Last year I decided to take a detailed look at what I’d been writing over the past few years and had an epiphany.
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY WRITING!
I know every writer has gone through that. You take a step back, look at the words that have come from your head, read them on the page, and have that WTF moment.
It wasn’t so much that the writing was bad (even though some of it I will admit I rushed). It was more that what was dancing around in my head wasn’t coming out on the page the way I wanted it. I was always happy with what I wrote about. It was the execution that bothered me the most.
So, I decided to take some time off from writing and publishing and just workshop my craft. I tried to look at things from another perspective. Open my eyes to new techniques, new writers, and despite the fact I’d been writing for years, take the approach of someone who had never put a word to paper to create a story. I didn’t expect it to take 9 months but that’s how long it took.
What I discovered by doing that was this.
The reason that my erotica wasn’t working the way I wanted it to was because I was focusing more on the end result than the journey to get there. The outlines for most of my stories had detailed outlines of the sex acts more than a focus on the who these character were.
That’s not to say that the characters weren’t developed. It’s just the sex they were having wasn’t specific to what those characters needed. The sex scenes read more like a list of actions than a surge of emotional wants and needs that built to an explosion of carnal desires. I had these vibrant characters that transformed into a catalog of sex acts as soon as their clothes came off.
Great! I discovered the problem but fixing it was a completely different issue.
Every time I tried starting something new, I found myself falling back into old habits. I tried looking at work I had developed and attempted to make those adjustments but all I could see were the old mistakes and not the potential of what these works could become if I buckled down, tossed my ego aside, and do what I needed to do.
That’s when I decided to invest in my writing and take a workshop with Rachel Kramer Bussel when Catalyst Con West came to town in September.
I had discovered Rachel from listening to Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino on Voice America. The episode she was on was one of the ones that I constantly listen to on my iPod. She shared some of the writing prompts and exercises she used in her workshops on that podcast. I starting doing them on my own time and was slowly moving in the right direction but having the chance sit in the room with her was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss. Since I knew what I felt was the problem in my writing, I made a personal challenge for myself before I took the workshop.
Don’t write about sex during the writing prompts and exercises.
What!?! But doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
Not at all because taking a concept or an object that you wouldn’t necessarily view as sexual and writing about it in a sexual way allowed me to tap into what I felt was sensual and a new world opened up to me.
I didn’t plan out what I was going to write about. I wanted everything that came out of my head to be organic but when I sensed mind was traveling down that all too familiar hard core sex road, I stopped, and forced my mind to go in another direction.
What I gained was a greater respect of the process. It made writing fun again. It was the challenge of allowing the obvious not be so obvious and more importantly, it helped me create the balance between my characters and their sexual desires where they linked in a way that only I could write them.
It gave me back my individuality. It help me rediscover the writer I always wanted to be.
As I step into 2015, I’m invigorated. I’m back to submitting work, which is something I hadn’t focused on since 2012, and I’m having more fun than I thought would be possible.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing about hard core sex. It just means that it won’t feel so hard core on the page.
Taking all the time off allowed me to reboot this erotica writing journey. It gave me time to rediscover my love and respect for the craft and I have no intentions of stopping this time.