Category Archives: Writing

Fear

I’ve been thinking about writing this postDepositphotos_72511619_l for a long time. For so long actually that I haven’t written any other posts in the meantime. As mentioned earlier in other posts, I worry about what to reveal as Liz Black. I don’t want to divulge too much personal information. I don’t want people in my day job to find out and should I ever get fans I don’t want them to be able to find my home address. What is all this based upon? Fear.

I am afraid of many things. I am afraid to lose the few people I have left. I am afraid of leaving my job. I am afraid of the dentist. I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid this whole writing thing is a scam, and I will never be able to sustain myself with it. I am afraid of developing some serious disease. I am afraid of losing my mind. I am afraid of never reaching my full potential. I am afraid I’ll never write a decent story in my life ever again. The only thing I’m not afraid of is death.

Why am I telling this now? When I published my first story about six months ago, I decided not to be the person to complain all the time. I used to have people like that on Facebook, and I blocked them because of it. The problem is that I became silent. I turn silent when I have nothing useful to say. I don’t think that’s a bad trait, but it wasn’t helping me building a presence online.

My fear is also blocking my writing. My sales have been abysmal over the last two months. Now with every story that I come up with, every word that I write I wonder whether it will sell. I’m not writing for me anymore. I don’t write anymore. I have not been able to lose myself in a scene in a long time. And that’s when I do my best writing. I keep staring at the blank screen, and every writer knows how scary that is. I hate every sentence that I type. Of course I’ve been trying to write stories just for me, but even that mind trick doesn’t work anymore.

I’ve been seeing a homeopath, and I’ve been given drops to help me with my depression and my anxieties. I feel a bit better now. I have a little more courage. I think it’s a struggle for the rest of my life. Lately I’ve also started to review indie stories. I enjoy that greatly. It’s fun to read good stories, and to help others by leaving a review.

The moral of this story? My silence has its causes. It’s not because I’m not interested. It’s not because I’m not putting an effort into my writing. The demons from my past have been blocking me for a long time now. I hope one day to slay them and to be able to say I am happy. Though I doubt that day will ever come.

The Magic of Writing

Sometimes I forget what a privilegeDepositphotos_68598973_original I have by being able to write stories.

First a disclaimer: this is not an arrogant piece about how great a writer I am. I’m actually very insecure as a writer and can still hardly believe others want to read my stories. This is not a call for compliments either. This is merely about my craft.

I am a lucky person for being able to conjure up and write down stories. To me, writing comes as easy as say: cooking a meal when you have the right ingredients. I can sit down and write a story without much difficulty. I say I forget this, because to me it comes pretty natural. I have a way with words, a good feel for languages and a large fantasy to come up with the strangest situations. When looking at my husband for example, I realize this is not always the case. He has a large fantasy and can come up with the most amazing stories. But he cannot write them down. He wouldn’t know what words to use, how to structure a story and he doesn’t feel the need. This is not a fault of his. It is not wrong. It just made me realize that I, as a writer, am different and harness some certain skills.

For as long as I can remember I have written stories. Always short stories, with the exception of one longer fan fiction story. They haven’t always been sexual stories, but recently most have. My ‘gift for writing’ is not exclusive to writing stories. I can write reviews, I have written academical essays and I can even write poetry if I put my mind to it. I only need inspiration and time.

No, writing is not always easy to me. I wish it were. Most of the time nothing comes out. I can have a great idea or no inspiration at all. Sometimes all the sentences I write are plain crap. Sometimes checking Pinterest for the one thousandth time is way more interesting than trying to cram out words. Even reading Twitter and seeing the same cat pictures over and over again can be a hundred times more alluring than conjuring up my own world and having characters do what I want them to do.

But do you know what my best scenes and stories are? When an image grips me and I feel compelled to write it down. Sometimes it deals with a story I am currently writing, sometimes it doesn’t. It can be a random image, like when I saw a stool in my house and I saw my main character sitting on that stool with her legs spread and my male character touching her in that position. Usually a vision like that will not go away until I have written it down and it often comes out as a ‘good scene’, one that gets approved by me.

