Monday Morning Fika with Bonnie Burns: The Woman with the Smarting Bottom

For its 300th post, today Governing Ana is proud to host Bonnie Burns of My Bottom Smarts for Monday Morning Fika*!  On select Mondays, we will sit down with an author or figure of the ttwd community to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting!  Please welcome Bonnie, the woman who needs no introduction.

*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends.  It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics.  While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community.  In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.

Please note that our next Fika will be THIS Saturday, October 27th due to next week’s Spank or Treat festivities. 

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Good morning, Bonnie!  Thank you so much for joining us for Fika today!  None of us would have the same blogging experience if it weren’t for all the work you do to build the ttwd community.

Thank you, Ana.  It’s a pleasure to be here.

As I said to you when I asked you to join us for Fika, I received my recent book contract because of connections through my blog that all, at some point, originated from connections through your blog.  It is amazing for me to remember that less than a year ago I wrote to you a tentative email asking if you thought I might be able to blog and if anyone would listen!  I will never forget how kind you were to me from the very beginning.

Congratulations!  As a writer myself, I recognize the significance of your achievement.  I am pleased to have played a role.

Was there anyone in your beginning blogging days who reached out to you?  Who was your first commenter?

The biggest challenge seven years ago was simply being found.  My first commenter was a fellow named Monty.  He found my sixth post and I don’t think he ever commented again.  My second comment arrived after my fourteenth post.  It really felt as though I was writing for no one.

Eventually, a couple of months in, some major spanking blogs linked MBS and I was on my way.  I remember watching less patient beginning bloggers give up because they never received any feedback.  This was unfortunate because some of them were interesting people with great content.  I vowed to do what I could to support fledgling blogs.

Are there any things that you miss about your early personal-blogging days?

Yes.  When blogging was new for us, my husband and I borrowed and tested clever ideas from other bloggers.  We had a lot of fun.

Do you remember any “golden age” of blogging, perhaps missing blogs that have since been abandoned?

While there are a number of disappeared bloggers and defunct blogs that I miss, I would argue that this is the golden age of spanko blogging.  Never before have there been so many blogs, so much diversity, and so many connections among the bloggers.

Have you heard of others receiving book contracts or other professional opportunities through their blogs?

As I recall, Fifty Shades began as a part of a fanfic web site.  I also know of writers who began by publishing stories on forums and story sites.  But as far as I know, no one else went straight from blog to book.  Much more often, it’s the other way around.  Established writers create blogs to promote their books.

Just how many blogs do you currently have on your blogroll?  About how many new blogs do you add per week (or day/month, whichever is easier) these days?  How has the pace of adding new blogs increased and decreased over the seven years you’ve been blogging?

At the time of this writing, there are 535 spanking-oriented blogs linked.  We add about ten in an average week and drop a similar number. The growth rate varies over time.  We see a lot of new blogs created during transitional times of the year, that is, season changes, winter holidays, and spring break.

I’ve heard your blog called “the mother of all ttwd blogs”.  Is that a title that you agree with?  When you first started blogging seven years ago, did you have any idea that you would become “the” spanking blog?  How do you think it happened?  Did you deliberately try to establish your large and faithful following, or was it a byproduct of other things?

I am grateful that readers and bloggers find MBS to be valuable.  An important role for any blog is to bring like-minded people together.  I’ve concentrated on building these connections.

I don’t feel as though MBS is “the” spanking blog.  There are several blogs that publish more content and/or attract more readers.  I don’t aspire to have the biggest blog, the most popular, or even the best.  However, I’ve sought to build a strong core readership.  Many of the features, such as the brunch, wouldn’t work without active reader participation.

Also, our spanko community consists of a number of more or less discrete sub-communities, plus a lot of people who regularly visit from neighboring communities.  It’s not realistic for one blog to serve the needs of such a diverse group.  What I can do is to help create links among people who might not otherwise meet.

