12 Days of Girly Juice 2017: 11 Favorite Blog Posts

I’ve written over 130 posts on this here blog in 2017, which is… a lot. As I say to myself every time I look at my bulging folder of post drafts: “I need to chill the fuck out, man.”

That said, drilling down to choose my 11 favorite posts of the year wasn’t especially hard. These are the posts I loved working on the most, the ones that got the biggest and best reactions from my lovely readers (dat’s you!), the ones that left me feeling proudest of my craft. I hope you liked ’em too.

Just a few days into the year, I wrote “You’re Vanilla, I’m Not, But I Love You.” It poured out of me in a frantic rush. I remember one minute I was lying in bed, staring into space and pondering my current romantic predicament, and the next, I was leaping across the room to grab my notebook and scribble some notes. “Loving a vanilla person when you’re kinky,” I scrawled, and made a two-page long list of vignettes, situations, longings, fantasies, and regrets which later coalesced into a polished blog post.

Getting over a passionate love – whether that love is requited or, as in this case, decidedly not – requires action. Sometimes you have to give yourself closure, if your beloved won’t give it to you. Part of my self-closure process in recovering from this particular unrequited love was writing about it – a lot. Making sense of what happened, arranging it into a logical narrative, helped me understand why and how I had fallen so hard, and what it ultimately meant for me. Parsing out the kink piece of this puzzle in “You’re Vanilla, I’m Not” helped me with that recovery. When it was done, I breathed a sigh of sad-but-hopeful relief.

In February, I wrote about “5 Bruises I Loved and Lost.” My kinky identity is still new enough to me that I’m habitually learning new things about what makes me tick. One such piece of information I solidified for myself this year is that I love receiving bruises, bite marks, scratches, hickeys, and other visible signs of consensual affection. They remind me that I am wanted, and make me feel owned – which, for a pervy little submissive like me, is a very good feeling indeed.

In this piece, I also explored how my masochism can bleed into self-harm when depression turns my self-destructive impulse up to eleven. It’s not pretty, but it’s worth discussing. I’m still picking apart all the ways in which my kinks interact with my mental health, and writing helps me figure that stuff out.

A lot of my favorite posts I wrote this year were sponsored (yayyy, bloggers gettin’ paid for quality work!) but I think my fave sponsored post of 2017 was “Pain, Punishment, & Pretty Girls at the Ritual Chamber.” I got invited to write about a local dungeon space and brought along my pals Suz and Taylor to do a fun-as-fuck photoshoot amongst all the kinky equipment.

Beyond just making for a flashy blog post, this assignment also presented an opportunity for collaboration, something I’d like to do a lot more of in 2018. It’s so gratifying to have reached a point with this blog that I can sometimes afford to pay photographers and other collaborators, because I get to spread my good fortune around while also making rad content with talented people. Yay!

For 4/20, I penned “Submissive ‘n’ Stoned: Reflections on Weed & Kink.” I didn’t realize until I started drafting this post just how much overlap there is between those two things in my life, and I want to explore this intersection more! This post is an erotic journey through smoky basement apartments, orgasmic precipices, and unrequited love in no-smoking hotel rooms. It’s indubitably one of the sexiest things I wrote all year, but it’s also weird, which is exactly the kind of thing I love to write.

I spent a lot of time pondering and processing the notion of “daddy doms” this year, as it was the first time in over two years of DD/lg fantasizin’ that I actually had a relationship built on this dynamic. A blog post called “Are You My Daddy?” (its title a nod to the children’s book of a similar name) explored my past attempts at DD/lg dynamics and the reasons my then-partner was better-suited to that relationship style with me than my previous partners had been.

It makes me sad to re-read this piece now that that relationship has long imploded, but it’s also encouraging, because it means I’m that much closer to knowing what I want. And the more clearly you know what you want, the likelier you are to get it.