So am I happy that I have this gift? Usually? No, I’m not. I’d much rather be able to watch television without feeling guilty. I wish I could go out to clubs and dance and drink and fulfil my life that way. But I can’t. I need to force myself to go to my writing room with a healthy cup of herbal tea and focus on my story. And of course, once it’s going it feels great. I get this gut feeling that I am doing important things, that the real ‘me’ gets to have her say. And yes, sometimes when I reread something I have written a couple of weeks earlier I can even be a bit proud of what I have written. Sometimes the stories are actually good. But it’s a never-ending quest. I will never write my last word until the day I die. Writers do not retire. Writers are meant to do their magic and share it with the world. And that’s what I’m doing now.

Writer as ‘career decision’

Last week somewhere this quote appeared on my Pinterest page. I read lots of inspirational stuff there and I usually don’t think much of it, but this one hit me.

I didn’t choose to become a writer. I am a writer.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my career counsellor and he said: “It’s a lonely occupation you have chosen.” At that moment I thought to myself: It’s not an occupation I have chosen. It’s the only thing I can see myself doing for the next sixty years. I am indeed not fit for anything else.

I work in retail now. I am very unhappy there. I overthink things. I overanalyse everything, which is why I don’t finish tasks on time. I want to do things properly which takes too much time. The biggest problem is that I think for myself instead of blindly following what I am told to do. I am too smart for my own good. I have trouble connecting with my colleagues. Today’s date is February 15 2015. So I said to my colleague: “It’s a cool date today: 02 15 2015.” He answered: “Oh, is it someone’s birthday?” “No, but the numbers of this date match so nicely.” He gave me the nod of someone who’s thinking: Right, I’ll just nod politely and walk away slowly. That girl’s crazy.

The past year, two years, I’ve looked at many occupations. I’ve looked at job vacancy sites and imagined myself in many work spaces. I can’t do it. I don’t want a dull office job where I get to make copies and get coffee for the manager. I’m not fit to work with my hands. I’m not a good leader, despite the fact that people tend to turn to me because I have a solution for most issues.

I am a writer. It’s the only occupation that I’ve had for all my life and have always gone back to. I’ve taken breaks, sometimes for many years, but I have always come back to writing. And even now I didn’t decide to be a writer, to pursue this as a professional career. I’ve posted some stories online and people seemed to like them. I thought that with my first story on Amazon I might be able to buy one cup of coffee a month. That has turned out to be about ten cups of coffee. That’s by far not enough to quit my day job, but more than I expected.

Will it be a ‘long, hard road for the rest of my life’? Definitely. I am certain of it. But nothing has ever come easy to me. I foresee depression, despair and frustration in the not so distant future in pursuing this path. I just hope that one day people will let me know that they do indeed appreciate my stories. That my stories helped them or maybe only helped them to forget the world for fifteen minutes. And the time I spend writing stories, how difficult it may be, feels a thousand times better than any second spend in my day job. Deep within me it just feels right. The true me is being heard and being allowed to speak. And that’s all that matters.

Openness or Self-Censorship?

What to disclose? This is something Depositphotos_13185706_kleinI struggle with a lot. I have a regular day job. I do not want my employer or my colleagues to find out what I write. I do not want future employers to find out I write smut. And yet I do write smut. Porn even.

I read everywhere that it’s good for a writer to be honest. That it’s advisable to show where you got your inspiration from. And I don’t mind sharing that with the world. But very often my inspiration comes from music groups or actors and I don’t want to associate their names with my porn.

Last week’s blog was specifically about that, about how I attended a concert and how the lead singer inspired me. I self-censored it and I am glad I did. The consequence is that I didn’t post a blog post last week and I didn’t post anything about attending this concert on my personal Facebook. I don’t want to the two accounts to be too similar.