You’ve said that you find blogs, especially new ones, partly because when you started out blogging you felt that no one was listening (correct me if I’m putting the wrong spin on this).  You’ve also dedicated your blog to be one of the most inclusive sites around.  You also recently discussed whether to open your criteria to other types of blogs.  How has this been working out for you?  Have you had any difficulties with this?

It’s been going quite well.  We recently added a couple of M/M blogs as well as some more foreign language blogs.  So far, the feedback has been all positive.

I think most of us bloggers and online community participants have had to deal with spam, nasty comments, petty drama, and so on.  On your blog, though (especially for the weekly brunches that I love), this is not the case.  Is it because you delete the nastiness?  Have you ever had to deal with flame wars, trolls, etc. on your blog?

I have been very fortunate in that a culture of civility developed around the brunches and that spread to MBS as a whole.  People complain about the CAPTCHA word verification, and I acknowledge that it’s annoying, but it does cut down on spam and trolling.

I would say I delete about one spam message per week.  The majority of these are caught by Blogger and readers don’t see them.  The nasty, trolling messages are much more rare and appear only a couple of times per year.  I delete them immediately without comment.  Deprived of an audience, trolls move on.  We get off-topic messages during brunch, but that’s a minor issue.  I don’t delete them, but they are not included in the summary.

As for flame wars, I don’t recall that being a problem.  It takes two to have a fight and we’ve not had two unreasonable people at the same time.

About how much time do you devote to your blogging and blog-finding each week?  Does it ever become overwhelming?  Do you see a time in the future when you might need to give it up, or are you hoping to continue to infinity and beyond?

The average is about twenty hours per week, though it fluctuates.  Yes, it does become overwhelming occasionally, but I now know how to escape from that trap.

There will have to be a day when I walk away from blogging.  It’s inevitable.  But it won’t be today or tomorrow.

You’ve mentioned that your daughter is very busy as a single mother and not too interested in your blogging.  Have you “come out” to any of your family and friends about your ttwd blogging?  If yes, have they been supportive?

Actually, not really.  Neither of us has many living relatives and they are spread out geographically.  Under those circumstances, it’s quite easy to remain in the closet.  As for our friends, we’ve learned over the years that it’s best to not share our secret too widely because one never knows how people will react.

For all of us who love your blog, how can we show our appreciation?  What about blogging and blog-readers makes you smile?

I guess I would suggest that like-minded friends get involved with our community – join the discussion, express a viewpoint, support new bloggers, start a blog, comment on blogs.

There are many answers to the second question.  I love it when people read my writing and tell me they enjoyed it.  I love finding new bloggers who are just starting out and don’t know anyone and maybe don’t even know that they aren’t alone in this interest.  I love when readers tell me that my blog gave them the courage to ask for what they’ve always wanted and are now living their dream.  I love knowing that I’ve introduced people who have become lifelong friends.  I love when a friend unleashes a brilliant post.

Blogging makes use of technology, but it’s really about people.  We humans are social creatures.  We live to build connections with each other.  The biggest change from times past is that those connections can now be global.  There may not be many spanking enthusiasts in your local village, but online, there are millions.  We are not alone, and we need never feel that way again.

Thank you again, Ana, for the opportunity to speak with your readers.  It’s been fun.

For more information about Bonnie, please visit My Bottom Smarts.  She hosts a brunch every Saturday in order to discuss a topic of interest to the ttwd community.  Check out one of her 535 linked blogs!  There is sure to be at least one that piques your interest.

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49 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Bonnie Burns: The Woman with the Smarting Bottom

  1. Hermione says:

    Ana, this Fika with Bonnie was delightful. Your questions were insightful and creative, and went beyond the usual, obvious ones. As always, Bonnie, your replies were interesting and informative. Your final comment “We are not alone, and we need never feel that way again.” sums up the blogging experience for me.

    Hugs to you both,
    Hermione

    Like

  2. Bas says:

    Ana, congratulations on you 300th post. And a really royal post it is. Getting the Queen of all spanko land herself, for an interview, is a good reason for another round of congratulations.

