It’s been something of an “interesting” year (for interesting, read totally crap), both personally and professionally speaking. The aim of this post is not to have some kind of moan-fest but to reflect on some of what happened and how I move forward as an erotica author and a human being into 2019.

Let’s start with the personal. This was the year where events, which began several years ago as the passionate waves that I rode with all the obsession of someone who is an “all or nothing” kind of girl and with a love so intense that it could scorch the sun, crashed like a tidal wave and left me drowning and (literally) fighting for my own life, even though barely no one knew it. I won’t go into specifics here, but my divorce (which began last Christmas and almost stretched to this one) has been the dominant factor which has driven much of my personal life this year. Thankfully, with the settling of that has come my new life in a lovely little apartment where I am very content to be, at least for now.

It’s been a crappy year for every part of my close family, too, which has impacted on me in a huge way. We’ve been through death, near death, separations and amputations. I have felt, to a large extent, useless to my closest relatives, partly because none live close by and partly because the state of my mental health has been… well, I can only compare it to crumbly cheese: just breathe and watch it fall to pieces every single time.

I’ve never been afraid or embarrassed to discuss my mental health, although I am such an intensely private person ordinarily that, if you are one of the minute number I have discussed it with, know that I trust you implicitly and I love you very much. Even then, I have spent many, many more days and weeks than I would have liked, living in some kind of shadow world, watching as others function and I do not. And (probably stupidly but, to me, out of self-preservation) I have hidden the worst of my state from everyone, bar none. But I have had a lot of practise, over many years. However, this is the first year that I have actively sought out medical help. To those very few who refused to allow me to sabotage our relationships when I have been at my lowest, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

So, what’s all this got to do with me as an erotica author? Pretty much everything. My personal and professional lives are meshed together because, for me, writing is not just a way of earning a living, not just my career choice, but an innate part of my being. It always has been. Words are what I love most; they have been suffocated this year. I hate to think that I could allow the personal to swamp the professional to the point of paralysis, but that’s happened again and again this year.

On three different occasions I have decided to give up writing erotica altogether and on all three occasions have had my finger hovering over the ‘delete blog’ button. On one of these occasions, I concluded that that best thing I could do was to cease writing, not just erotica, but my other non-erotic work, too. I decided that all of it was pointless, my life as a writer was pointless, and it would not sustain me in my new life in my little apartment – unless the landlord would take stories in lieu of rent and I could find nutritional value in eating the laminate flooring. I’ve had to be talked out of giving up, literally as I was about to pull the plug. For the coincidental timing of those talks, I am forever grateful.

I ended last year by resolving to write a million words. If I’m absolutely honest, I haven’t the foggiest how many I’ve written, but I’m convinced it hasn’t come close to that! I had high hopes to publish a string of works. I didn’t. Those close to me often remind me that I am overwhelming myself because I have too many ideas and unrealistic expectations of myself. This is true, and it’s one reason I often find myself feeling like a failure. I currently have way too many projects which are all started but remain unfinished. This is no way to run a business. Without finishing and publishing, each project becomes a failure. I’ve heard the phrase ‘fail better’ but I really don’t think it means that I’m supposed to keep adding to an ever-increasing store of unfinished manuscripts, and ‘failing better’ just because the writing is of a superior quality to the last! It doesn’t matter how you spin it, it’s still incomplete.

I was absolutely delighted (not to mention astounded) to find that I made the top 100 sex bloggers again this year, but I didn’t (in fact, couldn’t bring myself to) write about it. My grateful thanks to whoever voted for me, particularly in light of my reduced participation in blogging memes and the distinct lack of sexy stories throughout the last twelve months, compared to previous years. At least now you have a little insight into why. I vow to do better!

