I’ve gone kind of soft lately. I remember that after I established myself as an erotic writer, in my “first wave of internet fame” (if you could even call it that), I gained a reputation for my hard opinions and scathing style of critique. I still have the latter if a writer dares to ask for feedback from me, but largely due to me having to disappear from the public eye due to work and personal obligations, I’m not so much a ‘figure’ anymore, as much as just ‘a guy that occasionally pops up to submit a story then disappear for a period of time again’. And honestly, I’m okay with that.
That said, it’s fun to have hard polarizing opinions, and one that I’ve always known to be true in the back of my head hasn’t had the opportunity to worm its way into my conscious thought until recently. Do you find you’re just not all that good at writing erotica? Do you find you’re inspired less? Are you finding it difficult to unlock that level of imagination that really lets everything loose?
Stop listening to songs with lyrics in them and instead listen to purely ambient/instrumental pieces.
I’m dead serious, this one small trick has helped so much. I talked about this mystical “The Zone” a little bit ago, and I realized that one of the biggest inhibitors of that zone and of imagination in general is the human voice nagging in your ear, luring you away from the forced daydreaming your imagination does when it doesn’t receive any verbal enforcement for a while.
A lot of famous writers say that the greatest threat to good writing is being distracted by other people, and in my opinion, music featuring lyrics is no exception, even if the lyrics are in a language you don’t understand. I’m not just talking about time spent while writing – from start to finish, try not to listen to any music with lyrics. You’d be astounded at the results if you’re anything like me.
I’ve lived on both sides of this hypothetical. I recently made the switch from pop music with lyrics to music with no lyrics during my downtime (not just during my working hours, my downtime) and I’ve found I’m imagining a whole lot more, and my mind is able to wax creatively and find its own words much more effortlessly. You’ve only got my word for it, but even while writing this very blog post, I haven’t needed to pause – the words just come to me.
There are a billion factors that influence this, of course – physical health, mental health, time of day & sleep schedule, hunger, thirst, needing to go to the washroom, general feeling of fulfillment or lack thereof, etc, but one factor that has had a net positive on my erotica writing has been making the switch from pop and rock music to classical and ambient music. It doesn’t need to be anything specific – classical music, any genre without lyrics, instrumental versions of pop music (provided you don’t know the lyrics to them off by heart yet), movie soundtracks, game soundtracks, general ambient music from the internet, you name it. Try it for a week and see how your writing process has changed.
I think human beings are wired to have a certain amount of conversation in their day-to-day lives, so when you rob your brain of a feed of meaningless words (because let’s be honest, we only really actively listen to lyrics of songs a fraction of a time they’re playing and that’s a hell of a lot of words we’re ignoring on a daily basis), suddenly your brain has to converse with itself. And when I reach that moment, it feels like the first breath of air during the summer, or the first time I really looked at a sunset. It feels cleaner. I feel Like stories are unfolding and words are just coming to me. It takes a while to really get into that mindset, but finding your own words in response to a piece of music that sounds sad is a thousand times more expressive on your part than listening to a sad song and going, “I understand what that singer is saying.” It’s nice to empathize with others, but don’t let that nice sensation go on repeat and rob you of conversations you could be wordlessly having with yourself. I genuinely believe a lot of writers could really benefit from this.
Maybe I don’t have a ton of writers in my blog audience and I’m screaming into the void, but enh, I thought it was a neat topic. I’ll talk to you all next week.