Last night, a writer friend of mine was complaining about her WIP and some editing struggles she’d been having. During the conversation, she asked me if that was normal. I laughed and assured her yes, it’s perfectly normal to worry about whether you’re doing it right and to be afraid of all the usual writing sins: repetition, missing or skipped words, timeline faux pas (yes, it’s the same in both singular and plural form; I had to look that up to verify) and so on.
I have never in my life not been worried about a story I wrote for public consumption. Case in point: last night I finished a BDSM erotica story of around 3,400 words. As I write this, “My Name is Whore” is sitting in the pending queue on Literotica’s website. (Update: It’s live! Click here to read it.)
There’s no money involved on the front end. “My Name is Whore” isn’t going to ruin my reputation or harm my future chances of getting an agent or a publisher if it gets rejected. There’s nothing riding on this story except my own desire to give readers something good, hot and sexy to read. My only hope for “My Name is Whore” is that it might add a little more happiness, joy and love to the world, which is something we could all use anytime, but rarely more than we do right now in 2020.
But there’s still plenty of doubt and fear.
What if what’s hot to me falls flat with my readers?
What if it’s too “literary” and the heat gets buried under the words?
What if the run-on sentences I used to convey a certain mental and physical response turn off some readers?
What if I just plain suck dishwater?
These thoughts aren’t unusual. Every writer I’ve ever known has had them. The only difference between a professional writer and a hobbyist is the determination to put the story out there and let readers decide what it is. Because for better or worse, when it leaves your hand, computer or house, the story now belongs to the readers.