I have a deadline of January 31st for a short erotica competition. I was super excited about this, because I want to get into the practice of cranking out stories and submitting them.
And then I got stuck.
Like I mentioned last week, I think a huge part of achieving success as a writer is finding the right story. Like a relationship, finding a person that just works for you is key to smooth sailing. It can get hard sometimes, like all relationships and writing projects, but a good fit makes it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes, though, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for “The One” to walk in and sweep you off of your feet. Sometimes you just have to “love the one you’re with.” This goes for deadlines and commitments.
What do you do then? You drop your shoulder and barrel through. I thought I found the story I wanted to write, and then I hated it. Then I thought I found a new one, and that didn’t work either. Then, I gave up. Then I started fresh. Two nights ago, I found a story that I could live with, and I wrote that one.
Am I ecstatic about it? Does it express everything I was hoping to say about sex and love? No. God no. But, am I proud of the prose? Do I think it reflects me as a writer and is a solid and admirable effort? Will it be fun for people to read? You betcha.
Sometimes, often, writing is work. Hard work. It’s why not everyone does it and far fewer people are successful at it. It feels inorganic to spend time and energy on something you’re not ecstatic about. I like to think about it like prostitution. It’s a transaction, an offering of time and energy to something in exchange for a return of a different kind. Does that mean I can’t make love to my fabulous partner? or that the exchange with them is cheapened? Not in my book. Sometimes you write because it’s perfect and beautiful and you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. And sometimes you write to write, to get it done, to get paid. Nothing’s wrong with either, but it helps to cut yourself some slack and get the job done.