So again I was silent, as I am so often. I not only self-censor myself online, but also in real life. At work I play the nice and decent girl and I have to hold back many snide remarks or sexual jokes. I play a version of me that people have come to expect of me. And no, that doesn’t feel good. I slip into that role seamlessly, but it drains my energy.

And then I come home where we have some promo-DVD lying around on the coffee table. The picture on the cover is some porn model with naked breasts. I see that and I think: That’s how I want to spend my time. Not by watching that DVD and not by having time with that girl, but just by involving myself with erotica, indulging in the erotic world. I don’t think I could do it full-time, but that’s why I spend some of my time looking at my sales numbers and by writing posts like these.

So what do I disclose? I am as careful as possible not to hurt either side. I am secretive so that my day job isn’t hurt by it. I hope I am open enough to satisfy my readers. And in the meantime I came up with this great new story during a walk in nature. Still inspired by a musician whose name I won’t mention, but my character is moving away from his musician-roots and is turning out to be quite sadistic after all. So tonight after my drudgery hours at work I hope to spend some time with them, the characters I made up. That’s all I’m gonna say right now.

Full-time Amateur to Full-time Pro

Last weekend I read ‘The Art of War’ by Steven Pressfield (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1319.The_War_of_Art). It was both a kick in the butt and inspiration.warofart_book

I recognised everything he had to say about the ‘Resistance’, which is that part of you that prefers to keep things the old way. The part of you that convinces you to just watch one more episode of … fill in the blank. And the part of you that convinces you that you’re never going to make it as a writer anyway. Why would you? There are thousands of people out there better equipped than you, better adapt at writing, more disciplined, etc etc.

The Resistance is very strong in me. It sounds like Star Wars, but no, it’s not a good thing. For years I’ve listened to it. Every day. I’ve quit writing for longer periods, because ‘the right story hadn’t come to me’. Little did I know that true inspiration is something you need to go looking for, that doesn’t just come to you while watching TV and playing video games if you’re never close to any sheet of paper. So yeah, I was feeling pretty good about myself so far. I’ve been fighting my procrastination habits, been writing at least once a week.

Yeah, once a week. Pressfield distinguishes between amateurs and pros. Guess which one I belong to in his definition? I’m a full-blown amateur. I don’t show up for work every day. I mean, I do with my day job, but not with my writing profession. After a long day’s work, I usually think: I’m too tired to write now. Nothing good will come of it. I have no inspiration (still). That he classified me as an amateur bothered me. A lot.

The past year I’ve been taking my writing more and more seriously. I have now published seven stories and am going to make this my full-time profession. Why am I not making this my number-one priority? I’m slightly afraid it’s still Resistance. Maybe my writing is good enough, but I have zero to none marketing skills. How can I sell books? Where do I get reviews? It’s never going to work anyway.

But here I am now. After a long and tiresome day at work I’m writing this post. I even wrote 300 words to my story. I updated my Twitter. I am working as a Pro. Last weekend I made the decision: from full-time Amateur to full-time Pro.

What balance?

This week has been hard on me. I feel like I keep whining here, and I should write more positive posts. I will. Soon. I hope.

Depositphotos_60867129_originalI keep struggling with the question how to distribute my time between work, writing and marketing my writing. The past couple of days I have had zero inspiration, so writing has been really hard. Work also asked a lot of time from me, so that’s where most of my energy went. The problem is that no matter how hard I work at my day job, they don’t see the difference. Or they see it but just don’t acknowledge it.

With my writing I can tell what I have done and what is the result. Last week my activity was low on Twitter and I can immediately tell the difference with the week before when I was active daily. I did have a cartoon version of me made to use on Twitter and Amazon. I also finished my Special Tutoring series with the release of ‘Anyhow for her Grades’. I’m really proud of that achievement.

