Friday, May 31, 2013

A Hard Realization


Despite my long break from writing consistently, I still have friends who will read what I write, and give me honest feedback on it. A while ago, I used iwl.me to analyze my current writing vs. my writing before the break 2 years ago. My friend found it to be quite apt that I used to write like George Orwell, but now write like J.K. Rowling.

I'll be honest, I'm not used to hearing words like "bland," "trite," and "juvenile" associated with my writing. It's hard to hear, but I like to think I'm capable of accepting harsh truths. It's a product of me being born where I was, though. It's the curse of those of us who aren't native English. We let our skills go far too easily if they aren't kept up on a daily basis. And I didn't keep up my writing. I jumped right back into it, and figured... Yeah, I'll just publish the first thing I write! That'll work!

And of course, it won't. I have a lot of writing and reading to do before I can feel right about letting anyone pay for my work. I'll post a bit of what I've written so far on Darknest and in my upcoming Fanfiction/Fiction Friday series, and leave it at that until I get to a point where I no longer have to be ashamed of my writing. Not ashamed because I write smut, but because I don't write well enough, in general.

It's a journey that I have to start over, in a sense, and given where I was felt I was, it has been a rough start. Two years ago, I firmly believe I was capable of writing a lot, and writing of a quality I'd feel good about selling. I've had to come to terms with the fact that I'm just not as good as I was, these last few days. That isn't easy, but without honest feedback from my friends, it wouldn't have happened at all.

Like anything you don't practice, skill at writing atrophies. But I'll get there. I'll get back to where I was.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Passion and Procrastination


"I think my general lack of writing is mostly due to my work sucking the energy out of me, not to mention quite a lot of the time I spend all day writing dull crap at work and I just feel like vegetating when I get back. On those days I only make progress when I'm in love with what I'm writing." - Tae, Darknestfantasyerotica.com



While I don't have a job right now, this is something I deal with as well. That a day can very easily turn into a do-nothing affair where all you do is sit or lie back and pass the time with things that "don't matter." Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying every day, hour, minute and second must be filled with doing something meaningful. It's perfectly alright to sit back, drink an entire bottle of coke on your own, numbly watching 3 episodes of Downton Abbey in a row. I did just that, recently.

The problem comes when that's all you do. Without wishing to get into personal issues too deeply, I lapse into periods where all I do is exist vegetatively. I hide away from the world, lie my way out of my commitments and become a hermit. It's what is professionally known as a depression. I (And many others in the world) have dealt with it for over 10 years, and I've started to learn how to live with it. Especially how to turn days where I otherwise might have done nothing but watch TV, surf the internet and maybe play a game or two into days where I still do something.

For example, I have found that taking a walk starts the day off best for me. Half an hour to an hour, any longer and I start to get tired instead of motivated. Cutting myself off from the world for a little while gives me time to think. Robbed of the constant stimulations mentioned above (TV, surfing, games) my mind wanders and creates the stories and characters I write. Perhaps I should be able to do this when at home, but I may just not be strong enough to do that.

In other words, the best way to inspire passion is to deprive yourself. And if you don't, it becomes routine, and a day that could have been productive turns into a day of procrastination. This works for me, anyway, and it's why I act like I'm 87 years old and love walks. Maybe I should get a cane. And a shawl. And a rocking chair.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reviews, characters and rambling


I got around 1500 words done yesterday, which I'm quite satisfied with. Haven't gotten to writing anything yet, today. I've been spending some time today reading reviews of popular erotica books instead. I've mostly stuck to shorts, either stand-alone works or short series of short chapters, each one written in the style of an erotic short. That is, introduction, sex, orgasm, the end. Even in the short series, each chapter was designed to work as a singular work if need be.

Even in my shorts, though, I can't seem to stop myself from writing hints of a greater story into things. I've only tried writing something very situationally-focused once, and I felt empty and quite bad about it even though the readers liked it. I guess it's a bit of a paradoxical situation. All I've ever written has been shorter stuff than my mind really is built for.

