Keeping Your Muse Alive in a Swipe Right World : Writing Romance While Searching For Your Own

Dating man.  It’s the pits.  First it starts off fun.  You get the high off of that “You’re a Match!” And you’re so amped that cute guy (or girl but in my case it’s a guy so we’re going to stick with that for now) that you swiped right on, also swiped right on you.

Eventually one of you says hi, you get to talking, you finally agree to meet up.

The day of the real life meeting arrives.  You’re dressed to the nines, wearing that dress that shows just enough curve without giving away the whole farm. Your look says, “yeah I’ve got it going on, but you don’t know just how much…yet.”

You’re nervous, but excited.  The conversation between the two of you, via text but it’s 2017 so whatevs, has been witty, flirtatious and fun.  You arrive at the restaurant he chose, pleasantly surprised by the ambiance and it’s 1930s decor.  You think how thoughtful it was of him to pick this place, knowing your love of The Great Gatsby.

He listens to you, he pays attention.

Warmth pools in your belly at the thought, causing a small smile to play across your lips. You open the door and walk in to see him standing at the front waiting for you, like a gentlemen.  He smiles as he sees you, obviously pleased.  Warmth hits your cheeks, the soft pink only adding to the feminine look you spent nine hours putting together.  You softly say “hello,” as you hold out your hand to shake his, and as his hand grasps yours you can’t help but notice how strong, warm, and masculine it is.

Just. Like. Him.

Oh god, he’s just as handsome, if not more so than his pictures.  This. Is. GREAT.

The waiter tells you your table is ready, and you follow with his hand on your lower back, lightly guiding you. Just like in the books! Eek!

You sit, as does he, and the evening becomes a song, the food, drinks, and conversation flowing melodically.  It couldn’t be more perfect if you had written it.

Because that’s what you do.  You write.  About the best thing in the world.  Love.  And you’ve been searching for your own.  And it has finally come.

The check comes, and even though you don’t want to go, you remind yourself it’s only the first date and use this as the perfect ladylike out.  You demurely reach for your purse before he interjects, “No, no. I’ve got it.”

He passed the last test.  You don’t mind paying for your own meal but you’re old fashioned and appreciate when a man pays for the first date. You smile sweetly as you say, “Thank you.”

He walks you to your car, and you stand beside it for a moment, neither one of you knowing what to say, not quite ready to say goodbye.

“I had a lovely time,” you say as you bring your chin up to meet his gaze.  Because of course, even when you’re in heels, he’s a good two to three inches taller than you.  The perfect height.

“I did too,” he says smiling at you, and you can’t help but melt at the cute little dimple on his chin.  He brings one arm up to rest on the roof of your car, cocooning you against the driver’s door and his body. Perfectly sheilding you for any prying glances, while also adding pulse-racing intimacy.

And then he leans in and kisses you.

It’s the best first kiss you’ve ever had.

And that’s how you know you’ve met your soul mate.

From then on, writing romance is a cinch because you live it every day with your perfect guy.


What really happens is after that kiss, you go home giddy at the prospect of this new perfect guy, waiting for that inevitable moment when he texts you saying he has to see you again and asks you out for a second perfect date.

But it never comes.

Then you find out that he didn’t pick that restaurant just for you.  Because your friend Jessica also went on a date with him and he took her to the same restaurant.  As did your friends Lesley, Amanda, and Nicole.  It’s his go to restaurant.

Your friends Kat, Chelsea, and Tiffany also matched with him but never actually got to the date phase because they were preoccupied with other matches.

Your friends Lauren and Natalie, much to their horror when they find out, both slept with him.

Both agree he was so-so.

You are FURIOUS.  You feel duped.  You feel dumb for spending so much time and money on that new outfit, and the three hours it took you to get ready.  Not to mention the time you wasted putting together the perfect texts, or talking to him when you should have been writing.

And the worst part of it all…you didn’t even get laid.  DAMN IT!

So you say “SCREW GUYS,” and you delete your dating apps and vow to spend time finishing your current WIP because THAT’S the guy you want in your life.  Not these app using, bro whores. (Disclaimer not all dudes on dating apps are fuckboys, as my sister met my brother-in-law on one.)

You feel better now that you’ve deleted your accounts. Free and refreshed.  Ready to take on that blank page. You sit down to computer, put your hands to the keyboards, and…nothing.

Because fuckboy may not have fucked you, but he fucked your muse.

And now you can never write romance again.

Fuck. That.

We’re not going to let them win!  Instead we’re going to use them to our benefit because we a boss ass bitch. Here’s how:

1. Pick a guy and use his pictures/dating bio to write his character description.  Doesn’t matter if he’s a swipe left or swipe right.   Write what he looks like.  This is a great warm-up, and who knows may be your next hero/villain.

2. Write the date like you wish it went.  Bad dates are the worst. But you’re a creative.  Create the perfect date for your heroine/hero.

3. Take that cringe-worthy moment and make it funny.   Or make it happen to them instead of you.  Because you’re perfect and never cringe-worthy.

4. Asshole = villain.   My current bad guy says lines that a guy actually said to me.  In my mind one day his mom and sister are talking about my book (which they LOVED, duh) and talk about what a total dickwad the villain is and he just sits there dying inside knowing its him.  That would be bliss.

5. Fuckboys = guy you kill off. Need I say more?

6. Use the scenery to world build.  Bright side of dating?  Sometimes the date sucks but the food rocks.  Go back by yourself, take your computer, and write a scene that happens there.  A better scene than your date.  A happier scene.  A scene where there’s bottomless guacamole.

7. Turn date into research opportunity.  Okay so not all guys are going to be the villain.  Some guys are going to be SO NICE, and the conversation will be really good, but there’s something missing.  Something like the urge to climb them like a tree and breathlessly say, “let’s do this.”  That something’s kind of important.  But the lack of it doesn’t mean you have to cut the date short.  If anything ask them about their job, their hobbies, whatever they like that you find interesting but know nothing about.  It’s free research! Just pay for you half at the end because you don’t want to be a fuckgirl.

8. When you’re mad/frustrated/want to scream write conflict/angry sex scene.  My favorite angry sex scene I wrote after literally throwing my phone because a guy wrote the most infuriating grossest thing to me.  I was so pissed off I’d even given myself a smidgen of hope that I finally, FINALLY, found someone I could connect with in the dating world from hell that when he dropped his facade and showed his true fuckboy I. Was. LIVID.  And of course it was in the middle of a writing sprint when I shouldn’t have checked my phone.  But I did.  And it killed my creative flow.  But I have a “fuck you” mindset so instead of wallowing in my rage I had my heroine say what I wanted to say.  Then I had my hero tell her to get over herself, because real men aren’t like that, and then THEY DID IT.  AND THEY DID IT SO WELL.  And it was HOT.  Shoot it was fucking FIRE.  So fuck you fuckboy!

9. Remember romance exists.  That’s why we write what we write.  Because we believe everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they’ve faced, no matter where they come from, no matter what the world says otherwise can find love. So don’t let this world of dating change that.  Ever.

10. When they say, “are you here to find inspiration?”  Say “bitch, please”  and remove them from your matches immediately.  Psh.  Cocky ass men trying to think they live up to multiple orgasm standards are always the ones who last about five seconds and don’t give oral.  AKA  THE WORST.

Now go write that HEA babe.  It’s only a matter of time before you get yours.