I encountered a lot of bisexual erasure this year – including people accusing me of erasing bisexuals by not using the word “bisexual” every goddamn time I mentioned a romantic or sexual dalliance. (Suffice it to say, I disagree with this perspective.) In response, I wrote “FYI: Still Bi,” a poem about biphobia and bi pride. It was fun to couch such rage in a jovial, Dr. Seuss-esque cadence. More poetry in 2018, please!

It’s always satisfying when I finally write about an idea I’ve been contemplating for a long time. “Sadsturbation: Hobby of the Heartbroken & Horny” was one such piece. I have long been someone who cries during sex, seeks orgasms for depression relief, and struggles to repopulate my fantasy life after a heartbreak. Sexuality is a great source of joy in my life, but my sadness and my sexuality are deeply linked, too.

I vividly remember a time in July when a heavy workload led to a heavy heart, and my then-boyfriend asked me, “What do you need?” The answer, honestly, was orgasms. So he gave me two of them, sweetly and domineeringly, in my cozy bed. Afterward, as the clouds cleared from my mind, he asked me, “Do you feel better?” and holy wow, did I ever.

I love writing how-to content that’s helpful not only to my readers but also to me. One such post was “How Meta-Communication Can Make You a Great Flirt (Even If You’re Shy).” It’s full of tips for earnest flirting using the subtle arts of self-awareness, self-reference, and self-disclosure. I still refer back to this post on occasion when I’m at a loss for how to flirt with someone new!

Sex toy reviews rarely make it onto this list, because frankly, I don’t consider them my best writing. I’d rather delve deeply into an emotional snafu or a philosophical argument than try to wax poetic over the specs of a toy. But this year I reviewed the Stockroom Cocksucker’s Mirror and it instantly became one of my favorite reviews I’ve ever written. What intrigued me about this toy was how it forced me to confront some deeply-rooted sexual anxieties, and that’s mostly what the review is about. It’s amazing how kink can be not only a fun sexual adventure but also a startling mirror into your psyche – in this case, literally.

I’d like to write more reviews like this in 2018: reviews that detail my personal experience with a product, from an emotional and psychological perspective just as much as a physical one. There are only so many vibrator reviews you can write (or read) before they become deathly boring. I wanna punch ’em up a bit.

My favorite blog posts of other people’s are typically the ones that blend white-hot sexiness with authentic emotion (Girl on the Net does this particularly well). I tried to do that with “5 Times Kink Helped Me Love My Body,” a meditation on insecurities, confidence, and BDSM. As it turns out, this post is a pretty spot-on microcosm of the kind of year I had sexually: one of kink and burgeoning confidence. (That’s a very good thing.)

Possibly my favorite blog post of the year was “Devastated & Divine: A Week in Post-Breakup Fashion.” I got the idea while out with my friend Suz the night after a breakup that totally wrecked me. As the two of us stood in an alley behind a liquor store, smoking weed (one of the few things that eased my bone-deep emotional pain at that time), Suz snapped some photos of me. She sent me the finished products and I mused, “These look like street fashion shots.” And then – lightbulb! aha! – an idea was born. I wrote a satirical fashion editorial about the “outfits” I wore in the week following my breakup, which ranged from “real clothes like an actual functional human would wear” to “the comfiest possible loungewear for a multi-hour cry-a-thon.”

I worked on this piece a little each day in the week following that breakup, writing only a few paragraphs every day but never skipping it, because it became an important ritual to me then. One thing that’s always been true for me is that creativity eases my pain. Writing something evocative, whether it’s a blog post or a song, reminds me of my talents and my accomplishments at times when those things are easy to forget. It would take me months after that breakup to really rediscover the sensation of happiness, but working on that blog post lifted my spirits just enough that I could get through the week. And then the week after that. And the week after that.