This relates to the reviews I read, though, so that wasn't just a random comment. I was looking through all of these Goodreads.com reviews, and it seemed like the one thing in common between most of the low ratings was poorly made characters. I've always been told that my writing was emotional, which I suppose lends itself well to immersing yourself in the characters. I was actually encouraged by these reviews, though it's easy to feel encouraged when you've yet to have any works judged by the harsh eyes of the general public.



An example: One book seemed to tell (Not show) the reader that the main female character was intelligent and independent. She then found herself being threatened with abduction by the main male character, and responded by telling him her full name and then leisurely walking downstairs to have dinner in a restaurant.

...What?

It reminds me of a hentai comic I read some days ago (I know, shoot me) where a victim basically went:

She's raping me!
I want that dick.
I can't believe she's raping me!

I don't really know where I'm going with this, but reading that kind of thing certainly stimulated me to make sure to at least -try- and improve my characters. That impulse then lead to an idea for a small aside to provide some background for the main character of the short series I'm writing right now.

I have 4 chapters planned out for that series. Chapter 1 is written, and chapter 2 has been started. I think I'm going to try and write all 4 chapters before I start releasing, so I could release 1 chapter a week for a month, and give myself some breathing room when it comes to new writing.

And, on the topic of new writing... When I was just starting up, I was worried that I didn't have any ideas or a story. Now, I'm writing on one story and have ideas for 10 more already. There's so much to do with this hobby, and I love it. The feeling you get when you're doing something you love is hard to describe, but I feel it when writing. When it disappears for the day, I know it's time to let the keyboard cool and do something else.

Whew, that was a lot of rambling.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back again!


The break stretched a little longer than I had imagined, taking Monday with it as well. Still, it has really done me some good. I worried that getting back into writing was just a fling, but I the past weekend and today's writing has taught me otherwise. It's simply a matter of not letting my own expectations poison things, and instead be satisfied with what I write. I had rapidly gotten into an unhealthy state where I would beat myself up over what I wrote, and how much, lose motivation to write, and then write even less. Repeat.

Hopefully, I can avoid that, at least for a little while. I've decided to have at least 1 day a week where I don't think about writing, publishing or anything to do with it. With a little luck, that'll be enough to keep me away from the negative loop.

Still, it's good to be back to writing. The words flowed easily today, but I've decided to stop for today, while it's still good. Maybe I'll continue tonight? Maybe I won't. I've already written more than I expected to.

This is how it should be. Passion driving things, instead of obligation and self-reinforcing bad conscience.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Breaks


Yeah, so... After that last post, I realized what I was doing. I was forging ahead and acting like I never took a 2-year break from writing, making perhaps not impossible demands from myself, but unreasonable demands given how short a time I have been back at writing, beginning to upscale my words per day, focusing too much on editing, formatting, publishing and everything to do with writing in general.

While I really want this writing thing to work out, I have the "issue" of being an all-in person a lot of the time. This, of course, can lead to burnout, and that's what I don't want to happen. It's what I saw beginning to happen in the last post, reading back over it. I will try to keep my expectations of myself reasonable after I've finished the break I decided to take Friday through Sunday. From Monday, I will try to ease back in with writing, and hopefully be able to do it in a more controlled fashion that doesn't have me constantly thinking negative thoughts for not doing ALL THE THINGS.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Idea


Some days, I wonder what I really want to do with my life. Today, for example (It's 19:51 as I write this) I have yet to get any writing done. Instead, I have spent the day lying in bed, thinking of the far-off end to the series of shorts I have only just completed the first of. I thought of the possibilities of having a profound impact on the reader, and then I wondered, do people really want that when reading erotica? Will they not complain in great numbers if the story ends on a bittersweet note? I don't know, of course, because I've yet to release anything professionally that ends sadly. I've yet to release anything.

And as I laid there, continuing to put off the last half of editing and formatting, it occurred to me that I should be more eager to get it done so I could publish the story. It's written, waiting to be sent out. It's my first publication, so by all rights, I should be giddy to get it out there, right? The thing is, I spend more time worrying and wondering about the future than I spend making my way there. I fantasized about a review I might get once the series is done for a while, and read other reviews to do with my "main" fetishes.

