When inspiration runs dry
Taking a break in Naughty List News #73
This week’s edition of Naughty List News was sponsored by Pretty Ink Games. Find out more about their game College Craze below!
I’ve been writing this newsletter for a year and a half now. And I think it’s time to take a step back and look at what I’ve built. So, to alleviate any concerns you might have going into this article, I’m not going to stop writing this newsletter. But I do want to give myself some time to breathe and reflect. And ideally, give me some much-needed time for the stories I still want to tell.
I started this newsletter by writing about the interesting adult games I found. But I quickly found out the hard way that covering games in this way takes a lot of time.
Not only should I ideally play the games I cover myself, but I then also have to make time to write something interesting about them. And although I stuck to a two-weekly release schedule, I was spending basically all of my free time playing adult games or writing about them.
(Sidenote: I avoid using “biweekly” here because it is perhaps the most confusing word in the English language. You can use it to mean both “twice a week” and “once every two weeks.” Or that you’re only attracted to the same gender on weekdays.)
Because of the enormous time sink, I decided early on to pivot to writing about the news instead. I could release newsletter editions much quicker because, ironically enough, journalism does not require nearly as much research time as reviewing video games.
Since December 20th, 2020, I’ve released a new edition of NaughtyList.News every Sunday. That’s 65 consecutive weeks of writing about adult gaming without missing a single week.
Committing to a weekly release schedule was challenging at times, and I grew immensely as a writer by doing it. I’ve learned how to maximize the impact of my writing by refusing to obsess over every little detail. Sometimes tight deadlines meant I shipped mistakes, and that’s okay.
But now I’m running headfirst into a wall. Because what do you write about when you’ve run out of ideas?
The process of ideation
My process for writing a newsletter is that I collect my ideas on a Kanban board in Notion. These are essentially tickets that I can then move between named columns. So a ticket might start in the “Idea” column, proceeds from the “Draft” column into the “Editing” column, and ends in either the “Posted” or “Discarded” column.
This process works great for me because it means I can keep track of multiple stories simultaneously. When I see an interesting tweet, that becomes an Idea ticket. When someone shares their perspective on Discord, that becomes part of a Draft ticket. And so, ideally, I can take one of these Ideas or Drafts and work on them until they become a newsletter.
But my challenge is that these stories often take a lot of time to investigate. Sometimes much more than I expected initially. As an example, I recently wrote about the narrative structure of Summertime Saga. I wrote in my article that the game is structured like a soap opera and is unlikely ever to be “completed.” But some commentators (correctly) pointed out that the game is actually very slow with its updates and that the developers do consider Summertime Saga’s main story to be done. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been able to make time to dig into the game myself.
And this is the problem with a weekly release schedule: I’ve been publishing stories lately that really could have used a bit more time in the oven. I don’t feel good when I run a story like that, and I don’t think it’s fair to you either, dear reader.
One final challenge of covering adult games is that it’s actually relatively easy to find topics to write about. It’s just that most of these stories will be intensely negative. And writing about them gets depressing after a while.
To show you what I mean, here is a collection of stories from XBIZ, a news site focused on the adult industry as a whole:
These are all stories from just this month. Adult content creators are constantly being harassed, discriminated against, and told their art just doesn’t matter. But the truth is their art does matter to a lot of people! So that’s what I want to write about instead: How much joy there is to find in these interactive explorations of the fractal nature of human sexuality.
I’ve mentioned before that I write this newsletter alongside my regular employment as a programmer on AAA video games. Ideally, I’d like to do both. I really enjoy thinking and writing about adult games. But I don’t think I can keep doing so weekly.
Instead, I’m going to aim to publish a newsletter every two weeks from now on. But first, I’m going to take a break. So next week, there won’t be a newsletter, and I will plan a rerun from the archives for April 3rd. But two weeks from then, on April 17th, I aim to be refreshed with brand new stories for you.
Thanks so much for being a reader. ❤
College Craze is an adult dating sim by Pretty Ink Games where you play as an incoming female freshman at the prestigious Sugardale University. Manage your grades, social media followers, and bank account as you try to make a mark on the world.
All of your decisions will significantly impact your future, from the career you aspire towards to the people you meet along the way. Characters will react to your choices in the story, and your appearance will be reflected in the game’s many steamy events. No matter which path you choose in College Craze, there will be plenty of sexy situations, from vanilla sex to voyeurism and light BDSM.
College Craze is in active development; you can get the latest build of the game by supporting the one-woman team on Patreon. Version 0.3 is dropping for Patrons on March 22nd, featuring a total of 65,000+ words and 20+ steamy pictures to collect.
Writing Wrap-Up 📖
Opportunity: A Sugar Baby Story is out now on Steam. When a single mother in debt reconnects with a recently minted millionaire friend from college, she gets an offer from him that she finds difficult to refuse.
Derpixon released a new animation on Newgrounds. It is entirely NSFW but the animation work rivals any show streaming on Netflix right now!
Cheeky chuckle 🤭
Artist spotlight 💡
Thanks for reading this far!
If you want to help me compile the newsletter, feel free to poke me on Twitter.
Until next time!