The number one rule of being a writer is that you have to write. This is the same in any pursuit (say, dating). If you want to be good at it, you have to do it regularly. You need to write a lot of crappy words to come up with the good ones and you need to go on dates with a lot of duds to find the right one.
Writing and dating intersect in the online world. A blank profile is useless. You must be able to write one that attracts the type of person you are looking for, and when you match, you must be able to carry on a decent written conversation long enough to get to the in-person date. And if the person you want to date is a writer, well, you had better have some serious writing skills. Because we’re judging. It’s inevitable. In addition to physical attraction, my willingness to meet someone is based largely on how well they abide by the rules of good writing.
Show, Don’t Tell
This guy claims to be “amazing”. What does that mean? He might be amazing, but is he amazing for me? What are the behaviors and passions that make him amazing? I have no idea if we have anything in common. And what is a “special connection” for him? I never reach out to profiles like this because they haven’t given me information I could use to initiate a conversation.
Be Clear and Specific
This one is also a bit more tell than show (and too negative to capture my interest) but more to the point, what is happening in the last paragraph? What does “YES, that woman 100” mean? What is the fire emoji for? What is “huckleberry”? Using all emojis would be more descriptive than this. Writers have to strike a balance between not assuming their readers have certain knowledge and not patronizingly spelling everything out. They have to be certain readers are able to catch their references. This guy is failing.
Make Sure Every Scene Moves the Plot Forward
If a guy has successfully written an appealing profile and we match, his job as a writer isn’t done. He’s got to successfully engage in written dialogue. Guys who don’t know what a conversation is are my biggest pet peeve. I wrote about this last year. It’s simple – ask questions. So many guys don’t understand this simple concept. Show you read my profile and are interested in me. Engage. This isn’t an interrogation and I’m not going to chase you down and beg you talk to me. If you answer my question and then fail to drive the plot forward with a follow up of your own, the story is over.
Don’t Use Clichés
One out of five online dating profiles uses the phrase “looking for a partner in crime”. This guy didn’t have it in his profile but threw it into our first interaction. Maybe I was having a bad day, but I deleted him as soon as his message popped up. I just can’t deal with that phrase any more. Really? We’re going to rob banks together? We’re going to call the elderly and pretend to be the IRS collecting money? Maybe we’ll become poachers or identity thieves. Why stop there—let’s go on a mass murder spree!
Similar to not using clichés, don’t be dull. If you bore your reader, they will put your book down and not return. And that’s what I do when, despite my robust and informative profile and photos, the only thing someone can think to ask me is “how’s your day” or “how was your weekend”. Could you put any less effort into this? If you can’t try, neither can I.
What Does a Good Profile Look Like in My Opinion?
Here are three that I connected with. Simple, unique, and intriguing. Fodder for conversation. I know most people aren’t writers but 75 good words aren’t much to ask for, and all three of these non-professional and non-recreational writers prove it can be done.