The First Draft of the ‘Porn During the Pandemic’ Book is Basically Done

I was asked to write a mini-book by my publisher and to make it 10K to 20K words 15 days ago. Since then, I have interviewed 19 people, some at great length and written 28,961 words. My short days were 8-10 hours and once the interviewing was mostly done and it was just writing, the days got longer. On Saturday, I wrote 9,735 words over 15 hours and yesterday I wrote 8,224 words over 14 hours.

I think I’m going to start reading it later today, but I needed to give myself at least 18 hours to kind of get it out of my head so I could start at the beginning with a fresh set of eyes.

I’m still looking for another porn addict who has successfully navigated the pandemic (Rollie, you fit the profile? If so, drop me an email), a cam model who has retired, and a therapist to talk a bit about healthy sexuality. If you’re any of these people…let me know.

I actually think more than my other books, this one best shows my ability as a journalist and writer. While I do tell this story in the first person as a narrative thread, there’s a ton of research and a pretty deep dive into analysis of statistics. I wrote on here at the beginning of the year that I think some of Pornhub’s reporting is faulty, but I really lay out my case in this book.

I also interviewed a bunch of cam models, which is something I’d never done before. I’m usually on the side of telling people it’s not healthy to watch them or participate in them, and I still believe that at my core, but I met a really interesting bunch of people, almost all of whom I would think could be, or could have been, my friends in real life when I was younger. Having them talk about the more technical end of their job and what it means to their real lives off-camera was something I haven’t read much about. It’s the longest chapter, probably because in many ways, I found it to be the most interesting since it was my first time tackling that subject.

I think writing this book has been very good for my mental health. I’ve kind of been wandering aimlessly the last several months, even before the pandemic, uninterested in the freelance/ghostwriting I was doing and unable to get up and excited for a new book idea I have — which I still think is great, but it’s not the time for it yet. And then I have another book idea for after that, which is even more exciting, but I’ve got to get them done in the proper order. Nonetheless, I didn’t need to hustle for money because I was doing OK and nothing was stoking any fires of passion for my work. Turning out a well-researched 30,000-word book in two weeks has changed that. If gave me a burst of much-needed adrenaline. I think it also helps that in these two weeks, the weather has got much nicer and I can sit outside in shorts most days. That helps my demeanor a lot.

I believe the hope is that the book will be out in late June, but with the slowdown in production, I have a feeling that July is more realistic. With the way states are acting about the epidemic, I’m sure it will still be around and make the book still relevant in the moment. If not, I think it will always be an interesting look at how this time caused people to act in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.

During the creation of the book, I got another piece of very cool news that should be a big boost to me professionally, but I have also signed a non-disclosure agreement that says I can’t announce it for a little while. They haven’t given me a timetable, but I think it will be July or August on this one.

And, as always, you can buy my first two books from Amazon. The most recent book is on sale at the moment, 27% off the regular hardcover price and 19% off the softcover. No idea how they get those figures. You can see that book HERE.

All right, time for lunch, a little sunshine and some editing…

An Excuse to Take a 10-Minute Break From What I Should Be Working On

Greetings. Sorry I haven’t checked in for a while, but I’ve been working 12 hour days trying to conduct the research, interviews and writing the new mini-book (there’s got to be a better term) that I’m due to get to my publisher in a few days. Like I mentioned before, the book is only 25-30% the length of an average book, but I only have about 3% of the time to write it, and unlike my other books, this one has a lot of advance work, not just me living my life and writing about it.

I think the interview count is going to end up somewhere around 20 and they are absolutely fascinating people. From the porn/sex addict guy who slipped his wife an anti-STD drug claiming it was a vitamin to the girl who just started camming to fight the anxiety of the pandemic, I’ve got some fascinating stories that take a look at where we are in terms of pornography creation and consumption in the world of COVID-19.

While the book is told in the first-person because I’ve forgot how to write any other way, and I like Hunter S. Thompson so much, it really is one of the biggest and, hopefully, best research projects I’ve worked on going back to when I ran a magazine.

