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Why Date When You Can Write? April 29, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Great Onely Activities, single and happy, We like. . ..
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I realized why I have so little interest in finding a boyfriend. It’s because I am already in a relationship. His name is Mike Rosoft Word.  Yes, I am dating my writing.  It is an emotionally exhausting relationship. I often feel I don’t deserve to be with Mike.  I sometimes think about breaking if off. But I can’t. When we get along, it’s wonderful. When we aren’t meshing, though, I cry and gnash my teeth. I spend chunks of every weekend and several weeknights with Mike.  You see, the more time I spend with him, the greater the chance that we’ll have one of our rare good spells. Last Saturday I told my friend Jess I couldn’t meet her for a movie because I was already planning to be with Mike that evening–even though I had just seen him the night before, and the night before that, too. I want to learn to garden, but Mike doesn’t like that (grit gets in his cracks), so I stay inside with him. 

You get my drift.

I don’t date because I already write, and writing is just. . . like. . . dating.  Here’s why:

1) Dating:  Years of work culminate in the ideal success–marriage. (At least that’s how it works in heteronormativeland.)

Writing: Years of work culminate in the ideal success–publication. (In writeronormativeland.)

2) Dating: Before going out, you spazz out in front of a mirror: “Should I wear the red shirt with three buttons or the fitted sweater?  The sandals that give me blisters or the ugly sandals?  If I put my hair up will I look like a librarian? What if he likes librarians? I wish I had a smaller nose. I hate my nose.”

Writing: Before sending out a story, you spazz out in front of a manila envelope: “Should I use the 20 or the 24 count paper? Will they like that joke in the opening paragraph or it is too cheesy? If I mention that I loved their August issue will I look desperate? I wish I had Susie’s metaphors. I hate my metaphors.”

3) Dating: You put a little dab of your soul out there for someone to possibly reject.

Writing: Same.

4) Dating:  “Please let him call me. Is he going to call me? Shouldn’t he have called me by now? Does he expect me to call him? Is he scared of his feelings for me? Should I call him?”

Writing:  “Please let them call me. Are they going to call me? Wouldn’t they have called me by now? Are they playing it cool? Are they too intimidated by my brilliance to make the first move? Should I call them?”

5) Dating: “He didn’t call me. I suck. No one will ever want me. I’m ugly. And I’m boring.”

Writing: “They didn’t call me. I suck. No one will ever publish me. My writing is ugly. And it’s boring.”

6) Dating: You think about the needs of the other person. You think about what the other person wants, expects, and can put up with. You regulate the reptilian part of your brain, editing and marketing yourself so you’re palatable to the other person. Don’t give me that “just be yourself” crap.   In the real world, every relationship (romantic or non) requires compromise and accomodation.  A little bit of altering yourself is ok, and might even result in your growing. Of course, just don’t overdo it and lose your core self.

Writing: You think about the needs of the publisher. You think about what the publisher wants and expects. You edit and market your work so it’s palatable to a specific publication. Don’t give me that “but I’m an artist; I can’t compromise my work” crap.  But in the real world, writers write for an audience or with the specific criteria of a certain publication in mind, crafting their work to fit the venue.  Of course, just don’t edit your piece to death so it crumbles like the experimental sugar-free brown rice flour oatmeal cookes I made yesterday. If the publisher insists on mangling your carefully crafted piece beyond recognition, then break off the relationship and take up journaling, which I guess would be the writery equivalent of masturbation.

This was all quite the revelation for me, and I am thrilled to now have a response to the annoying question “Are you seeing anyone yet?”

Copious Readership, do any of you have a hobby so similar to dating that it  binds to the receptors in your dating lobe, quenching your craving to meet members of the opposite sex for romance and dedicated partnership?



1. Singlutionary - April 29, 2009

I was just going to write about this. For me my totally non-existent acting career is like an really bad relationship where I keep compromising and compromising and trying to please the other party (my agent, the industry, casting directors, blah, blah, blah) and am still getting nowhere. In my case my career relationship is way more unhealthy which is why I am “taking a break” and “reevaluating” and “getting to know myself”. So we’re breaking up– me and show business. Hopefully I’ll one day meet show business’s distant cousin from abroad: Relevant Relatable Storytelling Through Film. But I’m starting to wonder if he even exists.

2. singal - April 29, 2009


I posted a reply to your entry yesterday here https://onely.org/2009/04/27/how-to-crash-the-pity-party-your-responses-requested/

and I said exactly what you said above – however I can’t see the reply at the end of the thread so something’s gone wrong somehow!!

What you said above is just like what I’ve said in the past – I’m married to my COMPUTER! 😉 😉

but …come to think of it …. IF i really AM married to my computer, and he didn’t post my reply to your thread yesterday, then I think I’ll have to have a few words with him!! 😉

onely - April 29, 2009

Well, it wasn’t your computer. You can forgive him. It was our spam filter.

But we un-spammed you, so your comment is up there now!

— Lisa

3. Stevi - April 29, 2009

So great, your an awesome writer. Love your site!

onely - May 1, 2009

Thanks Stevi, we appreciate your support so much. = ) CC

4. Sixty and Single in Seattle - May 19, 2009

Great post, fun and true. The other relationship I have is with my books: actually kind of hard for a guy to compete with The Atlantic too. I feel like I’m in conversation with someone brilliant when I read nonfiction. My part of the conversation is where I underline. (Kind of like the dates Seventeen magazine used to recommend, where your job is to get him to talk.)

5. Singletude - May 24, 2009

I have a confession to make, Christina. Your boyfriend has been cheating on you with me. Yes, Mr. Word and I have had a torrid nightly affair for months now. It’s been on and off again over the years, but now we just can’t stay away from each other. He really does get around, doesn’t he?

6. Writing is Like Dating « Onely: Single and Happy - October 1, 2011

[…] a new document, where you’re thinking of starting a fresh, sexier project (hm, maybe a blog post about the similarities between writing and […]

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