Writing for a Living: Or, an Exercise in Open-Mindedness

Are you a professional writer? If you’re not a professional currently, then maybe you dream of becoming one? Well, I know the feeling. I’ve wanted to create stories for people’s enjoyment ever since I was a little girl. I made stop-motion movies with my sisters. We also wrote and drew comics. When we weren’t busy with creating our own materials, we wrote reviews on anime and games on our own website. Even as an adult I’ve been experimenting with creating my own projects. Most recently I’ve been putting together a machinima series (http://www.youtube.com/user/xephirproductions if you’re interested) and writing a novel for nanowrimo (more excerpts to come soon!). But I’ve also put a lot of effort into offering commissions, and I’ve received a number of bids already – which honestly surprised me. But more on that in a moment.

I have always been creative, and my creations have taken many different forms over the years. But one common thread that weaves all of my interests together is writing. When I did my reviews, my sister and I spent hours taking notes and writing our thoughts down for other people to read. We wrote our own stories and scripts for our comics and short movies. Even with my creative endeavors now, I find myself enjoying the planning and scripting process, where I can bring all sorts of characters to life through my words. So because I’ve enjoyed this so much, I decided I would offer my skills to people who needed a bit of help. I am creative and I can follow directions easily, so I thought I would offer to write what other people wanted, if they gave me the idea, characters, and a direction they wanted to take the story.

Oh, naïve Helly! You forget that this is the internet; that people feed on the power they get from anonymity and all the bounds they can push with it. You also forgot that a lot of people like to find porn on the internet. And a lot of people want to read well-written porn, not just watch it. And most of all, when anonymity and boundary-pushing meets the art of writing pornography, well, apparently there’s no limit to the things people want to request from a writer.

My first job was for smut. And I mean extremely graphic, violent, snuff. But I have maintained a professional relationship with the client for over a year now, and he is always kind and pays me on time. I am now working on another commission with graphic scenes, perhaps a little heavier than 50 Shades of Grey (and I like to think the quality of the product is better, too!). I have absolutely no problems writing this sort of material for people in a professional environment; that is, when we treat each other with mutual respect and I am paid fairly for my work. I am just surprised that so many people are hungry for well-written erotica, which sounds so obvious to me even as I write it. But it’s true!

I don’t know how comfortable many aspiring writers are with producing this sort of material, but I am writing this blog entry to say that for me, it’s actually become a comfortable and well-paying genre to pursue. I usually ghostwrite, so my name won’t be on published materials (which is actually good if I want to go through my portfolio with someone in the future) and I use a pseudonym for other materials that I publicly produce. Even though I have said here that I’ve written erotica, I want to make it clear that I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I trying to hide it. I’d just prefer to keep those materials separate from my non-erotic titles.  All in all, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a highly-desired genre, especially for private clients.  As long as I am paid fairly and treated professionally, it is no different than if I were writing a science-fiction or action story.

Have any of you ever written erotica for a client? Is it something you would consider? What sorts of subjects would you write about to make a living?

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