One dorkily earnest note before I close out this post: Thank you so much for reading my work this year. It is a daily blessing to have people out there giving a shit about the things I write. You make my life a thousand times brighter and more meaningful just by being here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you liked what you read here this year, I hope to write more things that give you comfort and solace in 2018 and beyond. 💜

Freelance Friday: Finances & Fears

Freelance Friday is my monthly feature where I answer questions about my life as a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter, and scribe-about-town. You can send in questions via email or in the comments!

Q. Is it necessary to have a dayjob as well?

A. I have one part-time dayjob at the moment: I work 8-10 hours a week writing tweets for an adult-industry marketing firm. (I had an additional part-time dayjob until recently, but am no longer working at ye olde sex shoppe – which, frankly, hallelujah, because retail is hard and really not well-suited to how my brain works.)

I make enough money from my more creative work that it isn’t necessary for me to have a dayjob – particularly since, if I didn’t have one, I’d have more time and energy for pitching, writing, and hustlin’ – but I still value my dayjob very much and would encourage writers and other freelance-y types to keep theirs or get one, for a few reasons.

First off: obviously having more money is better. My blogging and freelancing could cover my basic living expenses, but then I’d have very little extra cash for things like meals out, theatre tickets, travel, and gifts for friends – all of which are important to me. I don’t mind working harder to keep my lifestyle at a level where I’m happy with it and don’t feel deprived of anything vital.

Secondly, my dayjob acts as a safety net. Freelancing and blogging, as you may know, can be pretty feast-or-famine endeavors. There are months when I get a few fat freelance cheques and sell a handful of sponsored posts, and there are other months where my email inbox and bank account both remain comparatively barren. My dayjob offers me a flat, dependable monthly income, so that even if I earn absolutely no money elsewhere (which happens rarely but does happen), I will neither starve nor be kicked out of my apartment.

Finally, my dayjob gives me a peace of mind that is honestly crucial to my creativity. When I’m hard-up for cash, I tend to focus on crafting work I think will sell, rather than on what I genuinely want to write, which is more often the quirky, offbeat, original stuff that my readers like better anyway. If not for my dayjob, I’d feel paralyzed by the constant need to earn and earn and earn, and would have no spare energy or space for idle imagination. When the problem of money is more-or-less sorted, there’s more room to play. I am enormously privileged to be in a position where this is true for me.

Even if my career blew up tomorrow and I was suddenly making as much money from blogging and freelancing as I had previously been making in total, I think I would probably keep my dayjob. The security and freedom it gives me is a daily blessing. Plus, writin’ tweets is pretty fun sometimes.

Q. Did you have any fears when you were starting out, or even now that you’re established?

A. For a long time, I feared associating my real-life name and face with my sex blog identity. I worried future potential employers would find out I was a Sex Person and would bar me from their business, thereby denying me employment, money, and security. It was a scary thought, that some irresponsible internet dalliances in my youth could cost me financial stability way into my future.

But the farther I traveled into Sex Writing Land, the more I came to realize that a) making sex-related media is probably the big-picture destiny of my life, b) I can absolutely make a living doing this work (and even moreso if I attach my name and face to it), and c) anyone who would forgo hiring me because of my sex writing background is not someone I would want to work for anyway.

(Worth noting here: being able to be “out” about my identity is a privilege of my financial situation, social standing, geographic location, educational background, and other life circumstances – one that not everyone is afforded, nor should everyone who can be out about their work have to be. It was a personal choice I made for myself and I support folks in this industry who are both out of the closet and in it.)

I also feared I didn’t have anything real or important to say. This was especially true back when I started my blog, because I was in a steady, monogamous, sexually satisfying but unadventurous relationship with the first and only man I’d ever had sex with. I was vanilla back then (or at least, I thought I was), and had hardly any sexual experience to speak of, and feared that would hold me back as a sex writer. That became even more true when that relationship ended in 2014 and I went over a year without dating or having any sex at all.