I suppose I'm worried that I'm more in love with the idea of being a popular, published writer than I am with the process of trying to get there. It's a disheartening thought to have, so early in the process. And most likely, it is just that. A thought. I'm a pessimist, and I let my mind wander many times when really, I shouldn't. I should be editing instead of thinking, or writing this blog post.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What to do, what to do...


I have struggled with what topics I should be writing about on this blog. I have no intentions of it being any more than a place where I can ramble to myself when twitter's limited words don't offer the freedom of expression I need. I think of topics for the blog, and invariably, they don't materialize into anything other than a quick note in a txt file, just so I don't forget. So the topic idea can rot in notepad for a while until I unwittingly delete it, some time down the line.

The reason I struggle with what to write on this blog is that whenever I think of things related to writing, and how they relate to me, my mind starts to wonder to personal, dark and perhaps petty things. Things I wonder if I really should be spilling on the internet, especially if I should ever gain a few readers interested enough to go back through my posts to gain a real idea of who I am.

I think, maybe I should write something about my reasons for writing, but then I realize that no, I probably shouldn't, because I'll end up talking about things that everyone goes through as if they are insurmountable, huge, personal problems. In the end, I write for my own reasons. A few posts back, I said my dream was to earn enough from my stories that I could buy a little house in a forest somewhere, and that's very true. A place for an introvert to be alone and hide from the world, because personal problems are personal problems. You don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with them. Better to walk alone and live alone and carefully measure your contacts.

I tell myself that, and really, I know it's wrong to think that. I know, I really do. But it's the easiest, in the end. Doing something hard would help me, but 10 years down the road, I don't know if I really can, anymore.

There are bad and good days. This is one of the former.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Words, words, words...


So, I wrote 1500 words two days ago. Yesterday, I discarded those 1500 and wrote 1000 instead, and they were better. I added another 1000 words to the first, making yesterday my most productive day so far.

My editor tells me clever things like "brevity is the soul of wit" and the like, and I'm sure that's true. I don't particularly think about making my writing as compact as possible when writing it, though. I do have a tendency towards being verbose (But which writer doesn't), so refining has done a lot for me over the years. I'll write something, let it rest the night over, then throw it all out and start over.

It's like when the words are written in Word, I can look at them again, I can refine what I wanted to say into something better. My mind is a rambling and tumultuous place. I'm sure someone more organized wouldn't have to write half their stuff twice just to make it enjoyable to read.

In other news, I spent yesterday with my family, visiting a museum in an old manor house, and then the baroque garden that was still being kept in the adjoining areas. It was quite inspiring for me, especially because the baroque style is all about shaping nature into human designs. I'm currently writing something with a very nature-focused and somewhat anti-human character in it, so it helped me come up with some good stuff for her worldview.

Inspiration really does come from all over.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How can I keep this up?


One of my first concerns, knowing myself as I do, is how to make sure that I stick with this. Writing is something I enjoy, seeing other people enjoy what I have written is satisfying to me, but I am just not a machine-person with a full dedication tank. I won't bore anyone with too much real life trivia of me, the person, but I'm sure others can recognize themselves in this to some degree.

Like many others on the internet, it sometimes feels like my greatest skill is procrastination. Whether it is in the face of something I HAVE to do, or something I WANT to do. Writing is something I want to do, not something I have to do. Unfortunately, this category is what's hardest to stop yourself from neglecting in your pursuit of new cat images and previously unseen YouTube videos.

So, really, why am I writing (boring you with) this? Because even though this is not effort spent on a story, it is still writing. And writing is what it comes down to, if you want to be an author. Some people write their own name until something else comes out. I ramble on my blog.

Also, this seems relevant in some way:


Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Process



I have set up accounts everywhere I should. Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Goodreads (Very confusing site in terms of how its discussions work) and even Amazon. I have yet to try and publish anything, but still, it is a good thing to sit down and reflect on what it is I am trying to do, and how I should do it.

The most basic thing an erotic author must do, the most basic thing any author must do, is write. I have set myself the goal of writing at least 1000+ words a day. Not necessarily as a part of a story, at least not yet, just words. To get into the habit of writing something every day is so important that it will be my primary purpose for the first two weeks. Not everything can be published, no writer I  have ever heard of has had everything they have ever written published. You write everything you can, and then you find the gems in what you did write. If you do not write, you cannot find the gems.

