“Writing is a lot like sex. At first you do it because you like it. Then you find yourself doing it for a few close friends and people you like. But if you’re any good at all, you end up doing it for money.” - Unknown
If only writing really were more like sex. No, I’m not going to start bragging about how good of a lay I am (although anyone who knows is free to comment) but I’m not yet at the same comfort level with writing as I am with rolling around in the sack. Both involve sharing an experience with another, or if you’re lucky, with lots of people, but here’s why I think sex is a bit easier:
- Most people will say no to sleeping with you if they’re not really attracted to you, but a story doesn’t have that superficial convenience, so you might get pretty far into it and realize things just aren’t working out.
- You can get feedback while you’re getting frisky, but a reader can’t tell an author they don’t like the way they’re moving so the author can adjust their position.
- If the sex is really bad and you can’t just quit, you can finish quick and be gone in under five minutes, but if you’ve asked someone to read your work and it sucks monkey balls, they’re stuck with it for the long, flaccid haul.
- Adding more characters to a story doesn’t automatically make it more interesting, whereas adding more people to a bed/shower/couch/pool/pool table…
- When a reader has your story’s clothes off and realizes they don’t like what they see, you can’t just blow them and send them happily on their way.
- Talking about God or Satan might get a creep out of your apartment, but it won’t get a bad character or plot out of your story.
- If you’re not really enjoying writing, you can’t just make convincing noises and think of something else to fool the reader that you’re good.
- People can’t turn the lights off to hide your bad words.
- Not everyone will spread the word that you’re a bad lay, but if you’re a shitty writer, the whole world will know.
- If your story isn’t exciting, there isn’t a pill you can take to perk it up.
Okay, I could just go on (add your own if you have good ones), but my point is that writing is an intimate experience with one writer and (hopefully) a whole lot of people. I love reading stories that friends write, because I feel like I’ve taken a trip in their private, dirty mind. I know a lot of my thoughts are daydreams about my stories, and I love that I can enjoy them anywhere without anyone else knowing that I’m off in my own world. So, reading someone else’s daydream means you play the fly on their mental wall, watching every perverted idea wander in and out.
I don’t ever want to find out someone thinks I’m lousy in bed or on paper. What if I was told both in the same day?! I’d DIE! Oooh, story idea…