Guest Blogger: Jilly Boyd
I would like to start by both thanking and apologizing to Lucy for ever letting me take over her blog!
Right. My name is Jillian, of the house of Boyd. Which I like to imagine is a massive palace, towering ominously over London, but is actually a small and lovely flat in the heart of Essex.
I write erotic fiction, poetry of all shapes and sizes and a blog, called Lady Laid Bare. I’ve been writing for over a year and a half now, which is basically peanuts compared to geniuses like Ian Rankin and Neil Gaiman. Then again, neither Misters Rankin nor Gaiman write erotic fiction.
Erotica is a genre that I’m still getting used to. When I started writing it, I had literally no clue what I was on about. I was a sprightly young virginal thing and all my knowledge of sex scenes came from osmosis. I remember sitting on my bed, writing what I thought was going to be my bestseller debut, with a copy of an erotica anthology in my hands, just copying bits and pieces. I thought it came out really well, and I was dead chuffed about the result.
Yeah, it was a bit crappers, like you might have suspected.
Looking back, my attitudes have changed massively. I had the desire to write, but no idea of anything relating to the craft. I had the urge to write, but not the urge to actually bother with picking up a pen and getting on with it.
When I first coined on to erotica, I felt a bit scared. Erotica was a genre that I associated with Mills and Boon and words like “throbbing member”. I didn’t want to write all of that! I wanted to write things I would like, things that would get me going.
But then I started reading. I got in the know. And I started meeting people, wonderful writers who were so skilled that their passion turned me on. I wanted to get to stepping and write something good!
It took me months to get into the habit of writing and writing a lot, and to be honest, I’m still learning. But you really will not achieve anything if you do nothing.
That would be my first tip to all of you budding writers. Pick up a pen and get on with it. Taking about being a writer and daydreaming about holding your Man Booker prize is all good and well, but it’s never going to come to you if you just keep doing sod all. Write, I say! Even if it’s absolute bullcrap, write your little socks off. The only way to do it is to do it!
My second tip are these wise words from my friend Andrew Shaffer : “18 months is peanuts.”
He said it to me after I lamented about being at the graft for over 18 months with little result. After thinking about it, it kicked me in to touch massively. 18 months does not a writer make. Especially if you are like me and you’ve basically spent 18 months pillocking about thinking “This is excellent” and then giving up entirely.
Live, eat, drink, breathe, write. It should be your motto! You will get results if you have patience.
My third tip would be to do research. Read the books you want to read, read the articles you want to read. Freewrite. Experiment. Make good art, as Neil Gaiman once said. Only when you feel like you’re walking down Oxford Street completely bare-naked, vulnerable to the world, will you know you’re doing it right.
Fourthly, get over your shame of writing sex! If you’re anything like me and you struggle with even thinking about the word “penis”, let alone writing it, this helps. Read a lot of erotica. Talk sex, walk sex. Only when you actually stop giggling when you’re describing something like oral are you able to write erotica.
And fifthly, for gods sakes, enjoy. Enjoy the process, enjoy the art you make, enjoy the maddening mindfuck that is being a writer. Because it is lovely, it is amazing and it will set you free.
It is now mid September. I’ve been writing for nineteen long, lovely and utterly bonkers months. And I want to write more. I want to write until my hands bleed and my fingers just give out from the effort. Because writing is what keeps me going.
Let writing be a good thing in your life.
Make good art.