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Reflection on 4K Reads, AKA "How Writing is a Bit Like Sex"

Wow! How the eff did that happen?

By L.C. SchäferPublished 15 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - September 2023
Reflection on 4K Reads, AKA "How Writing is a Bit Like Sex"
Photo by Howie R on Unsplash

I recently wrote about hitting 3000 reads. It felt like kind of a big deal.

And then, in one month, I got another 1000!

This got me thinking. The first thing I am thinking is,

Keanu Reeves in some weird Netflix thing he did

There's a solid bunch of people coming back here and reading my maniacal scribbles, and I could not be more grateful. I hope you know I do my best to appreciate you, respond and reciprocate.

I think I'm seeing a bit of an uptick, partly because I am managing to post more at the moment. I am making hay while the sun shines. I am sure that is making a positive difference.

I'd like to hear about your experience - are you finding the same?

I'm sure at least some of this is down to changes that Vocal have made behind the scenes. These changes seem to be having a positive impact - at least for me.

This seems like a good moment for some self reflection, so here we go. These are some things I've learned about writing.

1. You have a book inside you. Write it. Now.

Put it out in the world. Start now. Do it so that the person you most want to see this accomplishment does actually get to see it. A fool takes time for granted. (Me. I'm the fool.)

2. Be willing to suck.

You cannot get better if you don't suck first. So suck. Perfectionism is your enemy.

3. Drop what you're doing and jot that idea down somewhere safe.

Quick! Before it escapes!

A line that always stayed with me from The Mists of Avalon is,

The Goddess does not shower her gifts on those who reject them.

Here is another way to look at it: Noticing when inspiration strikes seems to leave you receptive to the same happening again. Writing down the idea, honouring and nurturing it - this not only preserves this idea but it makes ten more likely that ten more ideas will follow before too long.

It doesn't matter what genre, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. It might be a concept, a prompt, a character. Just write it down. Do something with it, or let it percolate and come back to it later. Do nothing at all? Most of them will slip away and the fountain will start to dry up.

All of which leads me to...

4. Writing can be a bit like sex. Sometimes the mood just takes you, and you can capitalise on that, or you can let it go cold and then have to laboriously warm it up again later. Fun, playful, spontaneous and hurriedly over the kitchen counter is worth five dutiful and dull I'd-rather-be-doing-literally-anything-else. So maybe don't just scribble down that little seed of an idea - treat writing with some urgency. Grab something to write with and something to write on and see where this mad adventure takes you right now.

Seize it - the moment, the pen, the idea, the- - and get naked.

5. Adjectives are like salt.

I've said this before. You definitely need some, but don't overdo it.

6. Absolutely godawful stuff gets published.

I grew up thinking that such a thing was beyond almost all of us, that only the very best could make it. Not so. Some of it comes down to craft, and some down to luck. Zeitgeist. Who you know. There's some wonderful works out there, and also some stuff which I wouldn't show to a beta reader. This is both wonderful and heinous at the same time. My writing is objectively better than some of the stuff out there. Yours is as well.

7. Non-fiction works don't get fact checked.

Or if they do, it's certainly not stringent. Mad isn't it? You can read things in print that are just outright false. I think a lot of us have this idea, on some level, that "they" wouldn't let that happen. The printed word is sacrosanct. It must be true.

Ah, my sweet summer child.


Thank you for reading! Please comment so I can reciprocate. Don't be a stranger 😁


About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Flexing the writing muscle.

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for "nudes".

I'm also Twitter if you'd like to connect elsewhere.

I value feedback, and reciprocate reads and comments.

Also writing under the name S.E. Holz

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Comments (54)

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  • Naveed8 days ago


  • Great tidbits of advice about honouring the muse when it appears and accepting imperfection as a road to improvement. nice work.

  • Novel Allen12 days ago

    I maintain that a bit of crazy takes the writer to the best of places. I do all of the stuff you mentioned, and lose some while at it. But, you give sage advice. Keep on being you, congrats on TS.

  • The Dani Writer12 days ago

    Aww, man! My sneak peek in between the house move to get my 'read on.' Oh YEAH! You got that kinda voice you could hear with earplugs. Thanks for the few minutes of "juice" to my day! Such an encouraging and uplifting piece of writing. I'll be trying to fit more in during those minutes. You are leaderboard-engaging, so a well-earned top story accolade!

  • Tiffany Gordon 12 days ago

    This was a fabulous read! Thx 4 the great advice & congrats on your TOP STORY! 😊

  • River Joy12 days ago

    Love this. congrats on the 4,000 reads!

  • Babs Iverson13 days ago

    Wonderful Wonderful!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Am trying to write and my words are not counting why?

  • How do i make my work viral

  • https://vocal.media/serve/fisher-man-that-has-a-favor-

  • Kendall Defoe 13 days ago

    Well done with the TS!

  • Paul Stewart13 days ago

    Well, first off, congrats on 4,000 reads - that's an awesome achievement and glad you are taking time to doff your hat and enjoy it! Also, well done on Top Story for a great piece with lots of great advice. I dunno what to say - I always seem to be cooking up something lol. So to answer your question, it's neither better or worse at the moment for me lol. Well done, again!

  • Vocal's top stories are about vocal writers talking about writing on vocal. I think they need to change the algo to focus on stories for outside readers tbh, but its a nice essay you've written. #7 is interesting. I'm working on a non-fiction piece, and having to invent probable dialogue in parts to make things flow.. and now wondering how they do things like this in real journalism.

  • Gideon itua13 days ago

    hello guys, pls check out my own stories and rate my work

  • Suze Kay13 days ago

    Solid advice, all of it. Off to seize the night!

  • JBaz13 days ago

    You made this advice read like fun. Good points and it all makes sense Congratulations

  • Brin J.13 days ago

    I laughed so much reading this. Advice with a load of humor. Loved it. There’s something appealing about treating writing like sex. 🔥

  • Carol Townend13 days ago

    Brilliant! Well done on your progress.

  • Amanda Starks14 days ago

    This is very relatable and honestly a really great metaphor. I have so much trouble finding a steady influx of motivation or inspiration for writing. When it comes, it's like a torrent, and I can go for hours. The dry spells, however, can last for weeks to months, which just doesn't work out when you are trying to consistently publish or post. :/ Sure, I got other factors that some others don't, like mental illness and chronic pain, but it's hard not to beat myself up for not being more consistent!

  • Addison M14 days ago

    Congrats! That's awesome and inspiring. Keep it up.

  • Sara 14 days ago

    Such an amazing milestone! Continue spreading joy and inspiration through your wonderful words. I look forward to reading more :)

  • Martyna Dearing14 days ago

    Congrats! Lately I’ve been getting a lot of reads, not sure why and I’m about to hit 3k! Hopefully the 4k will follow as quickly as it happened for you!

  • Dana Crandell14 days ago

    Congratulations on the milestone. I am getting very close to the 5,000 mark but it's going painfully slowly, right now because I've been too busy to get new material out lately. Or what I've created lately sucks, or something. One of these days.

  • Congrats on 4K, that is super exciting. I'm very much looking forward to my musing at that point but I love all the points you've made. 😳🌟

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