When I entered the Smut Marathon I declared that not matter how long I stayed, or more appropriately how soon I left, I would continue to support the other entrants and blog about the contest and I am determined to stick to that.
Part of this is because I believe in supporting and encouraging other writers. However there is a more selfish reason for my continued support and that is personal growth.
I often read through writing memes like Masturbation Monday and Wicked Wednesday when time permits, and I will leave comments where possible on the ones I enjoy most. These are never critiques though, because I don’t believe in offering criticism however constructive, unless it’s asked for.
As I learnt from my two short rounds of the Smut Marathon, feedback is mighty useful, but sometimes hard to take. The usefulness of it far outweighed my discomfort at receiving it though, so I endeavoured to leave as much feedback as possible for the writers that remained in the competition.
My feedback does not come from a place of writing knowledge. I don’t talk about semi colons, line breaks, sentence structure or anything that remotely relates to the actual technical aspects of writing. I will leave that to the Judge(s).
All I can offer in terms of feedback is how I felt, personally, on a completely subjective level about what some wrote. I wondered at first if this would be helpful, and maybe to some people it won’t be, but I know for me it would be, and that is why I decided to offer my honest thoughts on every piece submitted to the last round.
For me, the whole reason I write, especially erotica, is to make people feel something. Sexy is mostly what I’m aiming for, but erotica can do so much more than make someone feel sexy. It can help people accept their kinks and encourage them to explore new-found desires. It can create dialogue between friends, couples and bloggers alike and as this recent round of Smut Marathon has shown it can educate and inform.
In terms of how offering this feedback help my personal growth, well that’s easy. Like most people, I want to be liked, I do not admit that very often though and I try to take a very ‘those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind’ approach to life. The interesting part of Smut Marathon though is I am offering feedback to people who do matter, at least they matter to me.
There are many bloggers I have connected with on Twitter, both prior to and because of the Smut Marathon. Many of them I would consider friends. I know lots of people don’t ‘get’ online friendships, but I do and those connections mean a lot to me. When the reveal is made and we find out who wrote which piece in the Smut Marathon it can be hard to see you didn’t exactly champion the work of someone you think a lot of.
That is why I think the initial anonymity of each round is such a good idea. If I knew whose work I was commented on I don’t know if I could be as honest. In part because I think I would be swayed by knowledge of the person and their previous writing.
I’ve since read the some of the entrants thoughts on the feedback they’ve received and in some cases it has been hard because I’ve offered less than glowing feedback to people who are struggling with confidence in their writing or the Smut Marathon process or both, or an alternate issue. I hope though that none of my feedback ever comes off as ‘hey I’m right and that’s shit’. My thought process is more along the lines of ‘I have no idea what you were trying to portray when you wrote this (because I’m not you), but here is where I, as a reader, am at with it.’
Whether I voted for your Round 3 piece, or whether it didn’t resonate with in quite the way you might have hoped, I still think everyone did so well. That was a tricky assignment and I was honestly a little bit relieved I didn’t have to tackle it. I did have a little think as to where I might have gone with it and I decided that it was nowhere good. I’m very forgiving of imperfections, unless they are my own, so you probably would have got a character sketch of what I perceive to be my worst flaws and that is certainly not going to be erotic.
Voting for the next round of Smut Marathon doesn’t open until 29th April. As always those of following do not know what the next assignment is, but I cannot wait to find out and give the entries a thorough read. Please keep your eyes peeled for social media announcements that the voting has opened, and even if you can’t leave lots of feedback, I know that all the writers appreciate every vote they are given.