CW: Terrible (OR AMAZING) puns, harsh truths, smutty innuendo, a little rambling and a few cuss words.
There are few things more frustrating to a writer than when the creative well has run dry.
This is rough for writers of any genre. But what do you when you write smut and can’t seem to find the lube you need to keep plowing through? Or worse – to even warm up enough to get things started in the first place?
Not to worry. You aren’t alone. Smutty writer’s cockblock is something that affects even the most virile and verbose amongst us. Here are a few things to consider if you find yourself in a sexual writing rut.
1. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO REST
“Aw babe, not tonight. I have a headache…”
Listen to your body. It knows what you need better than anyone. After all, it’s known you your whole life. So, if it’s asking you to slow down, trust it.
I know that’s easier said than done since we live in a world that shames us for taking a break long before it encourages us to do so. It’s no wonder we never have enough time or energy to fulfill basic needs like sleep and exercise…
So, just… Take a fucking break, dude.
No seriously, get up and walk away from this screen right now. For at least five minutes.
Oh, that was nice, wasn’t it? Now. Where were we? Oh yes — don’t ever fret if you need to take care of your meat-suit. You’re not a body-hopping demon; you only get one.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
The weight of the world can be quite heavy, and you will have to lift that weight on occasion to grow stronger.
But you should never lift alone! If you hurt yourself, no one will hear you scream as your final breaths leave your crushed thoracic cavity. Ergo having a spotter is not only good but highly recommended.
If you have friends who are in the freelance/writing hustle, set up co-working dates so you can work alongside one another and feed off the mutual good vibes.
If you don’t have anyone in your immediate circles to work with, or need to keep my smutty persona secret for any number of reasons, no worries. There is a huge virtual community to tap into.
Anyone who has been here for any amount of time can attest to just how friendly, welcoming, and unwaveringly supportive the sex blogger community is. That’s how things like Eroticon, Smutathon, and Sisters in Smut came to fruition, just to name a few!
Whether you need inspiration, solidarity, or just a virtual hug or tummy rub, you are sure to find any number of loving, enthusiastic beauties lined up to heart you harder than you thought was possible from people whose faces you’ve never seen.
And it’s always easier to take over the world with sexy partners in crime.
3. JUST START WRITING
I know how impossible it is to write when it feels like there’s nothing to say.
“It’s already been said.”
“It’s already been said better than I ever could.”
“My writing is shit.”
“I don’t have any ideas left. I might as well not even bother.”
First of all, quit that right now. This self-deprecation that seems to go hand in hand with being a writer has really got to stop. Your words are more powerful than you are giving them credit for. As Girl On The Net reminded us at Eroticon 2018, “Your words can change the world.”
No one can say it quite like you because no one has your unique collection of life experience, perspective, and style. The only way your words won’t have an impact is if you don’t write them.
So, go on. Go fucking write something. Anything. Even if you don’t want to. Especially if you don’t want to.
The mere action of moving words to a page will get the juices flowing. It might not happen immediately, but like anything, it’s worth taking the time to warm up. No one likes it when you rush in too quickly.
One of my go-to methods is a technique I picked up in therapy and have since applied to my creative and professional endeavours: stream of consciousness free-writing.
Set a timer or a word count – you need a concrete endpoint to reach towards. And then just fucking write.
Don’t think, just spew words. Whatever is sitting at the top of your consciousness. Even if you write “I don’t know what to write…” for six pages before anything else starts to manifest. Don’t stop until you reach the mark you’ve set for yourself. Do this as often as you can.
What pours out of you might have nothing to do with what you’re “supposed to” write, but when the goal is met and you can lean back to see a bunch of words on the page, it’s tangible proof that you aren’t a failure; that you still and always will have more words inside you.
(Fun Fact: This whole post somehow manifested from me working through a few weeks of writer’s block via freewriting that started out with my thoughts on the lyrics to a new Panic! At the Disco song I was listening to, which turned into a long rambling bit about how I haven’t had good sex in a while. So, I do mean it when I say you never know what can pop up once your fingers start flying.)
4. LISTEN TO SOME SWEET TUNES
Speaking of Panic! One of my favourite things that I don’t do often enough is riff on the prompts I find in the music I listen to. My tastes are very eclectic, and I’ve been hard-pressed in my life to find a style of music that I can’t feel somewhere in my body. Music is a full-body experience for me and different tracks can arouse me in different ways. I’ve always said that every good adventure needs a good soundtrack and my erotic stories are no different.
I challenge you to find a song that makes you feel something and turn it into a prompt for your next story.
(And when it’s done, don’t forget to let me know so I can read it, love it, and share the shit out of it.)
It might seem trivial, but back in April when I actively participated in Tabitha Rayne’s #30DaysOrgasmFun, religiously administering orgasms to myself, I also I wrote what might be one of my best erotic stories to date. I guess it’s possible that these phenomena are mutually exclusive, but I’m banking pretty hard on the strong correlational data.
