I’ve been burnt out for practically the entire month of December so far with no signs of slowing down. Alongside the usual holiday-related expectations one can expect during December, my hours at my work have also gone back up due to preparations needing to take place for my country’s response to the new COVID variant. The rest of life is difficult to keep up with. It’s difficult to care when one doesn’t have the energy, especially when one has the passion. I love my stories more and more these days and it can be easy to look at my work and think the opposite.
I get a lot of comments on public sites that boil down to “I liked it, now hurry up with the next one.” Some days I take an attitude of gratitude towards it – they care so much, their desire for the next part turns into impatience. Genuinely, what a compliment. Other days it gets daunting, largely because this isn’t one commenter. This is a bunch of people all telling me to hurry up with the next piece, and I know that when I publish a piece, that’s what three of the first five comments will be. And if I don’t deliver in the coming weeks, I get a bit of light chirping to the tune of “here we go again” by a few other commenters. Normally, it doesn’t bother me. When I’m at my most burnt out… it unfortunately further discourages me from writing. Coming home after a fourteen-hour shift knowing I’ve got about ten hours before my next one and seeing, quote, “Unfortunately this author doesn’t update his stories as frequently as we, readers, would like…” makes me stare at the screen for about a minute and elect to get some sleep instead. The lateness of this blog is a result of that.
I want to emphasize, that’s a problem resulting from my current situation in life. Every online writer is going to get feedback. Every online writer that updates a semi-popular story every full month is going to get impatient comments. Their existence isn’t a problem; I’m just venting that sometimes I don’t know how to respond to their existence when they get to me. And they seem to get to me the most when I come home dead tired, not inspired at all. It sucks but it’s reality.
Two weeks ago I, in my usual fashion, overanalyzed erotica and its comments. This week, I want to simplify it. It’s a neat thought experiment because it makes me ask myself what feedback means to me, as well as how much comments influence erotica, and erotica in turn influences its own comments. Ever notice how, the more poorly and blandly a story is written, the more people in the comments will brag about how this “totally happens to them once a week?” Maybe that’s nothing, but I could swear I’ve seen patterns like that before.
But so what? People like to be more critical with comments towards my story’s plots because there’s literally more plot to critique. Plus, the less sex in the face of a plot, the more consciously we’re going to think of the story and its buildup. That’s all, that’s it. So what?
I love asking ‘so what.’ It’s such a simple statement, disguised as dismissal, that forces us to admit our simplest thoughts. My point largely last week was, “the more plot in erotica, the more people will pick it apart and critique, and the less, the more complacent one’s following seems to be.”
My immediate vulnerable thought to respond to ‘so what’ is, “I’m constantly worried that the specific way I take my stories is going to be disliked by my following. I’m jealous that so many erotica writers don’t have to worry about that.” I like that I was hesitant about writing that. That, to me, makes it feel real. And it’s true; sometimes commenters will specifically point out a creative choice and ask, “Why on earth did you write this like that?”
And when I secretly also believe that about my story, it feels like they’ve hit the bullseye.
I want to practice saying more in less words without needing to dress it up, so I’ll leave it at that for this week. I’ve said the full statement; I’d like to unpack it more but I’m going to leave it like that, at least for a while. I’ll talk to you all next week.