It is often said that we should all do something that scares us every day. That it is healthy to take ourselves outside of our personal comfort zone.
As a child, just the act of having to answer a question out loud during class was enough to scare me to death. My comfort zone at that time could have been described as being where I was either on my own, or with friends who wouldn’t ask me tricky questions! Things haven’t really changed much, yet these days I seem to be living outside of my comfort zone more and more often.
Writing erotica in itself is pretty wide of my comfort zone – at least it used to be. Over the last eleven years however, I have become at home with the smutty words and phrases I write- it is now the act of marketing my work that takes me out of my zone.
To write about myself, my work, to ‘BIG IT UP’ is so unlike me. Even carrying business cards with the words, ‘Kay Jaybee Erotica’ on them, is rather like hang gliding over enemy lines- even after over a decade.
Extreme bravery is required whenever I travel to London, Manchester or anywhere else, to read my erotica out loud to an audience. And when I teach workshops or writing classes- despite really looking forward to them- I know I will be the victim of sweaty palms and a nervous stomach!! (Next masterclass is at Cardiff, 3rd August- details here)
When I’m out in the world- at places like Eroticon- on a writer’s panel, answering any questions about the art of writing erotica, and what on earth made me do so in the first place, I have to think hard. The fear that I won’t be able to answer your questions is never far away. I’m just a writer good at sex scenes after all- what the hell do I know?
It is the question and answer sessions that make me more nervous than anything! What if I can’t answer the questions? What if I can’t hear the questions in the first place? What if? What if? For me, it is like being ten years old all over again, not understanding a word my English teacher just said to me! Yet, I know full well, that once I have done it. Once the panel is complete- I will have loved every second of it!
At a more local level, as more people become aware of what I do for a living, I find I am asked to step a toe out of my comfort zone here to. A few years ago for example, I found myself roped- with a huge amount of nerves- into being a model for a fantastic new boutique called Snob, at a fashion show in a local hotel. An excellent evening of jazz and singing could so easily have been spoilt by me falling off my gorgeous boots, or falling to turn, move in the right way, etc, etc, etc…..
To say the adrenalin was pumping puts it mildly- but, with hair that was styled into something that I can only describe as ‘French Aristocrat on the way to the guillotine’- held together with an ozone layers worth of hairspray and 37 bobby pins, I wiggled the hips and waggled my fingers in the words most beautiful mittens, and survived the experience! It was- as you’d imagine, good fun. So why do I get into such a state before hand!!?? Stage fright will be the death of me!!
At the last Tiverton Literary Festival in June, I did an after dinner floor show about ‘The Real Life of an Erotica Writer’- this included taking off many layers of clothes…Was I nervous? That doesn’t even cover it. And yet…yes. It was fantastic fun – you should have seen the raffle…(I am available for future bookings if you fancy a corporate event with a difference!)
It doesn’t matter what I do, or how far out of my comfort zone I step, I’m always going to suffer from stage fright. Once those lights go up however…I LOVE IT!
I’m off now to hide under my scarf, hat and dark glasses, to bustle my way through town, writing my naughty words under the cover of ‘woman writing shopping list’ in the corner of the library.