What I learned about myself, during those monotonous periods, was that I still have eleventy-zillion thoughts and ideas and fantasies and hopes and dreams about sex even when I’m not having sex, or having boring sex. I don’t think someone’s sex life is necessarily a predictor of what kind of sex writer they can be. It’s more about how they approach the topic, the media they consume (or don’t consume) around it, their ideas and beliefs about sex, their kinks and fantasies, the things they allow themselves to want and the things they’re trying not to want.

I still don’t exactly know “what kind of sex writer I am,” what my “niche” is, what people look to me for. But I know that I’ve found my voice and my purpose by pursuing what organically fascinates me. Imitating writers you admire can only take you so far; at some point, you have to follow your heart and all its weird curiosities. It’s there that you’ll find the truest and most original core of what you can do.

Freelance Friday: Pitching & Procrastinating

Q. What are the basics of pitching stories?

A. A pitch is the written equivalent of an audition. It’s you demonstrating not only that you have a great idea for a story, but also that you’re the right person to execute it, at this particular time, for this particular publication.

Pitching was one of the things that intimidated me most when I started journalism school, because it seemed like a code I had to crack. I felt that if I didn’t know the language of pitching, I’d never be able to “make it” as a writer, even if my skills were otherwise solid. This is somewhat true – actors who suck at auditioning don’t book many gigs, even if they’re fabulous once you get ’em on stage or on camera, you know? – but pitching isn’t as difficult as I once believed it was.

Here’s the basic formula. Look up the editor you want to pitch to (I usually sleuth out “sex & relationships” editors, since that’s my niche, but it depends on the piece and the publication) in the outlet’s masthead. (Or, alternatively, reach out to a writer friend who’s worked with that publication before and ask if they’d mind sharing their editor’s contact info.) Check to see if the pub has specific parameters for pitching, and read those carefully. If not, write “PITCH:” in the subject line of your email, followed by a brief headline/title for your idea.

Address the editor by name, if at all possible. Write a quick introduction like, “I’m writing because I have an idea for a story I think would be right up your alley.” Explain your story idea in 2-3 paragraphs. Lay out the main points you’ll make, and how you’ll support them – including anyone you plan to interview for the story. Connect your story to the publication’s particular audience – make it easy for the editor to understand why your story is a good fit for them, specifically. If you can, tie the story to a “news hook” that makes it current (e.g. “I want to write about fisting because International Fisting Day is coming up”). Specify what type of piece you’re hoping to write (news brief? personal essay? longform feature?) and what you estimate the word count might be (although an editor might just tell you the word count they want).

Some publications want you to have already done lots of research by the time you get to the pitching stage, while some are content if you just indicate what research you intend to do if your pitch is accepted. However, it never hurts to do at least a little research in advance, to prove you have access to sources and an understanding of the subject matter. You could, for example, dig up some statistics that prove your central point, interview someone who attended an event you’re reporting on, or reference some other writing that’s been done on the topic you’re tackling (so long as you explain why your story will be different!).

In your last paragraph, give a little context about yourself: explain who you are, what you do, what your credentials are (including a few past publications, if applicable), and why you’re the person to write this story. (Do you have firsthand experience with the subject matter? Are you well-connected with relevant sources? Are you an expert on the subject?) Finish with a nice conclusion (as per advice from Alana Massey, I like “If you’re interested in moving forward with this, let me know your thoughts in terms of angle, deadline, rate, and word count”) and a polite and professional sign-off. (I always include my portfolio URL under my name so editors can check out the rest of my work if they are so inclined.)

While you’re bound to get rejected a fair bit, good pitch skills can take you a long way. Once you get a pitch accepted, it’s just a matter of proving you can actually follow through on researching and writing the piece you’ve pitched!

Q. How do you avoid procrastination? What keeps you so highly motivated?

A. I’m often asked how I manage to crank out 2 to 3 posts a week so consistently. I think the answer is: a blend of caffeine, mental illness, organization, and love.

