[Smut Marathon] Focus, Feedback & Achieving a Goal!


Smut Marathon / Saturday, May 4th, 2019

I haven’t written a lot about this year’s Smut Marathon. I had planned to but as with much in life, things change. I had initially wanted to write about each round, sharing my thought on the assignments, my entries and the other submissions too. I’ve also found myself leaving less feedback this time around, though I have always placed my votes.

My enthusiasm for the Smut Marathon is still in full swing. I think it is a brilliant concept, Marie executes it wonderfully and I am 100% behind everyone who chooses to get involved because it isn’t easy. Which leaves me wondering why it is I’ve been less vocal in my thoughts this year and I thought now would be a good time to explore that.

At the time of writing, we are in the voting phase of Round 4, this will, however, be over when my post goes live. Due to the number of writers that submitted assignments, we will all be going through to Round 5. This means that regardless of how my entry for Round 4 performs I have made it halfway through the Smut Marathon. This was the hope I had for myself in the 2018 Smut Marathon, where we all know I got knocked out in Round 2!

2019 has seen me besieged with doubts and worries about my success and direction as a blogger (and perhaps writer), but it would be remiss of me not to count reaching this halfway point as a massive milestone and a huge success. Not only that but my Round 2 entry did me proud. Placing as the second runner up in the round I was previously eliminated in felt hugely gratifying.

Round 3 was a mixed bag in terms of how well my piece did. In all honesty, I had to tear the idea and the words for that round from my brain with absolute determination. It did not flow or blossom in a way my writing normally does, so submitting anything was the achievement rather than how well it placed.

As for how I’ll do in Round 4 we will have to wait and see. As with Round 2, I really love my entry, I wrote it because I enjoyed it and it was a piece that wanted to be written. I’d dearly love for it to do well, but if it doesn’t I have other plans for it either way.

Keeping my head down and focusing on my own efforts and achievements feels like part of my success this time around. Last year I just wrote and submitted. I didn’t consider what direction I’d like the content to take or how best to structure my submissions. I just wrote what came into my head, make sure there were no terrible typos and off it went. This year has been a lot different. I have a very clear thought process on how I want to approach each assignment and what I think I should be doing to get the best out of myself. It is a far more clinical approach than I took last year, but I think in itself that is teaching me a lot.

I think another side effect of the guidelines I’ve set for myself is that they are filtering down into what I expect from other writes in the Smut Marathon and while this is to be expected I suppose, I don’t think it makes my views and feedback on the other entries very helpful. Which is why I’ve neglected to leave feedback, because I honestly don’t think what I have to say is as constructive or as supportive as I’d like it to be.

I’ve felt awful each round as I’ve only ever had half a dozen stories or so that I felt I wanted to consider using my votes on. The reason this makes me feel bad is I know how much effort everyone is putting in and I’d hate for anyone to feel discouraged or disheartened because I’m being pernickety over my own entries and therefore yours as well.  

There have been some rather brusque opinions on the Smut Marathon shared and every time I see them I just think ‘really, did we need to word it quite like that’. Even when I absolutely agree with the point being made and even though part of the contest is about opening yourself up to an element of, hopefully, constructive criticism. I still think that as writers we should choose our words wisely when sharing our less positive opinions.

For me the Smut Marathon is largely about personal development, what I’m learning this year is entirely different from what I learnt last year. I suspect how I feel by the end of my Smut Marathon 2019 journey will impact whether or not I take part in 2020, provided it returns that year. Part of me, however, is wondering if I’d find it an interesting exercise to not take part and view the entries through the eyes of a reader only.

There are still some incredible writers in this year’s Smut Marathon and with 6 rounds of writing left to do for those that make it to the final, I am genuinely excited to see how the rest of the competition unfolds. The number of words allowed for each assignment is slowly increasing too and for some of us, this is a  positive thing, though I know for some folks this will only increase the challenge of the Smut Marathon.

If you’ve got your own thoughts on the Smut Marathon, either as a participant or a reader you can follow the badge below to the Smut Marathon Links page and share your thoughts with us, I for one would love to read more thoughts on how other folks are finding the contest this year.


7 Replies to “[Smut Marathon] Focus, Feedback & Achieving a Goal!”

  1. Thanks for your thoughts! Seems like your process is working! Keep it up!!

    . I have been traveling so I haven’t had the chance to give any the last two rounds, but I tend to feel like my feedback is mostly- I liked this- or -I didn’t like this- neither of which is very helpful anyway. ‍♀️

    I only read the feedback in round 1. Again the traveling gets in the way- but then I don’t really feel compelled to go back and read them later either. Maybe I should, maybe not. ‍♀️

  2. Thank you for writing this, Floss, and I agree, some feedback has been quite harsh and could’ve been worded differently. However, thankfully most of the feedback was given in a respectful way. I love your approach for the Smut Marathon this year, and it seems to be paying off. I see so much improvement in your writing from last to this year, and not only in the marathon, but also on your blog. Sorry to hear you’ve been through a doubting phase, but I hope your self-confidence has returned, and you know you are a good blogger and writer!

    Rebel xox

  3. Still very new to this community so only picked up Smut Marathon at Round 4 and was astounded by what I read – very hard to pick and choose but yours was one of the pieces that really worked for me – it felt initially like it could have been written many years ago but really it was a modern take on – I loved it!

  4. My complaint last year was how critical the writers were of some aspects of the marathon and how they worded their criticism.

    I’m enjoying being just a reader this year. Maybe next year I’ll attempt to jump back in

  5. I agree with much of what you say here about critiquing others’ writing. It is fucking terrifying to put our words out there in the world for strangers to read! (At least for me.) My blog feels like a safe space, and honestly, I’ve been published enough in “real life” that I haven’t taken criticism too hard here, but if I was a new writer, reading some of the harsher critiques might put me off submitting.

    OTOH, some of them I have just wanted to mark up with a red pen, lol. Basic things like grammar, typos, punctuation…these should should have been read and edited for. That basic level of effort frustrates me as a reader. But things like using passive voice, switching POV’s, losing clarity in the piece or needing to tighten up the prose, those are all things that, given the right sort of criticism, can be learned. And as fellow writers we should be giving that sort of feedback.

    1. I absolutely agree! And I 100% learned some of those things last year and my goodness am I grateful for that

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