I do love writing about naturism.
It’s something I know quite a lot about as my wife and I have been practicing naturists since we were first married, and that was a long time ago! Wow… we were young.
My first crusade was a website to promote family naturism in America after taking our kids to a couple amazing naturist centers in Croatia and France. There was even a message board to help naturist families find one another, but mostly, I only found other dudes whose ideas about family naturism were quite different than my own.
The Meandering Naturist blog launched in 2012. (Happy Birthday, blog!) Social media was absolutely critical to developing a sustained readership here, with a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and an active Instagram account. And oh, my Tumblr page was active as well until they decide to ban… NUDITY! Ugh. I even took the dive into the crazy banter on reddit where you still find people who are willing to argue about whether the world is round. We all know it’s flat!!! (I read it on reddit!)
The censor-bots eventually wiped out my Twitter and Instagram accounts, shut down my Facebook page, and whatever remained was pulled down last winter while sorting out an issue in the workplace that required me to mothball this blog for about six months. But alas, I’m back, writing again, but wondering, to whom?
A lot has happened since those early blogging endeavors. For one thing, my crusade for family naturism is a bit skewed now as our children are older than I was when I started writing about all that. Then my goals shifted toward visiting every naked place in world and writing about each and every one, I not only found that to be an unsustainable goal, but Nick and Lins started Naked Wanderings and made that their full time jobs! And they’re REALLY. DAMN. GOOD. at it.
The real game changer, however, was watching all those social media accounts get shuttered as that was the main conduit to finding new readers. My desire to perpetuate real information about holistic family naturism only made sense if I was able to reach people who weren’t already sold on the naturist cause. At least on Twitter and IG, social nudity curious could stumble into my feed and follow it back to the blog and think, “Wow… I had no idea this was possible. I should give it a try.”
Then came Medium. My daughter introduced me to the Medium platform as sort of a clearing house for aspiring writers. To be sure, the quality of writing is all over the map with a lot of it consumed by people writing about how to write for Medium. But I’ve also tapped into quite a few authors who have amazingly interesting things to say about… well… pretty much everything. I thought I might use the Medium platform to publish longer pieces that would evolve into a book project about our lifelong naturist endeavors, but Medium articles tend to run 10-minutes reading time or less, so that is likely a fail.
The serendipity, however, is the way authors and readers interact on Medium, and the fact that they you can align yourself to various groups – publications, as they are called – and connect organically with people who are genuinely interested in reading your stuff. In my case, I’m finding there are a lot of people who are curious about naturism and social nudity who would never do a web search leading to my blog (and God knows where else!) but are happy to indulge in a 7-minute read about places people get naked, why you might want to find one, and how to avoid the ones that will turn you off to naked people forever.
And most importantly, it’s an entirely new audience! People who may have thought about visiting a nude beach or German sauna but had scarcely given it enough thought to find out how they would go about doing such a thing. Imagine… preaching to people about clothes-free recreation to those who didn’t even know they might be interested in that. Wasn’t that my original cause in the first place?
In the spirit of full disclosure – which I always think is a funny thing for a naturist to say – if you’re successful on Medium, you can actually make a little money at it. A Medium subscription only costs the reader $5 per month for access to the entire collection of articles on, again, just about any topic you can dream of. And again, while some of the writing is uninspiring, there are also some truly accomplished authors out there writing about travel, personal finance, philosophy, and if you dare, sociology, history, and politics. I keep a reading queue of stuff I’m eager to read, but that list keeps growing faster than I can keep up with. In other words, there’s loads of content.
Having thought about putting my blog behind a paywall, or even moving over to Patreon or a similar platform, I’ve simply decided not to do that. Mainly because I don’t want to place a barrier between my fervor for promoting naturism and people who will simply click away when they realize they have to pay to read what I have to say.
Medium allows you to read the first few articles for free, but eventually, you have to subscribe for that whopping $5 per month. That’s not just to my page, but to the entire platform. Further, when somebody subscribes through the link in one of my pieces, I receive about 40% of their monthly payment for as long as they are members even though they have access to the entire Medium archive. Sweet! That in addition to a few pennies Medium throws my way each time somebody spends time reading my stuff.
Will I get rich at this? Can I quit my day job? Will I buy a beach house with the extra income? Not a chance! But, running a blog with more than the basic features, such as this one, has recurring operational expenses that add up to several hundred dollars per year. If I can earn enough on Medium to simply cover those expenses, it’s a win-win. In the meantime, I’ve reached a new audience who may in turn follow the Meandering Naturist blog, and maybe a few of my regulars here will follow my Medium referral link (See link below ) and help support new and original writing about naturist travel, philosophy, and related thoughtful discussion on the topic.
Will I quit writing here on the original blog? Nope. But I’m still trying to figure out the balance and the corresponding algorithms. It’s clearly two different audiences, and I think “that book project” will eventually live here on the blog. Remember, the prevailing cause is not just preaching to the converted – though I’m happy to provide resources and information wherever I can – but to provide real information about social nudity to people who had otherwise dismissed it as some sort of deviant behavior. Early returns with comments like, “I had no idea such places even existed” lead me to believe this may well be worth the effort. Time will tell.
My purpose here is two-fold. Long time followers of the Meandering Naturist, fear not. I’ll keep publishing here and I remain grateful to those who’ve followed us here over the years. But, should you be so inclined, consider clicking through and following us on Medium as well. You’ll find original content not published here, and should you choose to subscribe through the referral link you help defray the costs of keeping the Meandering Naturist up, meandering, and writing. I’d like to think that’s a good cause all around.
Thanks, faithful readers. Hope to see you on the other side.