tagReviews & EssaysThe Cons & Prose of Writing for Lit

The Cons & Prose of Writing for Lit

byl8bloom©

How the hell did I get here? I've had this conversation with a fellow Lit author and we reached the same conclusion: everybody first finds this site for a reason. Duh, of course. It's like the old adage about playing cards: If you don't have a good partner, you better have a good hand.

You find yourself looking for the stories tagged with a red H, maybe you find an author whose stuff you like, and pretty soon you think, Hey, I can do this. So you dig a little deeper, find out how to submit a story, and off you go.

Then the anxiety sets in. Will your story do well? Will it get at least 10 votes? You can't get that H without 'em. And herein lies one of the cons of writing for Lit. The story that took you hours or days or weeks to write may get thousands of views, but for the most part, less than 1 percent of readers bother to cast a vote.

Why is that?? It's anonymous, it isn't time-consuming. Many a good story has a perfect score of 5.00 ... with only 9 votes. I've had this happen at least three times. So it languishes, an ugly duckling thinking Someday my prince will cum ... or something like that.

Comments can be frustrating if a nasty poster hides behind the veil of anonymity, when the author in fact is looking for constructive discussion. These stink-bombs are relatively easy to deal with, however. If someone has no valid point to make, I have no problem with pulling onions.

However, the comments that make me blink are the really, really nice ones ... that the commenter, for some reason, won't say in public. Yes!!! [she screamed passionately] I love getting nice feedback in the mail. I am not complaining about that! I just wistfully wish that some of those lovelies would be posted in the feedback section. Here's one I got today: "You write extremely well." Here's another: "Great story! ... You are a talented writer." I am not making this up.

* * *

With all this beefing you might wonder why I bother to write at all... especially in the sometimes rough & tumble world of Lit.

There are at least two or three good reasons.

One is the sheer joy of writing. Harkening back to the fellow-author conversation mentioned earlier, I can tell you that the second reason people stick around is the pursuit of becoming a better writer. The craft itself is alluring as a lover. It offers a creative outlet combined with self-expression — which are not the same thing. Self-expression can be "I'm cold" or "Pass the salt." Creativity is the pulling together of disparate elements into something unique, and hopefully, brimming with aesthetic appeal.

This is another draw of writing: the challenge of writing something worthwhile. The challenge becomes more complex, more taut, when you realize that the votes of the masses don't always provide a good barometer. The public is notorious for popularizing tripe. Go ahead and love those H's, but take heart if your favorite work lies silent as a sleeping spouse. That doesn't mean it isn't any good. That may mean only that not enough people have bothered to take a look.

Writing is good for you. It's been physiologically proven that the more you exercise those little grey cells, the less likely you are to develop Alzheimer's.

Writing is entertaining—much more so than being spoon-fed the mind-numbing offal that constitutes 99% of television. I challenge you to the following test: Spend two hours tonight sitting in front of the tube. Afterwards, how do you feel? Be honest! Tomorrow night, spend two hours writing. Write about sex, or what you are most grateful for, or how you think the world will end. Write about all the things you'd like to do before you die, or describe a dream you had, or plot out what you think would happen if the Cubs won the World Series. Now how do you feel?

Writing promotes community. If you are thinking about writing for Lit, I recommend entering one of the seasonal contests (do NOT begin by entering Survivor—it's murder!). Post your writing woes and triumphs in the contest support thread. More likely than not, you'll find yourself making friends. And, if you and another party are so inclined, it's possible you'll also "make" a friend ... in the biblical sense. Ahem.

One of the sweetest rewards of writing, though, is the sense of accomplishment when everything finally does fall into place. You've honed your skills through frequent practice; you've learned a thing or two from fellow authors. The H flies up and the positive feedback rolls in. Congratulations! Now you're ready for Survivor, which is basically the Boston Marathon of Literotica. Or try NaNo WriMo, in which your mission is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You nut, you (I'll see you there).

Before you get too excited [pant, pant], there is one other thing to keep in mind. You may freely boast about your accomplishments as an athlete or gardener or sales manager or whatever else you may do, but it's not always advisable to shout to your community, family or workplace: "I WRITE GREAT SMUT!!"

They might not understand.

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by Anonymous

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by 49greg07/08/13

Great Essay.

I love it, you put onto paper a lot of why I'm here. And a few of the comments here about voting are spot on. Especially the one about '5 or nothing'. Today I submitted an essay on voting and comments.more...

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