    And I’ve learned something again: Never knew that Bonnie was part of the ‘Burns’ family.Not that I know anybody else in that family, but still, a royalty watcher wants to know his facts.
    it is a funny thought that without Bonnie, most of us would probably never have met, and we would all be hiding in a dark corner with our unusual kink.
    Thank you for this Fika, Ana.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      I imagine she does a lot of burning! Yes, many times when I meet a new reader and I ask, “How did you find my site?” the answer will be, “From Bonnie” or “From MBS.” I know that’s how I have met most of my friends here. Even curmudgeonly water-soaked Dutchmen. 😀

      Like

  3. joeyred51 says:

    Ana,

    Thank you for a terrific interview with Bonnie. She was one of the first bloggers I found and I have enjoyed her posts ever since the first one I read a couple of years ago.

    Thank you Ana and Bonnie,

    Hug,
    joey

    Like

  4. Cara Bristol says:

    Bonnie inspired me! After my first story (Intimate Submission) that included some spanking was published, I started a blog. And nobody came, let alone, commented (nobody defined as a mere 50 or so hits per week). Then one day I had 75 hits by 9 a.m., and 350 by the end of the day. Bonnie had listed my blog as one that was friendly to spanking.

    I was so inspired by the support from the spanking community that I got an idea for a domestic discipline story. That became Unexpected Consequences, which started the Rod and Cane Society dd series. That was 2 years ago. My blog is going strong, as are my dd novels. Thank you, Bonnie!

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Oh, it is neat to hear how you began! I remember the thrill when I got 330 hits after Bonnie listed me. It was almost scary to realize that now I had an audience, and I didn’t post again for several days.

      I think it’s wonderful that Bonnie and blogging helped push you toward DD fiction.

      Like

  5. Jade Cary says:

    Ana, congrats on 300! Could inspire another movie! 😉

    Thanks for having Bonnie on today. I’m not with Blogger or any of those other sites. I chose a different route, but I can see where by ‘hits’ come from (recent discovery that made me go squeee), and most of them have come from Bonnie’s site. Many do not comment but slowly that is changing. They are visiting at least, and I’m good with that. That my blog is part of my book website might account for many not wishing to comment. In any case, I want to thank Bonnie for supporting bloggers and writers, and for encouraging me without knowing it to openly participate in blog discussions and support other bloggers. Playing it forward, leading by example, it all fits.

    Thanks, Bonnie and it was great to meet you here.

    Great job, Ana.

    xoxox

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Liked your podcast, Jade. Thanks for the link! It was funny to realize that I haven’t heard most people’s voices here.

      When Kat-Sitting was still active it got an enormous amount of hits (thanks to Bonnie, of course!) but only a few comments per post. I think sometimes people enjoy the reading more than commenting, or else they don’t know what to say.

      xoxox right back. 🙂

      Like

  6. Lillie says:

    Wonderful post and lovely interview with Bonnie. Your blog is the welcome wagon in many ways for this wonderful community and lifestyle. Thanks for hosting this fika, Ana and thanks Bonnie for all you do. 🙂

    Like

  7. Celeste Jones says:

    Hi Bonnie! I started my blog last January and I had even written a post with a title like “If you blog and no one comments, are you really blogging” and I got a comment from Hermoine saying something like “now that you’re on Bonnie’s list, you’ll get visitors”. Boy, was she right! I went from a few hits a day (probably mostly my own) to a few hundred.

    Thanks for the interview and the reminder to support each other in bloggerland. There’s room for everyone…except the spammers.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Oh, that reminds me of Susie commenting on one of my posts. She said almost the same thing. “Bonnie has found you, and now others will, too.” Blogging in this community has defied my (worried) expectations of the nastiness I might encounter. We’re all a bit different (weird) in our own ways, but we find people whose weirdness is compatible with ours.

