The Writing Spicy online erotica writing group is starting up again in October 2023, and I took some time to compile some quotes about what past participants loved about it. (There’s an exit survey, and I ask people if I can quote them on that in the future, so that’s where these come from. All are reprinted with permission, and if any of you read a quote that you wrote in here and want it removed or changed, or your name removed from it, just let me know.)
Here’s what past participants in Writing Spicy have said about it:
What did I love about writing spicy? the world-making kinky-homo community vibe – the non judgmental micro-climate that grows a forest of writers. And I love Sinclair’s ambition. (Is it the goal of a sustainable kinky queer writer community that can and will enable each of us as individuals to access a deeper vulnerability to get to the very centre of need/want/heart?) Here we are – and there we were – a bunch of extraordinary queer souls, sharing thoughts on sex and kink and consent, opening up, opening each other up, getting turned on, surprising ourselves with the how and the why of getting turned on. It is pure love, pure heat, pure healing, all of it. This is where I want to live.
— Alex B. Toklas
We need more queer spaces like this one. I loved the atmosphere of enthusiastic, mutual support. I also really appreciated how clear the agenda was for each webinar, which made it easy to follow along (even on a Sunday night).
EVERYTHING! EVERYONE! I loved the prompts, I loved the options to connect with you and the TAs and each other, I loved the emphasis on positive feedback and supporting fledgling stories, I loved the rhythm of starting with the introduction and ending with the whole thing.
I loved that it was ok to show what I have written, especially when it was a touchy topic.
— Amanda N
I love the energy, vibes, community, and supportive environment of the group. Everyone is kind and positive. The weekly prompts challenge me and the readings guide me. The container of the class allows me to focus and do some of my best writing.
I liked the variety of “skill levels” in the group– folks who already have an established writing practice or pen-name, folks who are new to writing, folks who have a practice but want to get better at writing smut specifically. That was unexpected and delightful. I loved the emphasis on “this class is for YOU”, and the goals are for ourselves. All homework and assignments are optional, and we were encouraged to show up in what ways we could and were supportive to us. I loved the camaraderie of the zoom calls even though we mostly didn’t speak. I loved watching people reading their work in the zoom and us showering them with love in the chat.
I like how the culture of support developed and how well the tech was used.
I LOVE how positive, encouraging, and cheerleadering the group was towards each other’s writing. It is wonderful for your inner-writer’s self-confidence.
This was my first time in a group like this, so it was really nice to just witness some of the interactions between people. I wasn’t expecting so much positive critique, but I did really appreciate that approach. I tend to be a perfectionist, so knowing that my work would be met with love helped work through that a little bit.
Everyone’s enthusiasm, support, helpful comments, and bravery to share a diverse universe of sex and kinks.
I loved connecting with other queer writers.
I loved the no-judgement approach to writing erotica and discussing kink in class – there were boundaries and rules in place to keep people safe & happy. I truly felt safe sharing with others.
I enjoyed listening to others read their work.
The boundaries and rules put in place. We were able to talk openly and honestly about sex, eroticism, and kink – without the danger of judgement, shame, or fear of hurting someone else inadvertently. I truly felt safe & respected.
I loved how supportive the group was! It really felt like a safe place, which was really important to me. But also, it felt authentic, not performative and I adored that. I felt like I could show up as myself and be welcomed. The assistants were awesome and I’m grateful to them, as well. I also appreciate how open Sinclair is to learning and growing and improving the space. This really was an amazing experience.
Very ambitious, very fun constellation. Had the feeling that everyone was really into it (even though I could never participate in any call and did not meet anyone “personally/virtually”), and this is very motivating to me.
I loved getting to read work and chat with other folks! such a great and talented group.
It has been such a transformative and empowering experience! I loved having a queer, kinky space to be creative. I loved reading everyone’s work and learning together.
I LOVED getting to hang out with, talk with, and dive into the craft conversations. How do we get from here to there better? What would make this writing tighter? I’ve spent a lot of time in the last ten years learning this for marketing, but writing for sex is a totally different universe. Being with writing colleagues and helping them with their writing makes me a better writer.
I loved the enthusiastic support in the chat, seeing folks strengthen their confidence over time.
I loved everything?? the community, support, talent, joy, queerness, kinkiness, inclusivity, Faith’s cowboy hat, connection, and the link to the leather fly swatter (though I looked it up and the swatter is $24 but shipping alone is FORTY SEVEN DOLLARS).
