Its been a year since I started this blog and what started as a way to get back into writing, turned into a quick life changer. It’s gotten me dumped, its introduced me to other writers (in whose shadow I now quake), and its taught me a lot about what my ‘writing voice’ actually is. Which – in rereading – shows me a self that I didn’t think was there (I thought I was funnier, more unique and more eloquent that I actually am). I’m not going to be next Helen Fielding or even Sophia Kinsella (which was my goal)… but I will keep on writing. Just not along the same vein that I was. After all, there are limits to the ‘dating horror stories’ and ’embarrassing moments’ that any one person can experience before you start to bore yourself.
So for anyone who’s still reading (and I know there are a few… just a few), here’s what I learned along the way.
1.You can’t write about dating indefinitely
Well you can, but damn, that’s a lot of effort. I quickly realized that if I was going to write about funny dating stories, I wasn’t going to actually ever meet someone I liked, and if I was borrowing stories from friends.. then they weren’t either. Funny generally comes from bad dates… and lord, I am over bad dates. I have had my lifetime. 7 years people.. 7 years. Plus at some point dating has to get somewhere.. and in real life, mine always seem to end up with me wishing I was watching Ink Master or washing my hair instead of sitting with some gormless stranger who can’t string a conversation together. I have dated – a LOT – but writing about dating, especially bad dating, while funny, just shows that I remain as naive and trusting as I was at 22, and that I still can’t spot a dud until I’m 20 minutes into a conversation. I’m starting to think I’m jinxed.
Plus.. after 7 years of dating, I’ve not been on a date in a few months and I sort of like it.
2. If your date finds your blog, he’s history
As one guy said to me when I shared my blog (he also blogged and I made the mistake of thinking it gave us something in common)
“so basically you’re going to go out with me and then write about all the things that are wrong with me. Awesome.”
Funnily enough I’ve not heard from him, or several others since.
3. Writing about sex is fun, but no-one is going to read it at work and every blog hosting platform pretty much shuts you down.
I tried a few sex posts early on and was forced to delete them when I was notified by WordPress that my blog was now considered ‘adult content’ and therefore could not feature advertisers, would not be promoted and would be crawled by search engines as though it were a porn site. I guess if you want to write about sex, you really have to want to write about sex. Plus, I was embarrassing the shit out of my sister and having a hard time looking my friends in the eye.
4. I write for me, but … also for other people to read
I wrote a blog a few years back for 1 reader. Literally – 1. I kept at it for 2 years but I had 1 reader (other than me). Who read every post but never commented, forwarded or shared my blog. When I started this blog – with a clear idea of ‘1 year, 5 days a week’ I loved that I quickly bounced from 1 to 5, to 10 and eventually 200 readers a day. One post I wrote had over 1,200 views. It was heady. But as I have exhausted my funny dating stories, my embarrassing admissions and thoughts on life…so I’ve struggled to find an audience. As I’m limping over the finish line of the year, its clear that while I can string sentences together, I’m not sure what stories I want to tell. I just know they can’t be bad dates…
5. I love writing.
After a year and over 250 posts, I know that I still love to write.
I enjoy walking my dog and having an idea hit me, parsing out the theme, the storyline and how to ‘complete the circle’. Nothing beats having to fire up my PC and jam it out, then finding that your Sunday morning has disappeared into 1000 words or so.
I love typing a line which tickles me.
I get excited when I know I’ve written something good and its going to post in the morning.
I’ve found more truth coming out my fingers than what has ever come out of my mouth.
My opinions of things have changed mid way through a piece, leaving me 180 degrees from where I started. In trying to find the line, I realize I don’t believe what I’m typing and have to rewrite. As a result, my opinions of a number of things have solidified far, far away from what I actually thought I believed.
In a single year I’ve experienced more than I ever expected or even remembered. But a scan of my blog posts quickly reminds me; I lost my house, I found a bunch of new friends, I became an American, rode a motorcycle hundreds of miles, got a full sleeve tattoo, shot hundreds of rounds at the gun range, had a number of horrible, awful and sometimes astonishing dates, started Crossfit, cut off 4 years worth of hair, learned that I really didn’t give a shit about a lot of stuff I thought mattered, didn’t get promoted (again), nursed several crushes, threw back a number of boomerang men, spent more time on Match.com than I’ll ever want to admit, learned what girlfriends really are all about (and love them for it), fell off my bike a few times, grew a spine and shared my medical ailments with the world.
So now, I’m going to take a break from this blog. Enjoy the life I’ve created, not worry about whether I have anything to say every day of the week and maybe come back with some juice, some humor and a few more stories.