As I mentioned, I’ve been working on this during almost all of my waking hours. I make sure to take a few breaks and still have an unwinding period at the end of the night, but this is creating a natural high for me, I guess it’s an adrenaline rush, that I haven’t felt with my work for a long time. I think it mostly has to do with the short deadline. I never felt as much adrenaline as when I worked at a daily newspaper. You’re constantly in a state of rushing and for someone who didn’t have his manic side in check back then, it was like a fat kid with a box of donuts.

I just wanted to check in with the regulars who read my stuff and whose stuff I read and apologize for being super-lax in the blogging world this past week. Probably another week of this to come, then I can exhale and double-back to see what I missed.

Onward Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Satanic, Agnostic, Buddhist, Etc. Soldiers!

Stringing Sentences Together When You Don’t Know What Else To Do

I’ve tried to write this multiple times. In fact, I’ve written the phrase “I’ve tried to write this multiple times” multiple times. I’ve created lists of what I’ve wanted to say and tried small chunks. This is the first paragraph you’re reading but it’s probably the 30th paragraph I’ve written.

I don’t get writer’s block, and this doesn’t feel like writer’s block. It’s not apathy. It’s not melancholy.

I’ve gone back to the TV news and most print/online news blackout I put myself in immediately after recovery began. I don’t find myself getting overwhelmed, nor do I want to share all of my opinions like I once did on every subject.

Objectively, I understand that people get through things by talking about them, and the kind of people who feel the need to become pundits, columnists or online forum commentators use their opinion as a shield to get through things. I was that person. Still am, but to a much lesser degree. Unlike them, I realize now sharing my opinion has never been about changing your opinion…it’s about processing my own thoughts and looking for a feeling of control over a situation.

I once had 4,000 Facebook “friends.” I wrote the editorial for a newspaper that reached almost 20,000 people. I was regularly quoted and on television for things I did in my community reaching who knows how many. Now? Since I stopped posting every day on the blog part of my website, hits are way down. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of only 200 people who will read this in 2020…or even fewer in future years. That’s OK. I’m not writing it for you. I’m writing it for me. Most people who share their opinion don’t recognize it.

I would bet less than 1 in 1000 people will have their opinion of Donald Trump altered to the point it changes their vote in November over how he’s handled the COVID-19 crisis. It’s only going to strengthen what people already think. I’ve heard people carefully defend and brazenly attack that think line between being prepared and hoarding – and it has nothing to do with their politics. And of course, this has helped everybody recognize what’s really important… as long as it was already really important to them (and hopefully this is a wakeup call that it should be important to you and it turns out, I was right all along).

I guess what I’m noticing more than anything else is that I’m at a stage of irritability with people where normal isolation usually works. What happens when the extroverts are forced to become introverts? The introverts really have to go to their secret happy place.

My problem in trying to write this has been that I can’t tie everything together in a nice bow and give a great line of summation. As a journalist, I always prided myself on the endings of my stories. I thought they were more important than the beginning. Sure, 100% of your readers start the story and only 30% ever reach the end, but I think you have a duty to leave that 30% with a feeling of satisfaction and my ability to bring it all together and end on some kind of takeaway was honed over years of writing thousands of articles.

Just not today.

Since None of You Were Asking Where I Was This Past Week…

I’ve been quiet this last week. I was down in North Carolina for most of it. My daughter wanted to visit her boyfriend who is stationed at Camp Lejeune and the flights from the small airport in Portland, Maine to the small airport in Jacksonville, NC cost almost as much as flying to Europe…more in some cases, so we did a road trip.

For those who are new here or don’t know, my daughter is 20 years old and we went on a massive road trip across the country last summer. This – 1900 miles in 5 days – was nothing compared to our 9000 miles in 27 days last August.

I’ve been wanting to begin a new mini-project that isn’t exactly about porn, but knew I’d need some real kick in the butt to get it going. It’s only going to be a 15,000-word e-book that sells a few hundred copies over its life, but it’s an idea I’ve wanted to work on for a little while. On Saturday, I put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door at the Courtyard Marriott, put a 4-pack of Red Bull on ice and got down to it. Between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. I wrote about 8,000 words, so I’m off to a good start…hopefully enough that I can continue from here in my slower times. I’ll let people know about it when I release it.

I really enjoyed the solitude in my hotel room. I watched more TV than I have for a while and only left to go get food at the little café in the lobby.

