Writing in the real world: Dating profiles

Let’s look at one of the most common practical applications of writing skills: Dating profiles!  How can you practice effective writing behaviors in this area and set yourself apart from the rest of the profiles?

Listen and find out 🙂


Here’s the takeaway!  Remember to be honest, up front, and relaxed.  Also, don’t worry about “guarantees” or “good” writing – think in terms of effectiveness.

  • Smile in your photos
    • Make sure they show you as a person
    • Use photos you don’t have to crop others out of (looks suspicious)
  • Fill out ya damn profile!
    • Who are you, anyway?
    • What are you looking for?  Dating, sex, both?
  • Argue in the positive:
    • Talk about what makes you special
    • What you can do for someone else
    • Leave terse or lazy answers
    • Complain about the gender you’re pursuing or invoke stereotypes
  • BONUS!  For non-monogamous profiles
    • Explain your situation (open, poly, etc) in simple terms right away
    • Link to your spouse/partner’s profile right at the top
    • Weigh the risks vs. the benefits of using photos and be honest

Strike the Match


Where are my men and women

Where is my sex and spice

Where is my sundering sound?

-Cleaning the Fridge, Waiting on Hold, c Me 2014

I do not feel inspired. I do not feel fertile with ideas. I do not feel creative and energetic. Is this burn out?

I’ve always managed to pull some energy, some enthusiasm, some can-do from the depths of my being. But right now I don’t feel it. I miss it like I miss the throb of desire when it won’t come.

There is no good word to describe this feeling. It is dry, it is weary, it is petty, it is grey. It is not unhappy, but neither is it enthused. Highs and lows aren’t so high and low. In some ways that’s good, but when one day is too much like another I can’t do anything. I want to feel that quickening.

I have files and folders of words I have done nothing with. But it’s been decided for me – this is the time. I need to strike my own match. I have to do something specifically for me.

And even now, that worries me – I feel I am too self centered. But in reality, I tend to neglect myself. My jobs, my approach to writing – these have all been service to others. And this fulfills something deep in me. I want to be useful, helpful, productive. I want to demystify writing and enchant the world people see. I want them to freely approach literature, grammar, idiom. I love this.

But my god, do I feel empty. It’s very difficult to turn this generosity towards myself and my writing. It’s very, very difficult to come up with workable ideas at all, let alone bring myself to draft them. I’m hibernating, and I’m sick of it. But I must do something – there is no “right time” for anything.

“Start now when it’s hardest. Start now when you feel so weighed down with emotions better left to glittery and not so glittery vampires and when you feel like you could sleep forever. Now is the time you need to wake up. Get up, get up! Don’t miss this moment. Create magics great and small, mundane and mystical.”

Copyright 2015 Deborah Castellano

Spring is slapping through the rot – I have to try – I have to do the thing I can’t.

-Cleaning the Fridge, Waiting on Hold, c Me 2014

Teacher – early draft


This poem begins with “he” because that’s how the world hinges.
We extend, we bend, we reach, but everything returns to “he”.

His. This is where the poem continues, in the possessive case.
His. They are all “he”, and all things are “his”, these men that teach.
Every man who acts in false heroic solitude, every “him”, who considers
Himself a god.

Every “him” that saw me as a prop, my body as a prize, my youth as food
For their starving souls.
If I was a witch, I would curse them with famine – every childhood, every new realization
They seize would bring them less than nothing.

They wanted to teach me. They all wanted to teach me.
Some thought they were protecting me.
Some thought they were warning me about the things men would do,
If I gave them half a chance.

But I gave them nothing. I just was.

They wanted to teach me, out of nowhere. Self-appointed.
Catcalls. Stares. Busy, grabbing hands. “Men are pigs”, they’d say as they sniffed at me.
“Men are animals”, they said as they stared at my tits. “Men will hurt you”, they said as they discussed my cunt, how tight it must be.

But what I do not understand is that everything is a struggle for them!
They are awash in a strange world!
They are lost in tales of old warriors and kings!
They didn’t know whether or not to hold a door, or call me pretty!

But they knew how to call me a whore.
They knew how to watch every move I made.
They knew how to make me cast my eyes down. They knew how to unnerve me.
They knew how to make me view everything through fear.
They knew how to watch me on dark nights. They knew how to talk about training me.
They knew how to move closer and closer, their breath hot on me.

They did not know how to ask me the time of day, but each one thought
He could teach me.

Notice how no woman violates you in preparation for living among other women.
Notice how no woman eagerly awaits the pain of your first fuck, proof you’re fresh,
The very idea of your pain and humiliation a punchline and bait.

3 helpful #tips on how to #write when you don’t want to

Sometimes you don’t want to write when you know have to.  This is cruel and unusual punishment and should be stopped – we should only write when we are spiritually ready and emotionally prepared, well-fed, freshly bathed, and in comfy pants (or no pants, as you like it).  But until the rest of the world is as enlightened as I am, we have to make do.

So, how do you do the thing when you don’t want to do the thing?

Set small attainable goals.

You cannot do all the things all at once, I don’t care how much you’ve published how awesome you are, or how motivated you feel.  If you make your to do list for a project far too long and complicated, you may find you’ve done nothing, or the dreaded “not enough”.

Think in small change when you are uninspired.  What has to be done today to move the project along? (NOT complete it, but move it along)  Isolate the top 3-5 things and let those be all you do that day.  Stop when you’re done and look at what you’ve accomplished.  If you want to go back for more, ok.  But seriously, let yourself feel accomplished and productive for a few minutes.  Enjoy it!

Get up, take breaks, and then go back to work.

As much as you are able to, be active when writing.  Writing does indeed involve sitting there and *writing*.  However, it is really important to learn when your body needs to move, because this can help free thoughts.  I find it helpful to set an egg timer and make myself get up and make a circuit of the house every 15-30 mins.  This may be too frequent for some of you, but I’ve learned over the years I need to be up and about more than most.

Writing is always happening, even when you are mentally working on a piece.  Writing is not sitting and staring at the cursor, beating yourself up.  That’s just beating yourself up, not doing anything useful.

Make sure you are answering just the prompt/idea in front of you.  

If you’re working with creative writing, sometimes tangents are magical.  You start writing one thing, then it becomes something else.  But if you’re working on a less imaginative project, or using an exercise to practice, you need discipline.

What is the prompt asking you to do?  If the prompt has a question, rephrase it as a statement.  Answer it as if you’re talking to someone.  Write that down.  Make an outline of how you’re going to tackle this piece – even for very creative genres like poetry!  The most fanciful writing still needs structure and discipline to be its best.  Work with what you have right in front of you first, then worry about making it sparkle.