And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Masturbation: 5 Ideas For The Erotica Writer’s Writing Routine
I can’t tell you when/where and how to write any more than you could tell me. How you come to set your writing time/place/habits, has to work best for you. Everybody’s output is different, as is everybody’s writing style. But what I might be able to impart here (well, I am going to impart it, the ‘might’ part comes in when or if you chose to apply what I advise) are five ideas that I feel work for all of our writing routines (not just for those of us writing smut), no matter the when/where/how or what we write.
1.) Have a delineated space to write in. This one is not so easy to come by or create, especially if you are just starting to scribble, are a part-timer, live in a kinetic household. It might be tough to squirrel away a specific space all your own, apart from the family or a romantic partner, someplace quiet where you can dream or secluded enough that you can blast the Iron Maiden at all hours for your inspiration. Steven King tells of when he was first starting, how he found the smallest back laundry-room space in his small living quarters to write Carrie. Then again, what the hell does he know, he’s not successful or anything…
I am all for getting out with the laptop, balancing it on your knees as you sit on the beach or some far-off mountain deck. But generally speaking, I think it’s a good idea, if you can manage it, to have a place that, when you walk into it—be it backroom, shed, cramped attic alcove—is the place where the writing gets done. Also, and let’s admit this, (we’re all adults here) if you happen to be penning erotica and what you write, well, gets you all hot and bothered and you feel you have to… do I have to spell the rest of this out for you? When a moment takes you that you’ll want/need a little privacy, then you damn well are going to be happy you have a little privacy.
2.) Find the right tools. If you enjoy clacking away on a manual typewriter, then get yourself one. I don’t happen to use one, so I can’t tell you what the availability of these machines is presently, but if this is what you write on, then write on it. The point is, be it a #2 pencil and yellow lined paper (Woody Allen lays on his bed, scribbling out the first drafts of his movies with a pen and yellow lined paper pads) or the old Intel processor HP laptop, chose your weapon and go forth.
Don’t be resistant to changing your tools, though, and for the fact of the matter, a routine as well. When I first began working on a laptop, I recall telling my buddy who was walking me through the process, that the idea of ‘cutting and pasting’ was something I was sure I’d never get used to. These days, I couldn’t write any other way than in a word processing program.
3.) Set a schedule. Again, not as easily done as considered, especially if writing is not (yet) your full-time gig. I know as many writers who need the discipline (no, not the discipline of tethers sprayed across your backside… Jesus, get your mind out of the gutter!) of a set time to sit down and ply their wares, and plenty more who function best just sitting down, and closing the basement door when the mood strikes.
As my great friend, great writer, and contributor to this website, M. Christian will tell you, he and I think of ourselves as ‘hacks,’ in the very best sense of that word. We don’t sit around waiting for the muse to whisper in our ear, and only then get to writing. We tend to go to our writing space each morning and get on with the getting on; answering emails, attending to open assignments, looking for jobs, etc. But we are professional writers, and we have set the time and space for this pursuit. However, even pros can have a whole bunch of different ways of setting a schedule if they set one at all.
4.) Schedule time not to write. This one is especially hard for me, as I find myself pretty much writing all the time. It’s what I like to do, as much as I can do it. I recall Isaac Asimov mentioning how his wife was always on him to take vacations, but he would repeatedly tell her, he had no need for them; writing was all the vacation he ever needed.
That’s the way it is for me. I get to travel to a whole bunch of different places, meet a whole bunch of cool people, and indulge my perfectly muscled (and superbly hung) body in a multitude of ways (not unlike my real-life… NOT), so it is hard for me to take time away from writing. But I would advise it. You need to fill the old coffers; you need to experience life, you need to smell fresh air, hang with friends, enjoy the touch of someone other than yourself. I’ll say it often, but it needs to be repeated, writing is not all there is to writing.
5.) Work on consistent organization. Lots of writers see the word ‘organization’ and go screaming off into the night. I understand. You should see my desk, talk about a mess! But I have a manner of organization set, a method to my madness, a way of keeping track, as much on my desktop as in my mind (both cluttered spaces that are always in danger of losing their ever-dwindling power) that works for me. Depending on how much output you put out, it might be a good idea to get things in order, best as you can, or at least be working to this goal as you work. I generally don’t like anything mucking-up my writing, and knowing that I have to still throw those bunch of stories in my “Three-breasted Amazon,” folder, or having some phone calls on my mind that I am trying to avoid returning, will lead me to distraction.
I hope some of, or maybe even all of the above will help you… if you need the help. I am sure you have habits you adhere to that get you through your day (I’d love to hear about those), and yes, being writers of smut, we might be a little more quirky than other writers. Although I dare say, all writers probably have odd little habits that get them through the day. As I will always advise: it is less how/when/where and why you write than that you do write.
So, get writing!