      Like

  8. mrbbspanker says:

    Excellent interview and Congratulations on 300 Ana!
    I actively started blogging through Blogger about two months ago. After only two posts, Bonnie was the first one to reach out and extend her helping hand. I wrote a letter on my blog in thanks, and I will always be appreciative to Bonnie.

    Like

  9. mrbbspanker says:

    Bonnie Appreciation Day? I love anything to do with people appreciating each other! Hmmm…. I wonder if we could get every blog on her blogroll to all post a simple “Thank you Bonnie” post, all on the same day!

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Okay, then tomorrow. Picky, picky. And if you spread the word to everyone on ADDS and I spread the word here plus all the commenters…it will get around fast.

      Like

    • Ana says:

      The problem with this Sunday is that it’s the start of Spank or Treat for a lot of bloggers, and earlier Sunday there is a regular writing post. I say we just spread the word and it will catch on naturally.

      Like

  10. ronniesoul says:

    What a wonderful interview with. Your questions were very thoughtful and creative. Thanks Ana and thank you Bonnie.

    A lot of us wouldn’t be blogging if it wasn’t for Bonnie.

    Congratulations on the 300th post.

    Love,
    Ronnie
    xx

    Like

  11. Penelope says:

    What a lovely interview! Thanks to Bonnie and Ana. The thing that always comes across most of all in Bonnie’s words is her warmth. She really does radiate kindness and her example gives me the reassurance I need to blog about my kinks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    And I’m another whose blog went from total obscurity to popular overnight, thanks to Bonnie linking to it. And I’ve found a planet of sweet, kinky people as a result!

    Bonnie Appreciation Day – I like it! But you know that spells BAD, don’t you? 🙂

    Like

    • Ana says:

      BAD…I love it!!! Yes, BAD! That is awesome. And yes, so warm and kind. I am glad we all were able to meet each other because of Bonnie and the community she’d fostered.

      Like

  12. Bonnie says:

    Thank you, Ana and everyone!

    I really enjoyed doing this interview and I’m delighted that readers liked it too.

    Our community has become a truly significant part of my life. I’ve met so many amazing people. I consider many of these friends to be like family members.

    Regarding B.A.D., I would never want to rain on my own parade, let alone spoil anyone else’s fun, but we have a community-wide event coming up soon. I am looking to set a date in early November for our seventh annual Love Our Lurkers Day celebration. I encourage our fellow bloggers, readers, and lurkers to join us for LOL Day 7.

    In any case, thank you again and Happy Fika!

    Hugs to all,
    Bonnie

    Like

    • Ana says:

      It was wonderful to interview you and to host you today. Thank you again.

      And with all due respect, I must say that BAD has already taken on a life of its own and probably can’t be canceled. I solemnly promise to promote LOL Day 7 with equal enthusiasm when you announce it.

      Happy early BAD!

      Like

  13. Michael says:

    What a wonderful and illuminating interview, Ana. You did a great job in bringing Bonnie to us all. And truly inspiring that the idea for Bonnie Appreciation Day got its start here.

    My first time on your blog and you have created a marvelous site. I have added it to the Blossom and Thorn Blogroll.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      I did likewise…I love yours. Isn’t it ironic that first I did the interview to say thank you to Bonnie, then it turned into all of us wanting to say thank you to Bonnie, and *we* are the ones so richly blessed by the experience? I love this community!! I am deeply moved…and in awe of the community Bonnie has created.

      Like

  14. Florida Dom says:

    Thank you for doing the interview with Bonnie. What a great idea. The only thing I didn’t like her say that it is inevitable that one day she will walk away from blogging. I hope that day never comes.

    FD

    Like

  15. pao says:

    I’m a bit late..but congratulations on your 300th post! This interview was amazing. The comments and the post show how awesome this community is. I don’t own a blog or anything but I did discover a lot from Bonnie’s. It’s like a really well connected and informative train interchange in a growing city.

    Like

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