Audacia Ray Talks Media Making, Diversification, and Self-Identity

Audacia Ray

Audacia Ray, sittin' pretty beneath her red umbrella. God how I covet those tattoo sleeves.

Dear readers: I know you come here because I know everything about freelancing ever, and because you love my pretty pretty smile. But every once in awhile, I like to give you the chance to soak up someone else’s wisdom.

To that end, I’m super-duper-excited to introduce Audacia Ray, a prolific media maker and advocate who’s has been an inspiration to me since I started in the sex writing biz almost 10 years ago.

I first met Audacia when she was leading a Safer Sex for Sluts workshop at Sexy Spirits in Manhattan. I began reading her blog soon after, tracking her career as she spread sex positivity through books, magazines, movies, and more. For a short time, I volunteered at $pread, the magazine by and for sex workers that she was the executive editor for. Later on, I did a write-up for New York Press when Audacia had a launch party for The Bi Apple, her porn directorial debut. And I read and loved her book Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing in on Internet Sexploration.

Talk about diversifying! (Can you see why I so love and admire this woman?) Nowadays, Audacia is the Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns at the International Women’s Health Coalition, and the co-founder of advocacy organization Sex Work Awareness. Audacia also hosts a monthly storytelling series, The Red Umbrella Diaries, where people who have worked in the sex trade gather to share stories and document their experiences. Their latest live event is this coming Thursday, August 5, and you should probably go. (Even better, you should go with me.)

So what can you learn about freelancing from Audacia?

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Bring In New Projects Without Lifting a Finger

Things have been awesomer than usual lately, and that’s a relief.

Because 2009 was a rough one.

This time last year, it seemed that — no matter how desperately I looked — it was impossible to find paying work.

But then, at the end of 2009, shortly after I had started a new part-time job at YourTango, Ian Kerner contacted me about co-writing an ebook with him for his new Good In Bed web project. Several months later, I was contacted by someone at AOL’s Patch about copy editing. The other month, an editor at The Frisky asked me if I’d be interested in writing a regular sex column for them. And then, the other week, someone at Psych Central e-mailed me, asking if I would be interested in writing for their site, as one of their editors had seen my LoveMom piece on depression, and had been impressed.

I’m not trying to gloat (though sometimes I like to point at my husband and say neener-neener). I’m just sayin’… it’s totally possible to bring in new projects without lifting a finger. How?

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Following Multiple Paths


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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.

– Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Earlier today, I posted on my personal blog about the fear of missing out on alternate lives due to the decisions I make.

I waxed eloquent (I hope) on how worried I am that, because of ways in which I’ve settled in and settled down, there are no more surprises around the bend.

Funny that the same neuroticism doesn’t plague the way I approach my career.

At least not anymore.

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