So… Do I have anything which I can carry into 2019? Passion. I have passion. Anyone who knows me extremely well could tell you how strong a force that is inside me. On more than one occasion, I’ve let my passion be a self-destructive force. But this has usually been when my vision of the future hasn’t aligned with that of someone else’s. This time, my vision doesn’t need to align with anyone else’s. I own it outright. So, as far as my professional life goes, I have plans to execute, which includes publications, but working with a very different mindset to the one which has threatened to destroy me all year. And, after convincing those close to me that I won’t go to Eroticon 2019, that I don’t deserve to be at Eroticon, and I’ve no right to be at Eroticon, I’m bloody well going to Eroticon in March! So there!

As for my personal life, it remains scary and in flux, but with hope for better times. And, as always, intensely private. Except when it isn’t. And when it isn’t, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂

Thank you for reading my work. Thank you for allowing me, in some small part, into your life. If you are going to Eroticon, please come and say hello (you can’t miss me if you get on your hands and knees and crawl about a bit. I’m not very tall!). And may 2019 treat you well.

With love,

Ina x

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8 Replies to “2018: Year in Review (or, Out with the Crap)”

  1. Writing erotica can be thankless when one witnesses the sneery attitude some people have towards it – not asking them to be readers, just hoping for open mindedness. Glad your passion is alive, and hope 2019 brings all you want from it.

    1. Oh, I completely agree. You can write about mass murder, torture and child abduction and rape and your stories aren’t derided, hidden in back rooms and buried in online dungeons. But write about two people having consensual sex… (For the record, though, I have no issue with any of these topics, either, as I write a LOT of dark fiction. I believe it’s called freedom of speech!). Thank you for your kind words. Wishing you a lovely 2019, too!

  2. Ina, all I can suggest is “keep on keeping on”.

    I suffer from depressions, and recognise some of the feelings you described. Well done for seeking help, that’s a great first step.

    I do hope you can find a way to focus this year and start to deal with your pile of WIP ideas in a constructive way, but be willing to try something new if the opportunity arises.

    I tried my hand at a cosy romance short story this year, and it was accepted in a charity anthology! In essence, I wrote one of my typical romances but left out the descriptive scenes of the characters getting saucy.

    I do hope to get to Eroticon before too much longer, and will let you know so we can arrange to meet and chat.

    1. Thank you very much, Ian! I have watched from a distance as you deal with your own demons, so your kind words and empathy mean a lot to me.

      I’m determined to find a conscious level of focus this year. I have plans for other (non-erotic) work, which I’ve not yet mentioned here but I’m sure will pop up in your FB feed before too long. I’m returning to the roots of my writing: the literary, the crime and the unnerving, uncomfortable stuff I used to do very well with several years ago. I’ve always enjoyed writing about internal darkness and I miss the therapeutic effect it has on me. So, two pen names. Yay! (😳)

      Please definitely do let me know if you decide to go to Eroticon. I’d love to meet up and have that chat!

  3. Late to the party, but wanted to let you know how much your blog resonated with me. This year has been filled with ill health and deaths for me, as well. I wish I were a Poe or a Byron and could turn my depression into art, but I can’t. When I’m depressed, my brain just doesn’t function. I don’t have the mental energy to create, and that, in turn, just makes things worse, because my writing is just about all I feel good about these days. I also have a shit-ton of stories that I’ve begun and never finished. Just last week, I thought up plot lines, created characters and pored over baby name sites to get just the right names, made up connections between the characters, until I had a ten-book series planned out. Then, I realized that if I’d used half that energy on one of my unfinished works, I would have finished it. Ah, what can you do, when the Muse flies the coop, though? Crack another egg….

    1. I am so, so sorry that you’ve been through the mill over the last year. Believe me, it can be both a blessing and a curse doing the whole ‘Byronic’ thing. I can, and have, written some of my best dark (non-erotic) fiction during times of severe depression, heartache and ‘what if’s. Sometimes it releases the tension; sometimes it compounds it so that the black hole becomes a gigantic chasm.
      I totally appreciate what you’re saying regarding the mountain of stories! My biggest resolution for this year is to keep completing work, one piece at a time. If you would like to email me to keep yourself on track, please do. If I can cheer you on to finishing your projects, I’ll gladly help!

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