Let me explain what I mean by each component of that recipe. Love is easy: I have a deep, unending zeal for writing – and writing about sex in particular – that is the core fuel of what I do. Other factors in my life (like the aforementioned mental illness) sometimes obscure my passion for periods of time, but it’s always there, waiting to be rediscovered. If I ever find myself resenting my blog workload or just not feeling as thrilled about it as I normally would be, I know I’m burned out and need to refuel my creative engine. Often I can do that by just taking a few days off from writing (if possible), reading the work of writers I admire (in my genre or not), and then pursuing whatever topics genuinely tug at my curious heart at the time. (Erotic massages? Sex work law? Gloryholes?)

Mental illness is a tricky one. It’s my go-to jokey answer when anyone asks me how I stay so productive – “I’m mentally ill!” I’ll quip with a grin – and that’s an oversimplification but it’s also true. I have bipolar type 2 and my bouts of hypomania are often accompanied by boundless fascination with particular topics or people, more frequent strokes of brilliance, and more energy with which to transform those idea-flashes into fleshed-out pieces. My mental illnesses are a burden but they’re also my superpower. Many times, when Depressed Me was too foggy and forlorn to write a blog post, I’ve said a silent prayer of gratitude for Hypomanic Me and her hours of tireless work: I can often publish a blog post I wrote while manic to fill time while I’m too depressed to write.

That’s where organization comes in: I rely on infrastructure I’ve set up to keep my blog running smoothly, even in times of emotional turmoil. I use the Editorial Calendar plugin to keep all my posts visually organized and scheduled. When I receive a new toy to review, I create a draft of my forthcoming review and add to it whenever I have a relevant thought. When I think of a great idea for a blog post, I make a draft for it and make detailed notes so I can write it later. I work in advance on my regular features, like my Monthly Faves and link round-ups, a little at a time, so the work rarely piles up too much. I keep lists in Evernote and my phone’s Notes app of posts I’d like to write, so I’m never stuck for ideas. Basically, I put in a little work here and there to steadily reduce all the writing-related stressors I can, to make space for myself to actually write.

And when all of that fails me? There’s always caffeine. I get my ass to a coffee shop, order something tall and peppy, sit down with my laptop, and wait for the artificial energy to hit.

Got questions about freelance writing, blogging, or any of my other sexy-scribe activities? Email them to me, or comment below, and I’ll try to tackle ’em here!

Freelance Friday: Baby Blog + Time Log

What my blog used to look like when I was just starting out!

Freelance Friday is a new regular feature where I’ll be answering your questions about my life as a freelance journalist, blogger, copywriter, and all-around sexy scribe. If you have questions for this feature, feel free to leave ’em in the comments, or email me!

Q. I want to hear about the very beginning! The baby blog! Mistakes you made, what you wish you knew. What you surprised yourself with.

A. When I started Girly Juice, I was depressed, bored, and scared. It was March 2012 and I was six months into a gap year between high school and university. I had recently decided to return to school to study journalism, but was terrified I’d hate it or wouldn’t be good at it. In the meantime, the months stretched ahead of me, blank and unyielding. Most of my friends were away at school in other provinces, so I spent most of my time alone or with my then-boyfriend. Aside from a few hours of part-time work each week coaching high school improv and doing customer service for a catering company, there was nothing to do. So I started a sex blog.

I made the mistake, initially, of assuming I had to be someone else to be successful. I tried on the voices and styles of other writers I admired in the sex niche: Epiphora‘s sardonic sass, Sinclair Sexsmith‘s erotic esoterica, Lilly‘s no-nonsense guidance. I think artists of all types have to learn through imitation, but that can’t be all that you do. I think it took me about four years of blogging here twice weekly to really find (or create) my voice. It’s hard to say what I am as a writer, exactly, but I know I’m not any of those people I longed to be like when I began.

