Can Your Story Title Be Too Good?


Everything you’ve been told says that the story title will determine whether or not someone is interested enough to click open your story and start reading it. I’m here to tell you your title can be so good it can generate tons of interest, get people to make comments and post memes; all without reading one word of the story. Medium writers are now earning money strictly on reading time. A title that’s too good, can actually be self-defeating.

When writing about politics for example. People are so polarized, they have a negative or positive reaction based on the name Donald Trump. They go on to express their opinion without bothering to read the story. I have a couple of examples of titles that generated hundreds of likes and comments on Facebook and Twitter that didn’t translate to views and reads on Medium. Here are two:

  1. Should Donald Trump Receive a Pardon

View at Medium.com

2. Why We Need a White History Month

View at Medium.com

In both cases, people’s opinions were strong enough that they didn’t need to read the story to comment on it. I market my stories on Twitter and Facebook as well as submitting them to Medium publications. While on Medium, one would need to open the story to respond, Facebook patrons, in particular, seem to have no problem jumping straight to the comments without burdening themselves with the information contained within.

The solution would seem to be making the title intriguing, without being so precise that one needs no facts to render an opinion. The titles in these two cases did an outstanding job of getting a reaction and garnering interest. If you compare this situation to a conversation. People are sometimes more interested in talking than listening.

So how could these titles have been written to generate higher readership and less jumping the gun? The first title was a question that could be answered yes or no. People already know one way or another whether they think Trump should be pardoned. Instead of making the title a yes or no question. It could be transformed into a statement like; “The Pros and Cons of Trump Receiving a Pardon.” A subtitle might generate interest as well. How about, (What Happened When Nixon Got Pardoned?). This lets readers know there’s information contained that they won’t receive without reading the story. I’m betting readership would have been greatly increased.

The second title, “Why We Need a White History Month,” has an implicit criticism that might turn off some white readers. Maybe the title should have read, “American History That’s Never Been Told and Why It’s Important For Us to Know.” That title suggests that some information’s going to be delivered to us. It’s likely it would get more readers.

The time to pat attention to the title is before you press, “Publish.” Make sure your title is an accurate reflection of your story. Nobody wants to be misled. But also consider whether or not someone needs to actually read the story to respond to it; even if it’s a subject guaranteed to get their attention. I suppose my theory should be tested by changing the title and seeing what happens? I’ll give it a try and let you know the results.

P.S. The story I retitled as, “The Pros and Con of Trump Receiving a Pardon” was ultimately curated by Medium whereas the original was not. It was also accepted as a submission in a major publication. Nothing changed except the title and photo. Just saying.

View at Medium.com

How to Make Hundreds of Dollars a Month Writing For Medium


Yes, I said hundreds not thousands or tens of thousands. Like many of you, I read the tips from some of the top-earning writers on Medium. Many I find helpful and a few just aren’t for me. I have discovered that there are a few basic things everyone can do to maximize their earnings that no one seems to be talking about.

  1. Get Paid Every Time Someone Reads Your Stories

That sounds simple enough. Isn’t it an automatic thing that you get paid for every story you write? If you’re like me and started writing for Medium for a while before joining the Medium Partner Program. You might have dozens of stories that you haven’t made eligible to earn money. Go back and look at every story you’ve written, starting with the oldest first and examine the message above the headline that indicates whether the distribution setting is on? If it is, you’re golden, if not; edit the story, click on “Manage Distribution Setting” and make sure it’s on so you can start earning money.

2. Refresh a Good But Old Story

Some of those old stories you never got paid for might still have some life in them. Read them to see if they’re evergreen or could be updated to at least be current. You’re probably a much better writer than when you began or at least know what Medium and your readers are looking for. Publish your rewritten story as if it were new and all the followers you’ve added since you started writing will have a chance to read your story.

3. Start a Publication

I don’t see any of the top writers (who have one or two publications of their own) suggesting anyone else begin a publication. That’s because they’d rather you write for their publications; driving readers to their site where their stories will get read more as well. If there’s a topic you write about often. Start a publication which is far easier than you might imagine. Click on “Publications,” then in the upper right corner click, “New Publication,” and they’ll walk you through the whole thing. I encourage you to go all the way and establish a publication Twitter and Facebook page, I’m not tech-savvy but still got it all done in thirty minutes. The hardest part was picking an avatar and transparent background picture. The one I ultimately used wasn’t even transparent but works just fine

View at Medium.com

Then I sent all my publication-related stories to my new publication, forwarded each story to my publication and Facebook page, and Twitter. The most magical thing I was able to do then was go to the Facebook page and invite all my friends, all 4,897 of them, with one push of a button. Within two hours I had over 100 likes and the best story I’d pinned to the top had 40 reads and 9 fans. I’ve sent some relevant news articles to my Facebook page but 95% of the content is stuff I wrote, which when read by those logged into Medium, earns me bucks.