Taking the time to practice a little self-love through self-touch is so good for your body, mind, and creative output. You’ll release some of the tension you’ve been clinging to for too long, reduce overall stress, enjoy the lingering positive effects of an orgasmic endorphin release, and strengthen some really important muscles (brain notwithstanding).
Give yourself permission to take rest, to focus on nothing but you, and literally release. It’s in that state of love, patience, and liberation that creativity will blossom.
6. FOR THE LOVE OF GODDESS, READ SOMETHING
To be a better writer, you need to read. There are no two ways around it. I’m telling myself this more than you because I don’t read enough.
When I’m in a particularly deep rut, especially when it comes to writing new fiction, it doesn’t take much to draw the connection between how long it’s been since I’ve written and how long it’s been since I consumed someone else’s good writing.
Read your fellow sex writers’ posts (and share it while you’re at it!). Read books of any and all genres (not just the ones in your authorial wheelhouse). Always be reading, and it will make you a much stronger, more prolific writer.
It takes time, but it’s a worthy investment for your continued success as the kickass writer that you are.
7. TURN OFF THE NOISE
The internet is a magical and wonderful place. You can engage in meaningful conversations (or pointless rants), share relevant (or hilarious) thoughts and information, make lifelong friends, connect with other creators, hustle harder than ever, or stumble on a meme that makes you feel more seen than you know how to deal with.
But every magic has a dark side, and the internet is no exception.
Feeding the infinite feeds drains us more than we realize. You mean to check-in quick and suddenly an hour is gone. You write several tweets, but you can’t seem to be able to string a few sentences together in that word document. Sometimes it can help to turn off your notifications and give yourself an uninterrupted break from the social media purgatory.
Go ahead and unplug. Don’t worry, we’ll all be here when you get back, ready to sing your praises for whatever successes you collect while you’re away.
8. DON’T FORGET THE WATER (AND THE SNACKS)
When was the last time you drank some good ol’ H2O? Or ate a food?
Too long, I bet. I’m guilty as ever for this one. I’ll get sucked into something, be it a mundane stream of emails or a portal into another world where new friends are waiting for me to give them voices, and then all of a sudden months have passed since my last meal. My coworkers can attest to the frequency with which I say out loud, “Fuck, I forgot to eat again,” at the end of the workday.
We stress out about not being able to produce into infinity, but somehow forget that hydration and nourishment are key to, you know, staying alive.
Working yourself to death is not going to help your productivity. Keep a full receptacle of water at your workstation and challenge yourself to finish it and just STAY HYDRATED, DAMMIT. YOU WILL LITERALLY DIE IF YOU DON’T DRINK WATER.
The writer’s journey is a long and arduous one, so provisions are crucial to survival.
(Also, try to enjoy your coffee while it’s still hot!)
9. AND COFFEE’S GREAT BUT HAVE YOU TRIED BEER?
Look, just hear me out. I’m not saying you should go out and get drunk at that little pub (that might just be the setting for your next great erotic novel). Too much alcohol will make it impossible to form proper sentences and even a mild hangover keep your little brain hamster in a fog for the whole day. But. There is some science to it.
When you enjoy a drink or two, serious magic can happen. The depressant qualities of the alcohol will soften your anxieties, allowing you to open your mind up to greater possibility. We call it social lubricant or liquid courage, but in the case of smutty creatives, I submit that we call it Brain Lube™.
Grab yourself a pint, watch the people doing their thing around you, and see what kind of ideas crop up!
(But don’t drink too much, or it’ll make you lose focus entirely, compromise your memory, or put you right to sleep.
Which brings us to step two: the coffee chaser.
Follow up your glass of Brain Lube with the caffeine spanking of your choice to kick your mind back into gear and make something of the ideas you cultivated in your mildly boozed-up relaxation.
10. GO SOMEWHERE NEW (AND LOOK AT ALL THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE)
A lot of the erotica I write has been inspired by my observations of everyday people, but even more so by the places I fall in love with. Be it a busy local pub, a Kenyan market, an underground club tour in Bangkok, or an airport in Anytown, I love trying to capture the full sensory experience of a new place and translate it to a reader who may or may not have been to such a place themselves.
The only way to do this is to go to a new place and take a look around. And this doesn’t need to be a hugely intrepid adventure halfway across the world. Simply going to a neighbourhood you don’t frequent, setting up at a park, an obscure coffee shop, or a new Brain Lube haunt to watch the people go through their motions can sometimes be enough to spark something you’ve never considered before.
These are just some of the ways I’ve learned to deal with my finicky mental dams over the years. It’s obviously cool if they’re not quite the kink, I mean, technique for you.
At the end of the day, remember that you are valid, your words matter, and whatever you need for you is always best.