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 ūüôā

 

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‚Äôt 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
  • NEVER
    • Leave terse or lazy answers
    • Complain about the gender you‚Äôre 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‚Äôs profile right at the top
    • Weigh the risks vs. the benefits of using photos and be honest
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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.

 

Longhand #drafting: Pros and cons for #poets

As we prepare to slide into the next litLAB meeting, I’d like to put something in your heads: longhand drafting. ¬†Longhand is often regarded as the king of composition, but I’m a poet that pretty much grew up with computers – I’m at home both ways.

My personal take on longhand drafting

To get this ball rolling, let me describe my poetic drafting process. ¬†I generally begin with a word, phrase, or cadence knocking around my head. ¬†I’ll perversely delay writing it down at first and just consider it for a while.

Next, I’ll write it down, and build a poem around it. ¬†I don’t count it as drafting until I have what “looks like” a poem ready to go. ¬†Then I will do one of two things: I will keep drafting longhand, noting the draft number, or stick it in Googledocs.

Either way, this takes days or weeks, and forces me to work on discrete drafts, learning the strongest parts of the poem, eliminating the weaker ones (or recycling them for later work).

At this point, the real work is well under way. ¬†Once it is in googledocs, it will go through at least 3-4 drafts until I’m happy. ¬†I enjoy this because it’s simply easier to swap phrases and stanzas around, or even pop the damn thing into a table if I’m doing something with rhyme or form. ¬†I can visually seperate the lines on a screen in ways I can’t really get from paper. ¬†But paper does provide that sensory connection I crave.

Once it’s typed, I try to keep it in digital form, for good or ill, that’s how they will “interact” with the world the most. ¬† I only know I’m done when, like Our Oscar, I spend all morning taking out a comma, and all afternoon putting it back in.

Ok, now you chime in on drafting!

So enough of me, how about you all? ¬†How important is longhand drafting in your writing process? ¬†Does anyone still do it? ¬†Are there any benefits you get from this method that you can’t get from hopping right on the computer?

See y’all this weekend ūüėČ