What is Your Why?
Have you ever asked yourself why? Why am I writing sex toy reviews at midnight? Why am I obsessed over sharing details of my sex life or selling this product or educating the sex-curious masses?
Knowing your why as a smutlancer is as important as knowing your what.
Because when things get tough — and they will — being able to remind yourself why will keep you going. At the same time, your “why” becomes a gut check about what you’re doing. Should you start this thing, say yes to that, or go in a new direction? Knowing your purpose helps you figure out if the answer is yes or no.
Your Why Can Be Anything
I haven’t met a creative person who isn’t a little nervous about getting it right. And by “it,” I mean everything: your blog, your store, your book, your speaking gigs, your whatever. You want to know the process, learn the correct (and perfect) steps, and get a checklist to make sure you don’t screw up.
I see you out there, because I’m just like you.
But your why has no right answer. It’s about what’s meaningful to you.
And whatever it may be, it’s not stupid, silly, ridiculous, childish, overly optimistic, or even overly cynical (as long as you’re still ethical). Your why can be literally anything.
Some of my reasons relate to my blogging life and some to my freelance career. Yours can and should relate to you both on a personal level and to your professional goals.
- I have to share the stories in my head, the moments in my sexual life, or the observations and connections I make. Writing is how I think.
- Turning people on is fun. It gives me a fucking rush to know I did that.
- I know other people can relate to some of my experiences, and I want them to realize what they’re going through is normal.
- If I can give back to the community (BDSM, sex blogging, etc.), then I will — I must.
- I want to build a career that fits my life, my goals, and my personality instead of forcing myself to fit into someone else’s idea of what work should be.
You may have noticed I didn’t specifically mention money, although “career” implies it. One of your whys can definitely be money. But if it’s your only reason for writing, creating, or selling products, you’re going to be disappointed. Find another reason, something that will push you to work the long hours and put up with being ignored until you reach your monetary goal.
Your Reasons Change Over Time
In 2012 when I began my sex blog, the first two “whys” were all I had. And it was enough to keep me going. I had so many thoughts rolling around in my head, and I was experiencing so many sexual firsts, it was all I needed.
It was only later, as I began to talk to other bloggers and readers that the third “why” became a reality. As I entered the community, BDSM and sex blogging, the fourth reason became my new reality.
The career and money part came later. It didn’t override my other reasons; it was simply another layer that I added. Whenever I made decisions about what to do next, I asked myself whether it fit one of my other whys and helped me work towards the last one. Not every choice is decided through the lens of money or my career, but the big ones usually are.
Your reason on the first day you start creating your thing might not be your reason a few months or years later. That’s okay. Or, you may continue to add reasons that work together to create something uniquely you. There’s no right way to do this.
Why It Matters
It’s easy to get discouraged in the work we do, and it’s even easier to lose sight of what our goals are. If all of the reasons why you do this smutlancing thing include external forces — numbers, money, praise, notoriety, it’s harder to move forward. When all your whys come from what other people think, the work becomes a slog when the numbers aren’t “good.” And let’s be real, for a long time, they aren’t.
But when you know what your reasons (call them goals, if you’d like) are, they can sustain you and keep you moving forward. Without the internal force of why this is important to you, it’s easy to tell yourself what you’re doing is a waste of time, useless, unnecessary.
So for my creator friends who know why you do your thing, remember to focus on that when the external rewards haven’t arrived yet. It’s the only thing I know of that gets you through the moments when it feels like no one knows you exist.
And if you’ve never thought much about why you’re doing your thing, spend some time figuring it out. It makes a difference in keeping the spark alive when the thing you do starts to feel like work. Because it is work, but it should be work with a purpose, and only you can decide what that purpose is.
Now, I’m curious. Do you know your “why” for what you do? Feel free to share in the comments or on social media!