Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How is Writing like Going on a Blind Date?

Writing/Dating Dos and Don'ts

You may think I’m nuts, but hang in here with me. There are a lot more similarities to these two circumstances than you might initially think. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the writer or the reader, unless you’ve met before neither one of you knows exactly what to expect.  So I’ve come up with some writing/dating Dos and Don’ts you might want to consider. 
  • First, DO put your best foot forward. Your buddies may know you’re a great guy, but if you show up for that first date in a t-shirt and cut-offs, you’re going to have a hard time convincing her of it. Conversely, if your date has told you it’s going to be a back yard cook-out and you pull out the stilettos and pearls there’s probably not going to be another date.The same is true of writing. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, a blog post or the second novel in your award-wining series, you only get one chance to make a GOOD first impression. If you’re composing a blog post, keep the tone conversational and leave the buttoned-up world of formal writing at home.
  • Second, DON’T be misleading. Only a fool would rent a Porsche and pretend to be rich on a first date, thinking the initial wrong impression would be so impressive it would be forgiven later. The same is true when we promise our reader one thing with a title or opening paragraph and then deliver something entirely different. Lying is way too much trouble and it never ends well.
In writing, like dating, leave room for a little mystery
  • Third, DO give the other person a chance to get to know you. Nobody likes to be cornered by the insecure person who tells you her life story in an hours-long monologue. Information dumping, especially in fiction, comes across exactly like that. Make the reader curious and let them wonder about what’s to come. Leave a room for a little mystery and a bit of flirting. Trust me—it’s much more fun that way!
  • Finally, DON’T underestimate the intelligence of the one you’re with. None of us like to be talked down to—especially by someone we’ve just met. The same is true of readers. They often understand more than what we give them credit for.  We don’t have to beat them over the head with a point for them to get it. 

If you think about it you'll see these guidelines make sense. With writing, like blind dates, the first impression counts. Your first line is your reader’s first impression and many times it determines whether or not he will go any further in the relationship.

So how good are you at this writing/dating game? What kind of writers have you dated? Have you noticed any of these in the things you’ve read/written?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. Great analogy, Edie! I'm afraid I was a bad blind date in the early years. :-( I'm thankful God didn't give up on me and instead, allowed me to learn from my experiences!

  2. Love the title of this post. Eye-popping and intriguing. I'm still working on some of these, but I think it's getting better.

  3. Fabulous analogy! Glad I don't have to do the "date" thing anymore but still working on the other side of that analogy

  4. Vonda, I hate to think how awful I was when I first started writing! I was definitely one of those, in your face with my life story type people.
    Ellen, we're all still working on these. Remember...you never really arrive!
    Connie & Cindy, thank you! And yes, I'm glad I don't have to do the "date" thing anymore.
    Byron, thanks for stopping by!

  5. My husband just called me and I had to share.
    First, he subscribes to my blog, but as an engineer really only reads the Weekend Worship part. But he called to tell me he read today's post and thought it was really good. When I asked him why he read one of my writing posts this was his answer.
    "Well, I thought I should check and see what exactly my wife of 30+ years was doing writing about bling dates."
    Too funny - see titles can sometimes pull people in!

  6. Haha! Great post, Edie! I'm trying to be a better date--I mean writer! :)

  7. Love the analogy, and your title is definitely an attention-grabber! All I can hope to do is practice and improve :)

  8. Edie,

    A great post. Like your husband, I was drawn in by the title. Wish I'd'a thought of it!

    I remember one author in particular whose books were enthusiastically recommended by a person whose opinion I respect a great deal. I couldn't wait to get to the library. When I had the book checked out, I couldn't wait to get home. The book just had to be great.

    I opened it up and the 'f' bomb appeared a half dozen times in the first two pages. All in dialogue, but still....

    That was all the further that date went, let me tell you, and I have never been tempted to 'date' that author again, no matter who says what about his books!

    On the flip side, I just finished reading Illusion by Frank E. Peretti. Even though this book is nothing like any of his others, I enjoyed it immensely and felt no let down at all.

  9. Linda & Susan, I think we're all trying to get better!
    Carrie, that's great too. I think I'll add that to my list - giving you credit of course!

  10. I'll be thankful when the nervous, insecure, fumbling part of the date is over :) I look forward to the part when holding hands fits like a glove. Great insight. Thanks.

  11. I love that your title drew your husband in! It is a great title and I'm another one that wishes I'd thought of it.
    But it's so appropriate.

  12. LOL. I can hear Kirk's voice and see the smile on his face! Your'e definitely a great writer to emulate. Thanks for the amazing tips and analogies.

  13. Love the story about blind dates and your husband's call. Now that's funny!