17 Ways Writing Is Exactly Like Sex*

Betsy never knew you could dangle a participle like that.

1. Fun by yourself, fun with a partner. The right partner, obviously. Or partners. No one likes those selfish collaborators who never reciprocate critiques.

2. There are a million and one products that claim to help you do it better. Who doesn’t know the shame of the midnight clicking through pages and pages of glossy ads? New software? Workshop? Ooh, yes. And all I have to do is give you my credit card number? Sold.

3. Most of those products are bullshit. Put the Special Snowflake Writing Method with Extra Specialness in the bathroom cabinet with the Spanish Fly and never look at either of them again. They’ll only come up when someone else is going through your stuff and says, “Um…what exactly is this?” Have an excuse ready.

4. It’s awkward to talk about in public. Except for that one guy. You know the one. Way too many details, dude. Now I have to spend the rest of the night with images of your bacon-themed space opera popping into my head.

5. It’s all building toward a climax. Ooh, yes, right there. Give me that foreshadowing, baby. Ratchet up the tension, you know I like it like that.

6. But you should still have fun along the way. No prizes for speed in this race, hoss.

7. You can spend ages thinking about it. In bed at night, on the bus, waiting in lines…it’s never far from your mind. You imagine every detail, placing things just so. God, is it hot in here?

8. But it’s never quite the same in real life. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse. But whatever it is, it’s always more real, with stuff that you never thought about.

9. You should try to finish what you start. No one wants to be left hanging. It’s frustrating as hell.

10. Rejection hurts. Does it ever.

11. But you can always try again. Put on your lipstick and get out there, sweetheart. Just because the last one didn’t work out is no reason to quit.

12. There is no one right way to do it. Everyone likes it a little differently, and that’s okay.

13. But people will try to tell you there is, and get pissed off when you disagree. You like multi-genre crossover fiction that combines traditional science fiction tropes with western elements? What are you, some kind of fucking deviant? And you’re into subtle character pieces with nuanced family dynamics? God, you’re so close-minded.

14. There are people out there into the same stuff that you are. And most of them are on the internet. Be careful of their Tumblr pages, though. Some things can’t be unseen.

15. There tends to be a lot of awkward fumbling around, especially at the beginning. Hang on, let me just put this scene—wait, what if it went like this? No? All right, how about here, I think I can bend this—oh, god, sorry! Do you want an ice pack?

16. But you get better with experience. And some day those initial attempts will make great stories to tell. With maybe a couple of cautionary tales thrown in.

17. That cozy glow when you’re finished—and you know what you did was good—is fucking great. Hoo. That was really something. Now someone give me a cigarette.

*Today’s post brought to you by Questionable Thoughts I Have After Donating Blood.

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