Saturday, 28 September 2013

Erotica Writing Dilemmas

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Ooops. My bad. Well what can I say. I look back on my last blog post, full of noble thoughts. Then I ruefully ponder the accuracy of the saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Hmm. Then I consider that AC/DC wrote that belter of a song, “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”, so I guess at least I’m in fine company if it really hits the fan.

Anyway. In my last post I reckoned that my mojo was back. It wasn’t. It’s hard to get in the mood for writing smut when you’ve got a neighbour from hell: one that requires one’s guard to never be lowered, whilst his passive aggressive bullshit and borderline OCD for opening and closing doors has me thinking – and enjoying - violent thoughts rather than erotic ones.

I read an article recently that writers have it easy in one respect, in that when they’re struggling to get the words out on the keyboard, they can always cite “writer’s block”. Writers are the only breed who seem to get away with skipping work because they don’t ‘feel’ they’re able to – and it’s largely accepted.

Yet no other profession allows such a gratuitous cop-out. When did you last hear of an airline pilot turning up at the airport, looking up at a dark, rainy sky, shrugging his shoulders and saying to his co-pilot and his boss, “Nah, I don’t feel like flying today. I’m heading home.” Exactly. I could never imagine going up to my former bosses one day, telling them “I don’t feel I can work today. I’m perfectly fine, I’m not ill, but I just don’t feel the vibe.” I wouldn’t last long in that gig, that’s for sure. Neither would 99% of people.

But on the flip side, if writing erotica is a job – and I want it to be one, and therefore need to treat it AS one - then “writer’s block” has to be kicked to the kerb, surely? The obvious danger to this though is that one’s writing becomes deadline-driven and formulaic. There’s nothing wrong with a deadline; in fact I could seriously benefit from this.

But the risk of becoming formulaic is more worrying. Erotica guru Susie Bright warns of this – and quite rightly so. Maybe writing eight stories back to back burned me out. If this is the case – perish the thought – then it doesn’t bode well, when I have so many ideas for new stories. But if I’m to make a living being a professional smut-slinger, I need to be more productive, publishing more stories, selling more copies, and doing so regularly, week in, week out. No, there’s nothing formulaic about that, at all, is there? Gulp.

This is an overly simplistic view of things – it’s not quite as black and white as this. I love insight and research etc, and I can look at data tables, populate and interpret PowerPoint decks and present findings day after day. But it’s not something I have to get into a particular ‘vibe’ for. Yet this IS the case for erotica. To me it’s almost like Avatar, where the natives ‘plug’ their tails into the flying beasts’ thinghy and they’ve got this synergistic bond thing going on. In my case it’s my mind or fingers bonding with the laptop keyboard!

So in short, yes there needs to be regular output but writing erotica IS different from other professions. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance.

And as for my living arrangements, being so close to that cantankerous old twat affected my drive, focus, and enthusiasm regardless of whether I was writing smut or designing research surveys. Luckily, as you’ll have no doubt seen on Twitter, I’ve moved on and into a lovely new place. So that’s a major stressor now banished – now it’s just the usual ones to deal with! But I can safely say that the mojo HAS returned. It's good to be back. So watch out: there’s smut coming!

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