I feel like everything I want to do requires me to at least be able to create a cool image using an editor like Gimp or Photoshop. But I am the furthest thing from a visual artist. Words and music, I can do, but create something that is visually appealing; not my finest hour.

So, not only do I have a problem actually creating these things, I have a hard time visualizing it in the first place. It automatically makes it feel overwhelming and daunting and it’s no freaking wonder I haven’t re-designed this site in forever and a day… Wow!


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I’m Back and I’m Reading!


Well, I’m finally back online… It only took forever and a day!! And to think, if our internet provider had actually not sent my modem (which they weren’t supposed to), I’d still have at least 3 days left of the hell of no internet. This time wasn’t nearly as bad as other times have been, but that’s probably because I had just finished buying myself a whole whack of books.

And man oh man, did I ever hit the jackpot there. First, we went to Coles and I got The Last Nude and One Big Happy Family. The Last Nude, I finished in a day or two and was a little disappointed at the ending and One Big Happy Family I am still dissecting, because just a day or two later, we went to Value Village and I got tons more books!

So now, I’m a few chapters away from the end of Middlesex, which is an amazing story! It took me awhile to get into the book, but now that I’m as far as am I, I can’t seem to put it down. I also got the The Gendered Society Reader, which is proving to be a wonderful resource on gender and the male-dominated world in which we live and a huge Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book with 5 or 6 different stories including Sherlock Holmes – which has been on my list of things to read forever now!

I love how much I love to read. I love how much satisfaction I get from starting and finishing a book, especially if it’s a good read. And I love that I’m the type of book reader who never really sticks to one type of book. I like to go between the genres. Really, half the time when I’m picking a book, I pick on the cover alone. If the cover catches my eye, and the little quip about the book sounds decent and at least one sentence from a random page in the book is good, then I’ll most likely grab the book.

In other news, The Boyfriend and I recently bought all the kids’ Leapster Explorer’s for Kenzie’s birthday. We were originally just going to get Kenzie one, but figured it would cut down on a whole heck of a lot of fighting if we got all the kids one. Two days later, Kaeidyn’s screen got busted (not her fault) and after being played non-stop, there is only one that hasn’t had it’s batteries die yet. We did get a charger for them, just haven’t set it up yet.

I’m enjoying the quietness these devices have brought me. It’s no longer, twenty times a day, “Can I play a game?”, because they can now just grab their explorers and play. It definitely reduces a huge part of daily stress. It’s also good because they are really educational games. Keirnan gets a kick out of learning how to draw the letters on them, Kenzie is getting better at his math thanks to Cars 2 and it’s been all around really great. I’m enjoying them!

I was pretty disappointed today when getting the internet back up and running, to discover that the money that I transferred into my PayPal account so that I could upgrade Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, couldn’t be used to upgrade the account because apparently Spruz likes to make things pretty difficult that way. I can’t just have a PayPal account hooked to my bank account, I have to add a credit card and guess who doesn’t have a credit card?!? I’m surprised I’m not more peeved about it right now, but I figure that I’ll figure something out sooner rather than later. Give me a day or two…

I’ve got a to-do list right now that will not stop growing, no matter how hard I try. I gotta find out about getting the kids into the dentist, especially Kaeidyn since she’s been having problems with one of her teeth. My house is still a complete disaster and I’m surprised that it’s not bringing me down more. We’ve been working on, but can’t seem to make any sort of real dent in it. Maybe because the mess makers are always here…

And don’t even get me started on all the things that I need to get done now that I’m back up and running online. I hate neglecting that stuff for so long, because it seems to take me so long to get back into my groove. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more productive day than today has been so far and hopefully I’ll figure out this site upgrade thing…

Well, it’s good to be back folks!

This post is intended for adults 18+


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Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous News


Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, the free social networking community for adult, lifestyle and sex bloggers that I run. When in reality, it’s all I’ve been working on lately, so it’s a surprise that I haven’t written anything here. I told some people at work about it and they laughed and said it’s hilarious. I took it pretty hard the first time, but now I just kind of laugh along. It’s hard to believe that I spend as much time on this thing as I do sometimes…. So, there’s been quite a bit new over there, let’s jump to it.

