Writing erotica is a lot like riding a bike. Because well, you’ve got to ride something in order to know how to do it. OKAY. Maybe not, but if you write something and it’s awful, you get back up on your bike, so to speak, and you try it again. You learn from this and your writing will only improve. I suppose all writing is much the same. It follows this same basic idea. Practice makes perfect.
I suppose the erotica genre is quite a bit different though than other more “mainstream” genres. The competition is fierce and yet, no one seems to treat it that way. (Other than Faleena Hopkins, but let’s not bring the crazies into this.) I’ve found so many more supportive and wonderful people in the erotica community then I have anywhere else on the internet. There are more people willing to help me out in the erotica writing community than there are in “support groups”. I think it’s fucking awesome.
These people retweet, comment, vote and interact with me more than I have ever found before. I’m not worried about fans and making money. Sure, I have all my different streams of making money, but I’m not looking to make millions of dollars. I’m not concerned with becoming the next E.L. James. Sure I fantasize about that level of fame sometimes, but I wouldn’t be able to handle it. You know why? I like to make real connections. I like having a smaller fan base because I can connect with each one of you easier. I’ve made some good friends in the community on twitter and I love it. It makes twitter so much more fun. Hell, it makes writing so much more fun.
That’s all you need to be able to write a good erotica. Have fun and have a great community to participate in. The ability to write well will come if you are passionate about what you are doing. Sure, I think some of us were born with the ability to string words together to form immaculate tales that grip us and stick with people for life. For most, writing is an acquired skill that takes time and is perfected through trial and error.
So you have the ability to write – whether natural or acquired – and a damn good community to help support you. The only other thing you need is a brand. My brand is sex. I write erotica, run my sex blog, sell sex toys and am going to start a sex podcast soon. My goal with all of these things is to make people more open about such a natural thing that we all experience.
I’ve seen far too many people lately give up on their erotica writing careers before anything has even came from it. I don’t want to see anyone else giving up. Most people give up right before something big happens. And that’s the sad part.
If you choose to use a pen name. Choose wisely and brand yourself with it as quickly as possible. Don’t name yourself Cherry Cox if it’s already taken by someone within the erotica writing community. It’s just not right. The thing that makes the erotica writing community so fucking great is that we all support and uplift each other. Don’t be that dick that comes in and tries to ruin the fun for the rest of us. (I already mentioned the crazy person that tried this.)
Writing erotica is a lot of fun. You get to imagine all of these crazy-sexy scenarios and you can even use a pen name to write about some of your deepest fantasies. You can totally let loose and be 100% you when you use a pen name because you can hide away from your day-to-day life.
I used a pen name for about six months. It was hard to keep up with my hidden identity. I do so much better out in the open and usually just give up on stuff I have to hide away from the world. (Maybe the reason why I hated ghostwriting so much.) When I “came out” (so to speak) as myself back in November, it was the most liberating thing ever. I still have family members blocked from posts on Facebook and from my specific Ashley Dannielle page. And sometimes I hold back from saying certain things because family or friends might see.
It takes a lot of confidence and belief in oneself and one’s mission in life to be an open erotica author and sex blogger. I’ve held myself back from doing A LOT of stuff for fear of family members or friends judging me. And I’ve finally decided “fuck it.” I’m just going to go right for it. I’m going to be 100% my authentic self and I will no longer be holding back. I hope you are all ready to witness a BRAND NEW me because I’m definitely ready for it.
I want more people to feel the fire I feel deep inside of myself. I want more people to feel comfortable in their own sexual identities, even if that is just writing “vanilla” erotica. Everyone deserves to be un-apologetically themselves and I hope more people embrace this idea. Even if you choose to use a pen name. Do it with 100% passion. Don’t hold yourself back from doing what you love.
Through trial and error I’ve learned that by not being 100% myself and by holding myself back I’ve hindered my own success. I’ve hindered deeper connections with my audience. My fans, my friends. I’m ready to change this and embrace my unique sex brand 100% unapologetically.