“If I just had a little excitement in my life—if you know what I mean—I’d get some inspiration,” said Anna.
I stared at my wine and swirled it around the bottom of my glass. I played dumb.
“No, I don’t know what you mean. What exactly do you mean by excitement? Jumping off skyscrapers with a parachute?”
I smirked and rolled my eyes. We’ve been friends for years, and I couldn’t fool her.
“Do you know how long it’s been?”
“Yeah. Something like 410 days since you broke up with what’s-his-name.”
“Longer than that. You’re forgetting the months before I broke up with him.”
“You’ll live,” I said.
Anna (not her real name) is a busy freelance writer who hopes to crack open the novel hidden inside of her and share it with the world. She’s taking advantage of NaNoWriMo and wants to get the bulk of it written in one month.
But she doesn’t have a plan, and she was in a panic when she called me. And I’m not so sure what I’m writing either, so we got together to brainstorm.
She thinks a hot dude is the spark she needs to light her creative fire.
With a flourish of my hand, I invited her to check out the guys at the bar.
“Take your pick, honey. I’m sure at least a few are willing and able.”
With perfect timing, our food arrived in the strong, well-groomed hands of an attractive waiter. I raised an eyebrow and stared at her.
“Speaking of which. . . .”
I smiled at him and winked. She blushed and kicked me. I leaned across the table and whispered.
“Look. Even if you were already involved with someone, how would that help you write? It would be a massive time suckage—guaranteed.
She giggled. I snorted.
“Let’s get serious here.”
I pulled out a pen and grabbed a napkin.
“It’s too late, for NaNoWriMo anyway, to get into that dreamy relationship floating around in your head. Why not think about the positives of being single instead of complaining about your non-existent sex life?”
“Positives? Yeah, right.” Anna sighed. She’d read Bridget Jones’s Diary way too many times.
“It could be worse. You could be a smug married, have crap for a sex life, and argue all the time.”
By the time we finished our dessert and three alcohol units each, we agreed: as singletons, we’ve got it made as writers no matter what kind of writing we’re doing.
Here are 10 ways a lousy sex life can be great for your writing life:
1. You own your time.
It’s all yours. Write until 4am if you want. Sleep all day or go to your day job looking like hell. Who cares?
Have kids? They’re more amenable to a schedule than a grown-up; after all, you’re the boss. And it’s just easier to set your time for writing and stick to it when you don’t have a romantic relationship.
2. You can write anything you want without restraint.
You don’t have to worry whether Mr. or Ms. Hot Stuff will like your response when they ask, “So what are you writing today?”
And you don’t have to worry whether your lover will sneak up behind you and look at your computer screen.
3. You don’t need birth control.
That applies to guys, too. I mean, it’s obvious. If you don’t have a sex life, you don’t have to worry about a bundle of joy arriving when you least expect it. Plus, it’s one less thing to think about (or spend time and money on) so you can focus on your writing.
4. You don’t have to worry about safer sex.
No sex life, no worries. No decisions about when and whether sex is safe without the condom, should you trust him or her, where to go for testing, will he (or she) get tested, and all that. Of course this doesn’t apply if you’re both virgins.
Who has time for that stuff when you have a novel (or blog posts and anything else) to write?
5. You’re not on a constant hormone-driven high that makes you lose concentration.
The high-as-a-kite early stages of a romantic relationship are great, right? But even if everything is perfect, it’s still an enormous distraction. Who can write with all those endorphins floating around in their system?
Even if you’re not with him or her, you’ll be thinking of last night instead of your writing. Or the night before. Or last weekend and how this weekend will be. . . .
6. You don’t have to brush your hair, shower, or even get dressed when you’re busy writing.
Whether you work in a home office or do your writing after your day job and on the weekends, personal grooming is optional when you don’t have a sex life. Just stick to the basics: wash face, brush teeth, pin or tie your hair back and you’re good to go.
Your dog, cat, or goldfish won’t care, trust me. But your lover might, especially if you work in short shorts and a tank top sans bra. Why, you won’t get anything done!
7. You don’t have to get dressed up for dates.
You don’t have to go on dates, either. Or get dressed at all. Just look at all the time that frees up for writing! Not to mention your clothing budget or all those hours experimenting with make-up or wondering what your ass looks like in those jeans.
8. You don’t have to change the sheets or even make the bed.
As a singleton, if you shower before bed, you don’t have to change the sheets more than once a month. If that. What for? You have to write! I slept in a sleeping bag for three months one summer—without washing it—and I didn’t die or get sleepingbag-itis or anything.
If you’re in a relationship, it’s a different ball game. Hopefully.
9. No sex life means no lovey-dovey emails, texting, phone calls, or other distractions.
Even if, like me, you don’t make a habit of texting or chit-chatty phone calls, that will change when you’re under the lovey-dovey hormone influence. Trust me. I’ve done stranger things.
Who wouldn’t love to send (and receive) unexpected titillating texts or emails? Have chats in the middle of the day—or night? You’re in love! OK lust at first but, unless you’re extraordinarily rigid with your schedule, you’re going to get distracted.
And if you’re so rigid you don’t get distracted when you’ve got a great sex life going on, well, good luck with that.
10. No sex life means you can put all that extra energy into your writing.
And running. And workouts. And biking. And whatever else. You’ve got time and energy to spare. Use it wisely. Write!
Anna and I both agreed that if you’re really young, and you haven’t ever had a serious relationship or a sex life, well, that might give you some experience your writing needs.
But if you’re a little older like we are—as in been there, done that—choosing to be single can be great for your writing life.
And the choice we’re talking about also means we’re not actively seeking a relationship and we’re not crying the blues.
What! Single women not looking for a man? Blasphemy! Something must be wrong with you. You must have been hurt beyond repair. You must be bitter and angry.
Ah yes, the neighbors, your friends, and your family will talk. But no, none of the above. And screw ‘em. It’s your life. The time will come when a relationship and a glorious sex life is exactly what’s going to happen.
Meanwhile, you’ve got work to do, writer. Do it.