My next trip is the second week in April out to Southern California. I’ve got some stuff connected to the current book out there that I’ll be doing, but don’t want to jinx any of it with announcing anything too soon. I’m bringing my son on that trip. Trying to line up some TV show tapings as he loves the industry. He’ll just have to deal with dad promoting his book now and then.

BTW, He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions had its best month ever in February, and sold more than triple anything I’ve ever done sold before. If you haven’t bought it yet, the softcover is currently on sale for like 20% off. I have no idea why Amazon is running a sale, but it’s your chance to get it for cheap if you’ve been stalling.

As for the absolute best part of this last week? My daughter and I stopped in Orange, Connecticut on Monday and visited the PEZ World Headquarters. It’s where they make and package the iconic candy. If you’re stuck in traffic on I-95 heading into or out of NYC, it’s worth 30 minutes of your time.

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I’ve gotta stop eating PEZ and start eating vegetables.

Recovery Included the Surprisingly Therapeutic Task of Simplifying My Life Story

I’ve been a professional writer since I was 17 years old, which means people have been paying me to put words down on paper that others presumably want to read for 26 years now. Oddly enough, it’s a couple of non-paying assignments that I think have helped me the most in recent years.

Despite a few need-to-survive, part-time jobs here and there, writing is all I’ve ever really done in my professional life, yet I know if I never got a cent again, writing would continue to be the cheapest and one of the most crucial parts of my recovery.

When I entered my first rehab for alcoholism in April 2014, one of the first assignments given to me was to write my autobiography to share with the group. Every newbie got this assignment. While telling our overall story, we were asked to focus in on the things that brought us to rehab. I ended up writing 56 pages. When Bob, my caseworker, heard about this, he said that I should not read mine, and just tell the story from memory.

I thought I was doing everyone a favor because most of my fellow residents wrote three or four pages. I wanted to show everybody writing was my strength and delight them with an epic tale of triumph and tragedy. Then, I couldn’t even read it.

Fast-forward a year or so and I’ve entered my second rehab for the porn addiction. Once again, they asked me as a newcomer to share my story. Remembering that I went overboard at the first place, I wrote 30 pages this time. I did get to read it in my daily small group session, but the feedback was still that it was too long. There were many important parts of the story, but they were buried within sections that were just long anecdotes, the group agreed.

After I got out of jail, one of my probation conditions was to participate in group therapy with men who also had sexual offenses. Unsurprisingly, I was told to write my life story. This time, I wrote about eight pages and nobody complained about the length. After three attempts over three years, I was finally able to highlight the important parts of the story. The point of the assignment clicked.

* * *

All three times, I was required to write my story by hand. Maybe that should have been a clue it didn’t need to be a novel. Writing by hand is a bit of an old trick, believed to force the writer to think about their words more carefully. I can type around 75 words per minute, but I know I can’t write that fast.

My story isn’t about funny or interesting events that happened at my jobs. It isn’t about trying to prove I’m a good father or husband. Nobody needs a rundown of places I’ve travelled or sidebars full of opinion. Most of my failures and triumphs have just been run-of-the-mill and had no serious long-term effects on my life.

No, my story is about a kid who was raised by decent parents who made the one mistake of picking the wrong babysitter. The time spent at that babysitter created maladaptive coping skills, which were only enhanced when I developed early addictions to pornography and alcohol. Despite putting together a fairly normal life, those addictions and poor coping skills remained. I was (finally) correctly diagnosed with mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, in my early 20s, but despite therapy and medication, I continued as a functional addict. That stopped in my mid-30s when negative conditions in my life caused a complete breakdown. Part of the breakdown involved an illegal act, but that was my opportunity to seek help. I’ve done well in recovery, never having relapsed, and now have coping skills and tools that were lacking for years. I’m relatively content now as I warn others of the harm of pornography addiction and make up for lost time with my family.

That’s it. That’s my life. Despite the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written, that’s what it comes down to and I think it’s important I can sum it up in 160 words. It allows me to focus on what’s really important. Yes, details count, but in this case brevity is therapeutic.

I know many of the people reading this have their own blogs, or do a lot of writing as part of their professional endeavors, but if you’ve never done it, I would urge all of you to write your life story in five or six pages and then write a single paragraph summarizing it. If you write long, edit it down when finished. Given those somewhat limiting parameters, it’s surprising what you can learn about yourself.