The topic of Goodreads discussions was raised on darknest a while ago, and I had trouble with thinking of it as useful promotion. Some people can jump into a discussion and subtly (Or not very subtly) insert their own works. I cannot do this. I feel fake, hollow, wrong. Still, at some point, I will have to get into the publicity circuit in some way. If I get to 10 published works, I will look into finding places that review my kind of writing.

Any author should have an editor, and I have none, right now, and I am not good at self-editing. I used to know someone who was excellent, but I fell out of contact with him. I will try to reach out to him again once I have a draft of something. If I cannot find him, I will have to look for someone else. If I am selling this stuff, what is the proper way of handling an editor? Give him/her a percentage? Pay a flat amount? Will people do it for free? I will have to find out. It would feel wrong for me to ask someone to edit something that is to be sold without recognizing their contribution to it in some real (Monetary) way.

Lastly, I will have to research the "competition" out there. How they do their covers, how they do their blurbs, how they manage their tags and titles. I would dearly love to have personalized covers drawn for each released story, but it just is not feasible to get an artist to draw something for anywhere from 50$ to 100$ for these stories, when I do not expect to make even 10$ a month from the first few releases. I would like to hope that one day, I earn enough from this business to be able to spend that amount of money on a cover.

I must admit, I am worried. Worried that I'm really not as good as I accepted people thought I was. Perhaps it is just because of my lack of recent practice in writing, but what I wrote yesterday did not resonate with me the way some of my past works have. Still, I'm not about to give up. I know it takes time, a long time, to get back to where I once, perhaps, was.

An example of past work: http://pastebin.com/ELWP9SDU - Please bear in mind, it's rather dark.

The List


  • Write 1000+ words every day
  • Look into review sites to get works reviewed at around 10 works
  • Find an editor, look into how to handle payment
  • Look into getting covers. Stock image sites.


Friday, May 17, 2013

What do I really want out of writing and selling erotic ebooks? 


I told the other friendly indie authors over at darknest that really, I'd be happy if I could just go to the baker every now and again and buy a cake with the money I might make from this. This is a classic reaction pattern from me (And many others, I'm sure), because even though my writing has been complimented by pretty much everyone who has ever read it or roleplayed with me, I still don't really, firmly, 100% solidly believe that this could ever happen to me. That living off my written words could be something that would happen to me.

But we have to be honest with ourselves. So preciously few others are, in society. We're all a pack of liars, in fact, which I suppose is what has kept me doubting my own ability even though I frequently (Not a great trait, I admit) look down on others for their writing, whether it be style, spelling or grammar. I'm not natively English, either, which I know has affected my vocabulary. Where an American or English person might have 20 metaphors, synonyms, slang words or ways to describe something, I have 5.

So, I am confident, but not confident. I also know that for this to work, I have to make it work. There's no one and nothing there who will facilitate me or push me along. There are fellow kind and helpful writers, but at the end of the day, you are the one who has to write. Every day. And this is perhaps what scares me most. Failure. My failure. There will be no one to rest the guilt on but me. If I don't write, it's my fault. If I fail to write about something that people will buy and read, I am to blame.

Just looking at the original question has me ill-at-ease, afraid in some way, because I realize what I want. I want to make my living writing these stories. I don't just want to buy a little gateau to sob into every now and then. I want my quiet little house in the forest, paid for by the stories I have written. And it scares me that I am the only person who can make this happen.

Fear before the unknown is natural. Every journey begins with a step into the unknown. Everything that is worth something takes hard work. I've heard all of these variations of quotes, and many more, but none of that truly touches you the hour before the journey begins. It is mental, not emotional. The excitement, the nervous tingling, the hint of fear, those are all emotions, and taking the first few stumbling steps can calm those.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Hello world


The traditional opening post of a blog is always hard to write properly. I know this, even though I have only made 2 blogs in my lifetime. This one, and a years-old one that was abandoned after a few posts. The last one was without purpose. This one has a distinct purpose. To talk, ramble and rant about my efforts as a writer of (mostly) erotic stories both short, long, and in between.

I look forward to seeing where the journey takes me, even if it is nowhere at all.