I really appreciate this opportunity for reflection. I loved actually writing and reading and listening to writing read by the author and read back to the author. I love discussions around plot structure and also your posts on technique and consent. I enjoyed the sprints. I’m so impressed and happy about by this amazing community you’ve built.
I loved the support and gentle encouragement to be a little braver.
— Dorian Gay
The feedback and love and everyone hyping each other up and encouraging everybody to stretch out at the corners of their stuff and take big swings. The feedback and encouragement really helped push me to go back to the same story and work on developing it into an actual full(er) thing instead of my usual start something, get bored and/or frustrated, abandon ship, repeat. The accountabilibuddies to write with each week was FANTASTIC, and made me go do the things, even when I didn’t necessarily want to at first! All the love & support also pushed me to participate in the live reading, which was a first for me, and was equal parts terrifying and mildly addicting.
— Faith Arrowsmith
I loved the erotica readings in each Zoom meeting! It was the first time in a long time that I’d shared my work and been around others sharing their work in such a public forum. Sinclair did a wonderful job of making a safe, contained space for us to feel comfortable sharing such vulnerable things.
— Hannah Rose
i loved the vibe in the Zoom chats, and I love that there was no pressure to participate if life got in the way. In a previous different writing group, I constantly had “You’re wasting your money” thrown in my face and it REALLY put me off.
— Jennii Drew
I loved how inclusive and low-pressure it was to participate in this course. As a disabled person, my energy levels fluctuate and my pain can be unpredictable. I enjoy learning new things at my own pace and often find myself overwhelmed with similar offerings. Sinclair was marvelous at meeting me where I was and making this course accessible. It’s especially important because writing erotica can often be an emotionally draining task when you come from a place of sexual trauma and there was plenty of room for me to step back when I needed a breather.
— Jess R
The creative safety and loving encouragement it created all while getting me to look at every aspect of my writing. Truly an environment in which you can grow your work.
— Lilith Young
I love the camaraderie that developed. I loved that you had a TA. I loved your tips on craft and resources, and I will go back and use them. I love your prompts! I love that you create this amazing, safe, inspiring space. I love your approach to feedback! You’re a great teacher!
— R. Magdalen
Pretty much everything– I ADORED how queer this space was, in particular! I really loved that everyone was supportive and kind, and yet it felt like there was good feedback going on. I thought there was a strong sense of community that really enriched the experience. And I felt like there was a lot of value in the instruction. In my experience, sometimes writing “classes” aren’t really about learning anything, they’re just some abstract discussion with maybe some writing prompts, and that frustrates me. I came to this class wanting to get better at the craft of the erotica genre, and I feel like the structure of this class really succeeds at teaching the “hows” of writing spicy. Honestly I’d take it again just to keep honing my skills.
— Rebecca Rose Vassy
Everyone’s encouragement and support. I felt very nervous initially, but ultimately feel incredibly motivated by everyone (and inspired by their works as well!).
— Rose Weaver
I loved how supportive everyone is.
— Ryder West
i truly love the positivity, focus on encouraging writers who are new to sharing, and tone set for all participants to be into mutual affirmations. the good-natured humour, also space to share emo reactions, safer space maintained for marginalized folks! i returned somewhat motivated by my story writing goals, but especially by desire for community with loving witty sex-scribing folk during dreary winter times. i also really love the care for providing writing structures and craft notes. overall the design evidences such investment in supporting participants’ needs and development as much as possible.
— seeley quest
I continue to love the ability to write whatever kind of content and then have people actually respond positively. That’s just something that continues to surprise me.
I find so much joy in work that is creative and challenging and fun and engaging. I loved being in a environment that really fostered that creativity and pulled from what we were organically doing. It was really lovely to be in a group of folks who have such an understanding of one another.
— Sharon Penance
I really loved the group and all the people who are so good at giving feedback. I love how nice and caring everyone in the group was. I felt really safe and at home with everyone – so thank you Sinclair, so much, for that. And the amazing TAs!
I loved the flow of the curriculum and how each week had a bunch of things to go through! Everyone was so respectful and kind and I felt inspired to create in a way I haven’t before!
— TJ Tafeda
How everyone was so supportive of one another. Sinclair and the TAs always gave back sound feedback. I didn’t feel that any feedback from the other writers was overly critical when I was reading responses. Everything was supportive and helpful. Can’t wait to read everybody’s books, blogs, and comic strips when they publish! I look forward to joining the group again next time!
Breaking a story down into several components to work on really helped me focus on and complete a story. It took the idea of writing a short story, which can be overwhelming, and chunked it up into nice size bites. — Valluna Blue