Get Ready to Work Hard as a Sex Writer
Can I lay out several cold, hard facts on writing – about sex or some other topic – for you? Sometimes you have to write even when you hate the assignment. We all feel like frauds sometimes. Most of us are envious of other sex writers, wishing we could do what they’re doing. Over time, I’m sure I’ll talk more about these truths, but the biggest of them all is this:
Making money at writing is hard work. Writing about sex is hard work. Writing is hard work.
And if you’re not prepared to work for what you want, then get ready for setbacks, failure, and plenty of aggravation. Oh, and even with hard work, you’ll still have setbacks, failure, and aggravation but at least you’ll also have some successes to keep you going.
Write When You Don’t Feel Like It
Look, if you’re writing a personal blog that acts as a journal and a way to communicate with friends, write when you damn well want to. Let the feeling come over you and then pour your heart out on the screen once a week or once a month. But you’re trying to make money at this whole sex writing thing, right? You’re going to have to show up – even when you don’t really want to. You’re tired and stressed. You’d rather watch Game of Thrones or porn.
Sometimes you have to play mental tricks with yourself to get through it. Writing is your job, right? (Or you want it to be, right?) Okay, set the timer for 30 minutes and promise yourself you can be done when it goes off. Maybe half an hour is barely enough time to get a paragraph out or maybe you start and realize you have something to say after all. I’m not one who believes you should write every single day no matter what. But if you’ve decided writing is your new job or your next one, you’ve got to develop a habit of writing even when you don’t want to.
Write When You Think You Have Nothing to Say
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been terrified of my own keyboard because I thought I had nothing to say. Even when I’d pitched the topic! Write anyway. Here’s the secret to writing in the 21st century – most of us are on computers or laptops, and we all have a backspace key. The crap that comes out in those first terrifying moments doesn’t have to be what you send in. But you have to start with something even if you know you’ll delete it later.
If you don’t have a paying job yet, but you’re trying to get someone to hire you or buy your idea, you’ve got to build a portfolio. The best way is through a blog. There’s more freedom in it than you realize. You can develop the discipline of writing on a schedule (even if its a schedule of your own making), and no one is going to hate you because you had a typo or a misspelled word in your blog post. For the record, no one should hate you if you have typos or misspelled words in paid work, but it’s something to avoid.
Get Off Social Media
Social media can be a great way to connect to other writers, readers, and friends as well as find work. You won’t hear me say you should avoid it. But too many of us (myself included) will spend countless hours on Twitter or Instagram and then complain we don’t have time to write. Building your social presence is important but the audience you build through writing and the words you write are what make you a writer, blogger, or content creator.
When I find myself spending more time on Twitter than I do writing, it’s not just basic procrastination. I’m usually afraid of something. Of the next project or the opinions I want to share or something. That might not be you. Maybe 280 characters feels easier than writing a 500 or 1000 word post or pitching an idea. Very few people believe they can fail in 280 characters, but we’re all capable of “failure” from a post no one reads or a rejected or ignored pitch.
By the way, a post that doesn’t get likes, comments, or shares isn’t a failure and neither is a rejected idea. It’s all part of the work of writing. Not everything is a hit. Not everyone loves every word we write. It’s a reality we all live in.
Keep Your Commitments
Got your pitch accepted and a deadline from a website? Get it written and sent in on time. Every time. Sure, weird stuff like the flu happens but not with every assignment. Promised a friend a guest blog post? Don’t leave them hanging. (I’ve done this, and my guilt probably helped me write a much better post because I wanted to prove I wasn’t the slacker I thought I was.)
Does this mean sometimes you can’t watch the show you love or hang out with friends? Yep. For me, it’s often missed sleep. When the offer to write comes my way, especially when money is involved, I’m getting it done. Come hell or high water. Wake up early. Skip the gym. Not something I recommend on a regular basis or your butt becomes chair-shaped – ask me how I know. Get. It. Done. No excuses.
Most of writing and making money doing it – whether it’s from your website, client work, or an online publisher – is about showing up. Sure, other people might write better than you do (that happens to all of us) but they didn’t pitch the idea or get the client. You did. If you’re not going to show up while you build your writing career, how do you know you’re going to show up once you have it? And in truth, not working hard from the start means you likely won’t ever get that sex writer career you’re dreaming of.