Dating Writers

So a thought recently occurred to me on a disastrous (one of what seems many) date: what must people think when they realize they’re going out with a writer? I feel like for us, there’s a bit of a higher expectation in people. We spend most of our time analyzing and creating worlds, crafting and fine-tuning characters. Our thoughts are so jumbled with information that we tend to be a bit socially-awkward. It isn’t necessarily because we don’t know how to communicate with the outside world–though lets face it, most of our interactions are with the imaginary voices in our head–but because we see the world in a very different light.

Every date I’ve been on in the last six months has ended in a big flop. Why? Because I hold each person to a specific standard. It isn’t the same level as my characters, but rather myself. I expect–correct that, I require–the person to be on the same intellectual level and hold some semblance of ambition. Now I realize that my ambition is higher than most people’s. I dream about publishing. I dream about writing. I have goals, and as a very goal-oriented person, I achieve them one way or another. So I don’t expect a person to be as ambitious as me; but I think as a writer, I do hold some kind of expectation. After all, we can’t be writers if we aren’t ambitious.

It makes me wonder, though, if that’s why it’s so hard to date as a writer. We’re solitary people. We find it hard to share our minds (though don’t get me wrong, I do love talking about myself). It’s easier to bond with the pages of a book or the character in your head, than it is to understand a real flesh-and-blood person.

The only positive thing out of dating (at least when you’re the writer) is that each experience provides inspiration. I’ve traversed the online dating scene, and let me tell you, it’s as horrendous as the rumors say it is. While I didn’t find a life partner, I did walk away with a story. My time maneuvering the wild world of Ok Cupid (or as my friend calls it, Ok Stupid), provided me with enough inspiration to write a novel. I’m now in the midst of revising said story and preparing it for submission.

I guess the best thing to take away from dating is that it’s an excellent source of ideas. And for those that become our innocent victims, be mindful of how you act. You never know when you’ll become a character in our story.

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3 thoughts on “Dating Writers

  1. I am really uneasy with stating self-absorption is endemic to writing. Yes, ambition is a huge part of writing, yet at what cost? It’s difficult to talk of writing in any simplistic terms, especially w/r/t any aspect of life. I do believe you might be meeting wholly uninteresting people who cannot appreciate your passions; there is where the trouble is. But great writing–truly great examples–needs a continuum of empathy with life, not a predetermined dismissal of it. It’s tough, but I hope you find that buried treasure to garbage dumpster of the dating pool.

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    • It’s a great possibility that the people I’m meeting are really just that, uninteresting. I’ve been told I’m not being stimulated (intellectually and creatively). So perhaps it isn’t the fact that I’m “self-absorbed” and “overly ambitious”, but rather I haven’t met the right group of people or person. Who knows? I think it’s safe to say that dating sucks, though.

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      • I’m not pish-poshing ambition or saying you’re self-absorbed. I felt you were stating writing–by extension, us writers–was inherently just that. All of the above are, and we’re not–shouldn’t be. Dating, like writing, is about the one time out of a thousand that is was magic. I was merely saying embrace the whole mess; it does not matter what happens.

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