On the one hand I feel like I should produce content. On the other hand I need to promote my current books and make sure I put out new stuff. And writing still feels good, even a rambling piece of text like this. I guess it’s something all new Indie-authors struggle with. I hope one day I’ll find a balance. Right now I keep doing what feels best to me. Following my heart seems to be the best strategy there is.

I Found Myself, Now What?

Depositphotos_59030045_klein2015 has begun. I wanted to talk about New Year’s Eve, but there’s actually very little to tell. My husband and I sat on the couch and watched TV and ate too many snacks. And yes, I drank some alcohol, but I was far from drunk. And I haven’t even cried this time that my deceased parents didn’t call me. That is something that I have done the past couple of years, but this time I was just sad, but not sad enough to cry.

I did cry a lot this week, but for different reasons. The past couple of months I’ve been trying to ‘find myself’. I hate the term. It’s so new-agey and something I associate with rich white girls who have too much money and too much time. I don’t have much money and my time is limited because of my job. I work in retail. I hate it. That is why I cried so much.

The past couple of weeks I have discovered that this is what I want to do, this is what really fits me. Writing erotica, publishing it, reading other people’s work, Twitter, everything. I’ve been writing erotica for almost twenty years now, so that’s not new. I’ve never considered doing it for a living though. And now that I am working on that career, it makes my day job a thousand times harder.

How am I supposed to get up at 5:30 in the morning and be expected to function like a normal human being for the next eight to ten hours? How can I smile and be polite to people who assume my brains are the size of a grape? Why do I need to be friendly to people when I need to suspect every one of them to be stealing and cheating, even the sweet old little ladies? Why do I get chided for every little thing that I do wrong, and never complimented for something I do right?

I am writing and publishing and making a little money from writing. That feels spectacular. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I sell a book. Writing stories makes me feel calm. Writing this relieves me. But it’s going to take at least another two years till I make enough to quit my day job. We’re going to move to another house to cutback on our mortgage, but that’s going to take at least another year. Sometimes it feels endless and hopeless.

When I started publishing I vowed I wasn’t going to be a negative whiney presence on the web. I’ve had friends like that on Facebook and in the end I unfriended them, because I couldn’t take the negativity. Let’s just say that I hope one day my life in its current form will end. That I will be able to quit my day job, or at least this one. And until that day I will just have to bear with it and make the best of it, any way that I can.

Sometimes while cleaning at work I’ll smile to myself. Some anonymous person has just bought my vampire horror story and is now jacking off to some weird fantasy I wrote. Then I look at the customers and colleagues around me and think: if only you knew…

Why I chose erotica

Actually, this post should by called: Why erotica chose me. I never actually chose to write erotica.

I have been writing short stories all my life. I started with little ten-line stories about kids visiting a zoo or something equally exciting. When I was a teenager my stories evolved to something that is now called ‘fan-fiction’. Back then we just called them our stories. I exchanged them with my friends who also wrote romantic stories about their favourite pop-hero.

At the same time I started to write sexual stories. I didn’t share these with anyone. They just developed along with my sexual explorations. I chatted with men and discovered that I liked the conversations about BDSM best. So I incorporated these online experiences into my stories. I lost my first notebook with stories, but from what I remember they were pretty aggressive but very arousing. My only access to porn was http://www.bdsmlibrary.com , so I read as much of their stories as I could. Imagine that in a house where the only access to internet is on a computer in the middle of the living room.

Why I wrote

erotica? I didn’t know how to masturbate. Remember, I’m talking about the early 90s here. Porn wasn’t such a public commodity as it is now. And yeah, I read the stories, but they didn’t explain everything. And writing turned me on, it made me feel good. And so like any human being, I continued to do what made me feel good.

In all these years, I’ve always come back to writing and especially writing erotica. I’ve tried to live without it, for several reasons, but it seems like it needs to be in my life. I need it as much as I need food, drink and air. So I figured I might as well share it with the world and maybe someone else will enjoy my writings as well.