Category Archives: Blogging

Dealing with writer’s block if it weren’t obvious

I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for the past few months, and I’m not trying to disguise this as anything other than an obligatory post this time. I feel compelled to still write something by the last hour on the last day of the month, because I’ve made at least one post every month since this blog started. It’d look weird in the archives to show at least one missing now. I missed when I was able to get a post up per week on average.

I ended up busier than I expected to be, so I wasn’t able to get my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces finished in time. Because of the theme, I thought it’d be an ideal prompt to write a detailed post about ace-ace relationships and mixed-orientation relationships, and I was especially wanting to address the challenges associated with each type.

How does writer’s block feel to you? Is it a lack of ideas of what to write about, or having too many ideas at once? I usually feel like it’s too many ideas at once, trying to juggle several different ideas for posts, starting the drafts for them, but unable to finish any of them on time. That happens because when I get an idea, I want to write it down before I forget, but it can lead to this. There’ve been some other ambitious ideas for posts I’ve been working on this month but haven’t yet published.

EDIT: Oops. I didn’t correctly remember what the theme was for last month’s Carnival of Aces.

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Belated 1 year anniversary!

(warning: brief talk of sexual coercion)

This was intended to be the 1-year anniversary post for this blog, which was back on the 5th, but I had been busy keeping track of, and writing about the archiving controversy between AVEN and the bloggers, and have also been busy with some other projects, but better late than never!

It was in late July last year that I got encouraged to write my own blog, and contribute to the ace blogosphere, which I started with some comments on The Asexual Agenda, though it was on August 5th that I created this blog and made my first post.

I had so much to say, but there was a lot I was holding back on due to my fears of not being understood. That still held me back despite the encouraging comments I had gotten on my blog, and some posts on The Asexual Agenda. It’s self-defeating considering why I started to blog. When asked why do we in the asexual blogging communities, write our blogs, I would’ve answered that I blog to: contribute to asexual discourse, contribute to the discourse surrounding the rejection of sex, to share my experiences, and to find others who can relate, because they also need to be reached out to.

Sharing my experiences is the most difficult part, and it still is because I know I’m an outlier in the asexual community. I’m thankful that I’ve had commenters say that it does matter that I speak up about my experiences, as isolating as it may be.

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Archive controversy: Archival preservation vs. blogger control and limitations of fair use

Over the past few days, a controversy over copyrights erupted between AVEN and many bloggers of the asexual community, much of it documented here, because as of the past few weeks, several posts from blogs have been copied, and reposted in their entirety on AVEN’s World Watch archives.

I’m late to this issue because real life life has been getting in the way over the past few days as this issue was erupting, but I’ve been catching up. Being part of AVEN’s Project Team, but also a blogger myself, I don’t want to pick sides. This isn’t anything official, and I’m just speaking for myself here, although an official announcement from AVEN was released earlier today, and AVEN wants to work with content creators to come to a solution to this issue.

I greatly appreciate AVEN’s efforts at archiving asexual history, and I appreciate the enthusiasm of some members to find articles and posts to add. When AVEN posts articles and copies them into the WW archives, it is a good faith effort to preserve them for educational and historical purposes, because much of the asexual community’s history is online and changes so quickly. Many websites have come and gone, and copying articles is to preserve them if the article’s website goes defunct or changes URL. However, there are two more immediate concerns:

  • The impact this has on bloggers, including control over one’s own content, and how this impacts their ability to retain readers.
  • Copyright infringement, and whether AVEN’s archiving efforts fall under fair use or not.

Under the first clause of fair use, AVEN’s status as a nonprofit that archives information for nonprofit educational purposes is in its favor.

On this page that that further elaborates on what counts as fair use, it says that a project that non-commercial, and has a benefit to the public, are two points that fall in favor towards fair use, but there are limitations.

One of the points mentioned is “Nonprofit educational uses — for example, photocopying of limited portions of written works by teachers for classroom use.” This ties right into the third clause of fair use, which is “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole…”, which places a limitation on how much information can be copied. The guideline is usually quoting one or two paragraphs.

The fourth clause “…the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.“, may or may not apply. Few, if any of us ace bloggers get any revenue from our blogs, but if people can just read the whole article on AVEN, then they have no incentive to click the original link, which diverts traffic away from the original blog. I haven’t been impacted by this myself, but other bloggers have. Redbeardace explained that he, and some other bloggers are dependent on traffic and visitor stats to guide them, and what they write.

Another concern is bloggers’ control over their content, especially since some of the blog posts that were reposted on AVEN were personal stories written for the author’s blog, being re-posted to a much wider audience than they may have intended, or if the blogger removed their post for whatever reason.

Personally, I think it’s fair if a couple of paragraphs are quoted, the post summarized, and linked to. That still gives someone the incentive to click the link to see the rest, and give the original blog traffic. It is also important to consider the nature of the post, respecting the difference between posts that are more about general information vs. more personal posts. Privacy should be respected.

In light of all of this, will other bloggers be stating their stances on their posts being reposted on AVEN so that this incident doesn’t happen in the future? I’d like for a balance to be struck, so that AVEN’s archives can continue to grow, while respecting bloggers’ wishes.

It was better to put less on my plate

It’s tempting to get everything you want on your plate, and for bloggers, it’s tempting to try and write everything that we want to in one post, but that can lead to a lot of waste, and regret. If a post doesn’t get published because the author gave up due to the difficulty, then that’s wasted time and words. I’ve had that happen to me before, both eating too much at a buffet, and giving up on an unwieldy post that I spent a lot of time on.

Starting on the beginning of the 2014 Asexual Awareness Week, I had the ambition of creating an asexuality 101 page that would cover the various concepts discussed in asexual discourse. My goal was to get it published by the end of that week.

I finally got the “Asexuality (and related concepts) 101” page done, as the first entry on the “101-Level Resources” page! It’s not finalized, because there is still room to make corrections, and add in other topics if need be, but I’m glad I was able to get it polished enough to post.

I posted a draft of it in four parts (part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4) and thanks to everyone who commented! However, I bit off way more than I could chew (pardon the cliche), because many of the topics could easily have their own pages. I left a lot out of the published page, including the “rhetoric to avoid” sub-sections, and the “relationships” sections, but I plan on incorporating what I wrote onto separate pages about those topics.

A topic I considered adding in was self-doubt, because I’ve seen so many doubt their asexuality for different reasons, mainly related to the “Unassailable Asexual” concept, and I’ve especially seen this doubt among those who are survivors of sexual violence. I’ve seen so many newbies on AVEN who are survivors of sexual violence ask if they “really” are asexual, concerned that their history invalidates it. I’m not sure I should include it, make it a separate page of its own, or leave this subject to someone more qualified than me.

Part of why I missed my goal, and why progress continued to stall afterwards, was that it was trying to cover so many topics, and in so much detail. It was overwhelming. I found The Asexual Agenda’s post “So you want to start your own blog” very helpful, especially the points “Shorter is better”, and “One small issue at a time”. Today, I was able to push myself to finish the page, by cutting a lot out. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by that page anymore. It actually felt manageable, and I felt like I could finish it.

I found it better to cut a large topic, or a sprawling manifesto into bite-sized pieces, and link them together. I believe now it can be done without sacrificing the details that I wanted to originally include. I can always go back, and incorporate what was cut out of it, into new pages.