Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Writing Bug

While I'm not looking to change careers, I've been thinking a lot about broadening my horizons and developing skills sets or side gigs or introductions to using a different part of my brain. Last night I saw an advertisement for a copywriting class. You know, one of those "people say you can't make a living as a writer, but one of my students is now making $8,500 a month and setting her own hours" type of pitches. I'm not looking for a lucrative hustle and I know less than nothing about copywriting, but my wordsmithing has been in high demand lately, so it took very little for me to climb down the internet rabbit hole. Turns out there is a website (or several) where you submit a writing sample and then folks who need something written in a certain voice hire you to produce on demand. Since the bulk of my writing is crafting carefully phrased emails of a sensitive professional nature, I'm not sure my existing portfolio would suffice. So, this may be a one-and-done post, but I'm going to start with the intent of writing a variety of samples. They say write what you know, so while the freelance-writer-for-hire website suggested something more akin to a travel blog, I'm starting with this: 

“Are you on any meds?” My mind fumbled a little bit through the words forward and backward and forward again to make sure I had understood correctly. I would expect the question if I were filling out admission paperwork in an Urgent Care. Less expected on a second date. Of course, the first date had a nice awkward middle when he informed me that he was not interested in switching churches, so “let’s talk about religion.” Apparently, he missed the unofficial, nonexistent class on what topics to avoid on a first—or second—date. I thought everyone took that class. Instead, I was trapped in a car with a guy traumatized by a past girlfriend who was bipolar (and on medication for it, obviously) and determined to learn the medical history of every potential romantic interest before things went too far. This is the price I pay for being single more than a decade removed from college, when every possible organic avenue for meeting people has been exhausted. Sports leagues? Check. Work happy hours? Check. Blind date with a friend of a friend? Check. Speed dating? Not organic, but still tried it three times. A girl reaches a point where she’s pretty sure it’s her, right up until the point where prescriptions are suddenly more important than hobbies. Then it’s definitely him. We also managed to hit politics before the end of the date, at which point he told me he didn’t see us working out. Darn. Atrocious conversation skills aside, this gem got me thinking about human connection and the desire that lives deep inside all of us to be known. What questions can you ask to uncover the heart of someone? What sneaks below the superficial banality of typical introductions? I’m the prototypical melancholic introvert, which means that when I meet someone who could become important in my life, I want to skip the pleasantries and dive straight into what makes them tick.  The easiest path to this is to get them talking about something they’re passionate about, regardless of what that might be. Not only is passion attractive—a benefit when the person you are attempting to learn is your date—but it is also contagious. Even the political, religious, psychiatric-medication-obsessed weirdo was attractive when talking about his passions. My point is, there’s a better way to get to someone talking about passions than “What do you like to do for fun?” We’ve lost the art of conversation. Blame the online dating profiles that give you all the details before you even meet. But I think the art is in the ask. Try “What experience in the last five years has made you feel most fully yourself?” Or “If you could live one day over again, which would it be.” I’m literally making these up on the spot, not that I haven’t thought a lot about it. Even for someone who’d rather eat bugs than talk to a stranger, it can’t be as hard as we make it. I guess I could always just start with “What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked on a date?”

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I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.