Newly Added Features

Recently, Spruz, the platform that Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous is hosted on, underwent a pretty major update which included the ability to add the discussions and events features to the groups feature. So, we’ve made it so that every group can now host events and instead of using the old Topics, they can use the new Discussions – so far it’s working out really nicely.

We’ve also added the Blog Directory, though it’s really more of a link directory. You can post links to all your favorite blogs and websites and other users can comment on them, rate them and more! You can even check out what we’ve got added so far and comment and rate our links!

New on the Blog

I’ve been trying to write as much as physically possible on the blog lately. It’s a lot harder than you would think it is, but this is some of what’s new right now!

“When I created my personal sex bucket list on my blog The Rantings of a Tortured Mind about a year or so ago, I thought that kink was going to be possible. The Boyfriend was showing a lot of interest, it was all looking like that was the way it was going.

Now, a year later, it’s been about that long since I’ve had any kink in my life. The interest on his part has completely left and now I am definitely not getting my kink on! Needless to say, my bucket list has evolved with this same thing. Even though I’d still like to do those things one day, I’d like to keep it realistic enough that it’s not depressing.”

[READ MORE…]

Download our special report detailing 10 totally different ways to generate blog post ideas for your adult blog! These 10 activities are sure to get your creative juices flowing and help you come up with some of your greatest posts ever!”

[READ MORE…]

“Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous has been on Facebook for some time now. We’ve been rather slowly wading in the Facebook waters, especially as there have been some issues reported about “questionable content” on Facebook. But recently, we liked a bunch of a pages and our Facebook page has really picked up. So, here’s the 4 reasons you should become a Facebook fan!”

[READ MORE…]

Forum Discussions of Interest

The forums have kind of slowed down as we experiment with the new Discussions featured. Spruz has mentioned that one day the forums may go bye-bye, and we’ll have to use the Discussions feature, so we’re preparing. But until that happens, the forums will still be around, so here’s some of the best conversations happening now:

Groups of Greatness

Spruz Owner's Group on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Spruz Owner’s Group

If you run a social network on the Spruz platform, join this group for tips, tricks, advice and more!

Not Getting My Kink On... Group on Lifestyle Bloggers AnonymousNot Getting My Kink On…

The trials and tribulations of being a kinkster in a vanilla relationship.

Awesome Video

While there’s been a lot of really great videos added to Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous and you can always see more by checking us out on YouTube, here’s our most favorite right now. Laci Green of Sex+ gives us an education in vagina’s in 90 seconds!!

New Blog Launched

That’s right!! It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally launched our Tumblr blog, featuring the best sex, kink and blogging-related randomness from around the world wide web. We’re even giving you the ability to submit your own favorites and ask us questions about the above topics.

You’ll get pictures, quotes, videos and tons of links to our favorite stuff everywhere!! So be sure to stay tuned for updates and if you’re on Tumblr, be sure to follow us! Visit Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous on Tumblr Today!

Now What…

So now, I’d like to invite you to head on over to Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. If you’re a member, check out all the stuff that’s been added to the site and if you’re not a member, become one absolutely FREE today! Leave your comments here and let me know what you think about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. Thanks for reading!


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Trying Not to Feel At All Defeated…


Sometimes, all my online work seems to be such a waste of time. I hate to be kind of a party pooper here, but I feel like I’m working so hard on all this stuff sometimes for nobody’s benefit but mine. And while that would be fine if my blogging goals were the same as they were a year ago or four years ago, times and goals have changed. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be whining right now.

I’d still be going on about, “I’m writing for me!”, instead of creating social networks in the hopes of making some sort of epic connection with another great adult blogger… Yes, you guessed it, this is 100% about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, which I’ve been working so hard at, that I have two little perfect circles on my lap from where my laptop gets really hot when I leave it on for 12 hours straight!!