In the early days, I blogged according to my whims, not according to a schedule – but frequently, nonetheless. I wrote three or four or five posts a week. Blogging was all I could think about. I had so many thoughts and ideas and feelings about sex. It was like that stage of a new relationship when all you want to do is tell them everything about yourself and learn everything about them. I wrote posts, promoted them on Reddit, wrote posts, promoted them on Twitter, wrote posts, told friends about them, wrote posts, tested sex toys, wrote posts, daydreamed about what my blog could become one day, wrote posts, wrote posts, kept writing posts. I loved it to death, and still do. There has never been a time when I’ve considered quitting. I can’t say that about anything else I’ve ever done in my life.

What I wish I knew when I started, and what I would like all beginning bloggers to know: your voice is valid, important, and worth spending time developing. Helpful content does better than personal content, but if you build an audience who love you, they will love your personal content too. You are not obliged to give out any more information than you want to; sharing part of your deepest heart doesn’t mean you owe the world all of it. Make friends with other bloggers as soon as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask them things, run your ideas by them, and collaborate. Brainstorm content based on what you think your ideal reader would like to read, not what your chosen topic supposedly dictates you have to stick to. Keep transforming, growing, challenging yourself. And make at least some of your choices based on what will make for the better story.

Q. How many hours go into daily blog work? Do you count sexcapades as part of your work, or are they just fun and you write about some of them?

A. I once went to a job interview for a copywriter position at a hip young advertising startup. The stern dude interviewing me scanned my résumé and asked, “How much time do you spend working on your blog?”

I ran a quick mental calculation, knowing at the same time that he wasn’t really curious about numbers – he wanted to know where my focus would be, if he hired me. Whether I would be hunched over a slick Mac in his exposed-brick office building on a Wednesday afternoon, writing copy for a cooking blog client while secretly pondering dildos and floggers. “I spend about 10 hours a week on my blog, but obviously, if you hired me, I would only do that on my own time,” I told him. I thought it was a ridiculous question. You wouldn’t ask a weekend golfer if his games would cut into his office hours. You wouldn’t ask a foodie if she’d be playing hookie for restaurant openings. Smart, responsible professionals know how to compartmentalize.

That ad agency didn’t hire me, and I wonder if they thought 10 hours a week spent on blogging was 10 hours too many. I’m not sorry, either, since that’s about when my blog started to take off and make me decent money.

These days, I’d guess I spend closer to 15 hours per week on this here blog. There’s writing, researching, editing, formatting, scheduling, marketing, corresponding with retailers and sponsors, testing toys, taking photographs, managing my website’s backend, updating pages and old reviews, making affiliate links, keeping track of my earnings, and maintaining my social media presence. Not all of these things feel like work, but they are, nonetheless (which is why I laugh when well-meaning strangers find out about my job and ask, “So you just, like, get paid to masturbate?!”).

I don’t consider sexcapades part of my work because I don’t pursue them for work reasons. I can think of few things more depressing and artificial than seeking out sexual partners purely for blog fodder (though I applaud bloggers who are able to do this happily and well, I am not one of them). If I was sleuthing out sexual experiences to write posts about, I would look for difficult or strange experiences – but instead, I mostly just try to find good ones. If an experience inspires me to write something, that’s cool, but it’s never my main goal – except for that time I sat on a cake.

Got questions about the #FreelanceLyfe or what it’s like being a sex blogger? Ask ’em in the comments, or send me an email!

9 Invaluable Tools I Use As a Writer

I am so nosy about other writers’ tools and processes. It’s a glimpse into genius, a map toward emulating the creative weirdos I admire most. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “If I just buy the perfect pen/notebook/writing software, I’ll suddenly be brilliant!” but behind-the-scenes rundowns on other writers’ tools also remind me that we all start with the same basic supplies: something to write with, something to write on, and something to say. If they got to where they are with just those three things, I can get to where I want to be, too.

In that spirit: here are the 9 tools I use most often as a writer. I’d love to hear about your faves in the comments!

