Smutlancer Spotlight: Violet Fawkes
Happy Thanksgiving, Smutlancers! I know tomorrow is officially Thanksgiving, but since you probably won’t be on your phone or computer tomorrow unless you’re posting/uploading food and family pics, I figured I’d say it now.
Besides a long, drawn-out Thanksgiving prayer, it has been an unofficial tradition in my family that whoever hosts Thanksgiving dinner asks everyone to say one thing they’re thankful for before the eating commences. Before we get into this month’s spotlight, I’d like to start by saying I’m thankful for this site. Without Kayla Lords and Molly Moore making their vision come to life, I wouldn’t have been able to interview so many phenomenal smutlancers, document their blueprint of success for current and future smutlancers, and get paid to do it! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
And of course, I’m thankful to this month’s spotlight interviewee, Violet Fawkes, for agreeing to share her experiences as a smutlancer with us. Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink, and mental health.
During our interview, we talked about how she started writing about sex, the legacy she wants to leave behind, an outrageous interaction with a potential client, and more. Check out our interview below:
How do you make money as a smutlancer?
My paid niche in smutlancing is copywriting and blogging. I get hired to ‘clean up’ other people’s writing and make products and services sound good. Having a background in technical writing, I enjoy making websites more informative and easier to read. I also blog professionally for NSFW brands [by] creating timely and topical content for their customers and followers.
How long have you been a smutlancer?
My blog is coming up on its fourth anniversary in December 2021. I began writing about sex and creating content about it in earnest about 2.5 years ago. The direction of my work has taken a circuitous path: I began sex writing as a personal expression and self-discovery of my sexuality.
I was at a point in my life where a lot was changing and I was coming to terms with some things about myself. My work in this arena began as something very precious and personal to me. Having written and shared extensively about myself and my experiences, I’ve realized that I have a lot of knowledge to share. Now my work is taking a more educational direction.
I’m striving to create content that is feminist, highly intersectional, and empowers people of all genders and sexual identities to express themselves and understand themselves more clearly.
Are you a full-time or part-time smutlancer?
This is my full-time gig. I don’t have a “day” job. It’s just me and my laptop trying to make the sphere of adult sex and kink education a better place.
Are you open with anyone about the work you do?
Violet Fawkes is a pseudonym as I’m not completely “out” as a Smutlancer, just with my partners and a few select friends. My family knows [that] I’m a freelance writer and include NSFW writing in that, but not that I’m writing about my own sex life and sexual experiences online. Chances are that no one in my circle would care, but it’s just not a bridge I have crossed yet.
When and how did you realize this was what you wanted to do professionally?
I knew this was the right path when I actually started making money. As trite as that may sound, we all need to make a living. The world is quick to tell creative types that they will never be able to survive on their art, but I don’t accept that. I come from a family of successful artists in multiple mediums, so I was always sure I could do something creative and get by. I just didn’t know it would be smutlancing.
How did you get started and how long before you felt like you had “made it”?
My personality is not one that takes easily to self-promotion, so the idea of this kind of freelance hustle was really daunting. I started out pitching ideas to websites that needed small articles. I got on with a couple as a regular monthly contributor. I did bits of copywriting here and there, really just anything I could get my hands on in the NSFW community. I also started selling my graphic design and illustration skills to other bloggers like logos, banners, book covers, and images to accompany blog posts. For me, I felt like I “made it” the first time that I could start financially contributing to my household equally again.
What’s one thing you wish you had known when you became a smutlancer?
I wish I hadn’t felt as much pressure to be so personal. Lots of great smutlancers thrive expressing themselves in really intimate ways, but that’s not a sustainable path for me. I think I’d have been further ahead or more successful sooner if I hadn’t felt as if the space between my blog content and the work I wanted hadn’t felt so vast. I learned a lot from being so personal in my work, but I’m glad I’m operating from a less vulnerable place now. It took me a while to learn that I don’t have to be completely candid for my knowledge and expertise to be of value.
What does a typical day look like for you when you’re smutlancing?
It involves a lot of tea and many distracting visits from my cats. I try my best not to work on weekends because I’m terrible with work/life balance if I don’t make such rules. Mostly I try to work within the basic 9-5 so that my workday more or less matches my partners’ so we can optimize family and personal time, but that’s a loose rule. I do try very hard to work in my bedroom/office, and I’ve put some real effort into making it comfortable and conducive to creativity.
What, if anything, is your favorite type of smutlancing work to do?
I really enjoy instructional writing. I’m working on some DIY home massage how-to guides for a client and it’s been surprisingly satisfying. I enjoy taking abstract or amorphous concepts and simplifying them, helping people tackle problems and solutions a step at a time.
In a perfect world, what would you want your legacy to be as a smutlancer?
As a middle-aged white cis woman, I am aware that my point of view is not always needed or welcome. There are a lot of spaces that are not for me to speak to in the sex-positive community. Learning how to contribute my privilege for positive change and how to be an ally to others are never-ending processes. I believe the best teachers are learners, so if I am building any sort of legacy, I need to do so within the appropriate framework and with an understanding of what the sex-positive landscape looks like for others as much as it does for me.
Ultimately, I want my work to speak for itself. I aim to make balanced, inclusive content that is helpful and encourages the reader/learner to look inward [to] formulate their own questions and find their own answers. I don’t believe that we need more didactic or dogmatic sexual discourse. We need community, self-love, and room for people to safely and bravely share and grow.
What do you absolutely need to have when you’re ready to sit down and work to be productive?
I work best in a very quiet room at a very tidy desk. Clutter is mentally exhausting for me when I’m writing, so I tend to hide the toolbar and make the page as plain as possible. I also use voice dictation a lot. I find that my writing can be a bit dry and technical if I don’t pay attention. But if I speak it, there’s more life and verve in my words. As you can imagine, this makes for some serious editing, but I love editing, so I don’t mind!
Who or what inspired you to become a smutlancer?
I wrote my very first blog posts after devouring the blogs of Hyacinth Jones and Kayla Lords. It was incredible to me that these women could share such personal things in such a compelling and relatable way. I also discovered Molly Moore’s work soon after I started blogging. Whether she knows it or not, she has been instrumental in helping me find my voice. The work of these three women, among others, has given me the courage to try, and fail, many times in the smutlancing world.
Are there any social/charitable causes that are close to your heart and connected to your work as a smutlancer?
I am a big believer that charity begins at home, [so] I like to keep my donations or volunteership as local as possible. I only support non-denominational charities that are trans and LGBTQIA+ inclusive. I [also] tend to support local shelters and resources that [assist] victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Name the best, strangest, funniest, wildest thing you’ve experienced as a smutlancer.
I was once put in contact with a prospective client who was looking for someone to write the erotic novel she had conceptualized. She claimed she was a terrible writer and wanted someone to bring her vision to life. She shared some of the topics and ideas. I was intrigued. She was very clear that she envisioned this as a 75,000 – 100,000 word novel.
Having never written a novel, I told her I’d have to work out a bit of a plan/schedule on how we could collaborate as well as an overall timeline for the project. I also let her know that I would get her an estimate of the cost ASAP. She said that was fine, [so] I went about putting together the estimated details.
Upon reviewing my feedback, she exploded with entitled email rage. How dare I make her wait several months or a year for a novel to be completed! How dare I charge my suggested rates! She was under the impression that I should be able to write a complete novel for her in a month … and do it for $300. Needless to say, I did not take the job.