There are 17 members on the site right now, and only 1 of those members actually participated on the site and that’s because she’s my sister (not an adult blogger) and because I practically begged her! To try to keep member participation up, I decided to create Community Guidelines that made where after 3 months of inactivity, members could have their sites deactivated…

Scary statistic: 65% of members have NOT been active in the last 3 months. So, I sent out notices to those members saying that their accounts were at risk of being terminated. This was mostly for practicality purposes, being that currently I’m using the free version of Spruz, which only allows me to have 50 members.

But then I sort of chickened out. I don’t want to be mean to these potential members, even if they’re not participating. It feels good to be able to say that, including myself, there are 17 members on a social network I maintain. I’m happy that something lured 16 people into joining Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous… Needless to say, I’m reconsidering…

I’ve just been working so much harder than I had ever intended for a website. I’ve been stepping out of my networking comfort levels like crazy, because I really want this site to be something to someone other than me. I’m normally the type of person who won’t go out of my way to talk to people in real life, let alone get up the nerve to speak out online.

I’ve been doing so much of what some of my blogging idols tell you to do (ie., Problogger and Mashable), and it all seems to fall short. I’ve been commenting on people’s blogs (though I’m peeved that I can’t figure out how to comment on Ask Dan and Jennifer, because some of their stuff just grinds on my nerves), I’ve been posting other people’s links on Twitter and even mentioning people more and more (on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Twitter). I’ve been seeking out new blogs like a mad man and mostly, I’ve been crazy hard at work on content for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous.

And no one seems to be participating. I got one mention on Twitter from the blogger of a blog that I tweeted out, and that was really exciting and I went off about it for awhile. But I wouldn’t say it’s participation… Here’s the tweet:

http://twitter.com/#!/LearningDD/status/98984709773733888

I’ve been adding stuff to the Facebook Fan page at least once a day, and none of the 4 fans have commented, I’ve had a couple of votes on questions after I posted them on my personal wall, but no new “likes” in months and not very much commenting or sharing, outside of me.

While I have had 3 members join Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous in the last month, I was disappointed today when I discovered that the bounce rate on the site is at about 85%, which isn’t good and definitely doesn’t meet my goals. Oh, now you want to know what my goals are? Well, that’s a little bit harder to explain, because I’m still trying to define what’s realistic…

I read a few blogs about blogging. Mostly from bloggers who do not need to work outside of the home, because they make enough money just blogging. Normally bloggers who have views on their blogs that are 10 times what I have on any of my blogs. A lot of them who promote their stuff and people eat it up like it’s steak, potatoes and gravy! I’m unsure if those types of things are even possible for adult bloggers, unless they do porn on the side…

So far I know that:

  • I want to have an average of 10 visitors each day, 2 of those being returning visitors
  • I want the average time on the site to be at least 10 minutes
  • I’d like a bounce rate under 50%
  • I’d like people to visit an average of 3 pages when they visit
  • I’d like 3 members, outside of my sister, to be truly active on the site
  • I’d like all the members to change their profile photos
  • I’d like to get some interaction going on both Facebook and Twitter
  • I’d like to make at least one connection with one other blogger that I find to be meaningful in some way…
Now, I need to figure out what it is exactly that I’m not doing right to be able to achieve these goals and that’s being so hard for me. When I’m getting no real response to all the hard work that I’m doing, it’s very hard to get motivated enough to go and add discussions to a speechless forum, or create a group that nobody will join, or write a blog post that no one cares enough about to share or comment on or visit more than once..
Don’t worry though, this is just a rant and I’m still working. I’ve come to realize that this kind of thing is a struggle for every blogger, just more so for some than others. It’s a hump and I’ll get over it eventually. It’s not like I’ve been doing all these things for a SUPER long time, so I’ll give it some more time. Just cross your fingers for me that it gets better…
Love,
Just another struggling blogger