Being an erotica writer can sometimes be difficult in surprising ways. One way I’ve re-discovered recently is the discouragement that comes from seeing the massive scope of other erotica out there.
Depending on the sites you frequent, your favorite porn website might be pushing out up to 20 new porn stories a day. Even if it’s a lot less, you most likely will never catch up with the site’s entire supply, and to attempt to do it is suicide, at least on your eyes. It’s an accepted fact that “most online erotica is crap,” though the more I hear it the less I believe that as a universal fact. I like reading lesser-rated stories to see what redeeming qualities it has, like an interesting character or one really good metaphor, or even a moment I could picture vividly. A good number of people on the sites I frequent probably think my stories are crap. So really, it’s just in the eye of the beholder so to just dismiss the truckload of free erotica that pops up daily is kind of dismissive.
However, once I label it as dismissive, the alternative explanation just makes trying to stand out sound exhausting. There are writers out there that write (no offense) the same incest-heavy premise in a 1000-word story over and over, and they pump out one of these babies in a week. This is not to be dismissed either, it requires a different skill than I have, but I also just refuse to do it. It’s not my style. I also don’t like the idea of my readers going, “Huh, nice story,” then leaving it and never thinking about it again. I want my stupid erotica stories to have some kind of impression and meaning. So my once-a-month stories have to stand out enough that even when compared to another erotica writer, let alone all other erotica as a whole, I hold my own. That is incredibly difficult.
The easy answer for anyone other than me is to not do that. Don’t see your own stories as ‘competition’ to all other erotica, because that is a battle you are going to lose. I try to see it instead as my own stories, and a little corner of the internet happens to be interested in these stories. I have my own erotica writers where I’m in their corner too – I check out their pages from time to time, to see if they’ve written anything new. If you’re a seasoned erotica writer or even a novice, thinking of this as your corner instead of something you’re trying to monopolize and dominate will take so much of a level of stress of your shoulders. This is why caring about being on the ‘top rated’ of any website is idiotic. It doesn’t do anything substantial for you in the long run. If people are coming back, they come back for personal taste. Not because one is competing.
It’s kind of like how in high school, you don’t want to be viewed as lame at sex or the worst fuck someone has had so you hyperfocus on the idea of being the best sex someone has had, thinking they’ll always come back to you if you are. Fun fact, an ex of mine ending up falling for someone that they themselves admitted was lousy in bed. And yet, they clicked on a romantic level so well she didn’t even care, and stayed with them happily until they broke up for moving-away reasons. We have this fascination and sometimes this obsession in a world where many do a certain thing (like writing or sex) that in order to be important at doing that thing, we have to be the best at it. We have to be the best sex they’ve ever had, we need to write the best stories. Hell, I bet my best story isn’t the best erotica you’ve read. And that’s okay. I want to provide what you all like (erotica with story elements), not be the only source of what you like. Expecting that from an audience, or a lover, or even yourself, is selfish.
I’ll talk to you all next week.