Large hardcover ruled Moleskine notebooks. These are my favorite for daily journaling, as I’ve told you before. On their creamy pages, I document my days, process my feelings, make gratitude lists, brainstorm dreams and goals, and connect the dots of my various patterns and neuroses. I would not be able to function as a person without journaling, let alone function as a writer. But my journals are useful for more than just word-vomiting my feelings: I also refer back to them when writing about personal experiences. They’re a time capsule of feelings that felt intense at the time but may have faded into forgetfulness in the intervening weeks/months/years. Plus they’re real fucking pretty.

Pilot Precise V5 pens. I’ve been using these for god knows how long. They are just perfect. I love them. They play well with Moleskine paper – neither leaking through nor requiring excessively long to dry – and they feel luxurious and fancy but aren’t overly expensive. Please bury me with a few of these pens strewn throughout my casket. I’ll probably still need ’em in the afterlife.

Post-it notes. I use these for to-do lists. As much as I’d like to have the zen focus to mentally set myself goals at the beginning of the day and then just get ’em done, I am much more motivated by physical reminders of what I’m trying to achieve. So at the start of a big work day, I usually write my most important tasks on a post-it and stick it to my computer so it’s always staring me in the face. And then I get to feel like the goodest good girl as I check things off the list. Score!

My iPhone’s Notes app. Simple, yes, but always useful. This is where I keep the blog post ideas that come to me while I’m away from my computer. I also take notes in there when I’m testing sex toys I’ll be reviewing, because it’s not always ideal to have to type notes on a laptop while jerking off. (I like my Macbook too much to get lube all over it! …most of the time, anyway.)

My Macbook Air. AH, SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, AT LAST I’VE FOUND YOU. I bought this last year after lugging around my old Macbook Pro for years. The Air is so much smaller and lighter, ideal for my purposes as a writer who does much of her work at coffee shops and other out-and-about locations. I thought it might not have enough power to do all the stuff I need to do – edit podcasts, for example, and occasionally edit videos – but so far it’s handled all I’ve thrown at it with aplomb. (Including, sometimes, the aforementioned lubey fingers.)

Evernote. I started using this note-taking and organization software in journalism school and it continues to be useful on the daily. I can keep digital “notebooks” about individual projects (blog posts, writing assignments, podcast episodes) as well as more general notebooks for other, non-work things (travel, lists of goals, gift ideas for loved ones). I find it most helpful for huge, complex assignments requiring multiple interviews and lots of research, but it really helps me organize everything I ever work on.

Google Drive. A friend turned me on to Drive years ago when I complained that I kept losing my writing progress when Word would crash unexpectedly. When you write in Drive, not only does it auto-save continuously, but you can also access all your stuff from any internet-enabled device. I keep my sex spreadsheets on Drive, as well as my income spreadsheet, any active pieces I’m writing, and any file I want to have access to on several different devices. What’s more, upgrading your Drive storage to 100 gigabytes costs just $2 a month, which is a steal. I keep everything on there!

Spotify. I am always listening to Spotify. I am listening to Spotify as I type this. ALL HAIL SPOTIFY. It’s a music streaming service but also music organization software: you can make playlists, share them with people, discover new artists that are similar to the ones you already love, and so much more. I have a playlist called “I’m a Writer” which I typically groove to while I’m writing; most of it is minimally distracting instrumental music that keeps me energetic and focused.

WordPress Editorial Calendar. THE BEST PLUGIN! I’ve been using this for about a year and it fills me with such glee. Its drag-and-drop interface allows me to see upcoming blog content at a glance, laid out in a calendar format, so I know exactly where the gaps are and can fill them in accordingly. I can also move stuff around with ease, incase I decide that no, the world actually isn’t ready yet to read those 3,000 words about an obscure kink of mine, or whatever. If I had to marry a WordPress plugin, this is the one I’d choose!

What are your favorite tools for writing? Geek out with me!