I have had the good luck to end up with a writing coach for the month of January, and she’s helping me figure out ways to lower the stakes of writing more often, both for erotica and for my mainstream projects.
Step one is to attempt what I’m calling “writing scribbles” that will be quick, short, relatively unplanned, and can have only one round of edits before sharing with the world.
This is basically what I achieved many times over with Tumblr’s format, and what I’ve been avoiding with my shiny personal website for the last year. As if I went from a commuter train full of conversations with friends and acquaintances I see regularly, to a personal vehicle where I make all the decisions of where to go, and I do it alone, and have to roll down the window or deliberately invite people inside to talk to them. It’s clunky, lonely, and it feels like the stakes are higher (silly ideas about identity, success, connection) if I decide to go in the wrong direction or say the wrong thing.
Fuck the wrong thing. Nothing is wrong–it’s either unethical, painful, uncomfortable, or various shades of awkward. I might regret a thing, but who cares? It’s on my website, and I’m in control of whether or not it continues to see the light of day. I’m going to take the steps to make sure it’s as ethical as I can make it, by offering tags and informed consent and giving credit to other writers and artists. As for pain, that can heal. Discomfort and awkwardness are also hallmarks of change and growth. Nobody ever made progress or created something wonderful by staying 100% comfortable.
Scribbles can be drawing, writing, any kind of creative art. The point is that it has to be quick, simple, and low-stakes.
At this point in my process, I’m not allowed to turn it into a big thing or make extra work for myself with extra ideas. I’m not adding it to my mainstream works. I’m sticking to kinky content only, because it’s the one kind of writing that brings me the most joy and escapism right now. And also because it’s a way to keep my scope small.
Ironically for someone with size dysmorphia, I have no idea how to keep my ideas and goals small.
I know how to “go big or go home” in other parts of my life, but over the years I’ve let it become too overwhelming with writing because I get cloudy with assumptions of what it means to be a writer and what it means to be “enough.” (Fuck you very much, Impostor Syndrome.) Even discussing the scribbles concept with the coach and how to fit 10 minutes into my schedule a week, I quickly morphed the discussion into how I could carve out 30 minutes a day, every day. When she pointed that out and reminded me that I am already enough regardless of how many minutes I can or can’t put into my schedule right now, I burst into tears.
Fuck going big all the time, fuck that overachiever mindset that’s burned me out so many times. Fuck the toxic productivity culture of never believing I’m enough.
I want to learn how to go small. I’m a sizeshifter, damnit. This is a skill I can develop, just like any other. I just need to find a way to show up and do the work without self-sabotaging all my efforts with last-minute deadline scrambles and other misguided attempts at staying comfortably far away from risk and failure.