4. Put in Work

The simplest way to make money is to increase your followers. By my estimate, 50% of the people I follow, follow me back. If you clap fr my stories, I follow you. Highlight something, you get followed. I follow the people whose stories I like and they follow me back half the time. You have to click on every notification to see whether they’re already following you or not but it will be worth it in terms of added followers and additional reading time.

I haven’t yet made thousands of dollars on Medium. My largest payment to date was $857.39. But I make hundreds of dollars every month which puts me into the 90th percentile. I don’t write about sex although I have dabbled in romance. I generally write about politics, race, and equality, which aren’t always popular subjects. My top story lifetime has earned $1,380 since March and still churning along. This is that story:

View at Medium.com

5. Take a Little Extra Time to Find a Good Picture

Make an effort to select a picture that will intrigue the reader. Several readers actually inquired as to the bust in the photo in the story shown above. O had to research it myself to discover it was, “The Negress,” by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. I think that the picture was worth an additional 10% in earnings at a minimum. Don’t let your picture be an afterthought.

I’ve yet to try that write a story a day thing. I’ll bet that would have some positive effects as well. Good luck with your writing and join me in the hundreds. When I break the code to the next level I’ll pass it along.

Stories I Started But Didn’t Finish. Which One’s Deserve Completion?

Jared Kushner is a Baltimore Slumlord. Apartments Infested With Mice.

“We expect all landlords to comply with the code requirements that protect the health and safety of their tenants — even if the landlord’s father-in-law is President of the United States.” Baltimore County Officials

Donald Trump has been on a Twitter attack against Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings or the Maryland 7th District which covers most of the urban areas of Baltimore, and suburban Howard County. The median income is…

Say It Loud! I’m Racist And I’m Proud (A Pictoral Essay of Trump’s America)

Never got past the title on this one.

Will Joe Biden Maintain A Huge Share Of Black Votes?

Joe Biden entered his campaign for President leading by a large margin, much of it provided by black voters It mat seem counter-intuitive that Biden would be the recipient of so many black votes given there are two black United States Senators in the race; Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Black voters are highly pragmatic and are hesitant to throw their support to someone they believe cannot win. A June poll showed Biden getting 40% of the black vote. After the thrashing…

When Conservatives Try To Tell You What You Need To Be Concerned About

I often visit a legal blog,

“Tis Better To Have Loved And Lost…”

Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.” I’m observing more and more that singles of my generation are giving up on the prospects of love, deciding the risk of losing it, greater than they could bear.

They tell themselves and others that they want love but create insurmountable barriers to preclude any possibility. Love doesn’t come with a warranty and should it fail you don’t get your investment in time, money, and emotions back.

This settling for not love manifests itself in many ways with even more justifications. Some wistfully dream of love but create an impossible standard, forged to avoid the shortcomings of all that came before. Any imperfection is sufficient to eliminate potential candidates whilst the person in judgment can pretend they’re, “still trying.” More than once I’ve heard women want someone to be, “like my father.” Reflecting on the unconditional love shown them over a lifetime. Others with a different paternal relationship, pine for what their father never was to them.

Men in their pride and stoic resolve, typically can’t admit even to themselves that they long for love. Instead, they settle for something less which gets them some of the trappings without those sticky commitments and the risk associated with them. Some women do the same, having “friends” on their own terms, giving themselves the illusion of control.

The bottom line is that fear is far more dominant than hope and people are choosing to avoid love, even stay in loveless marriages and relationships. All for not wanting to put themselves through the emotional upheaval that comes with falling in and out of love.

The Trump Presidency. How Did You Really Think This Would End?

I probably will get to this one.

Untitled

When the government does something so heinous they have to hide what they’re doing, you know it’s bad. They have released a few photos of teenage boys playing video games, mostly a different group of immigrants than those forcefully separated from their parents at the border. No sign of the girls and toddlers? Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Director Kirstjen Nielson said she “didn’t know,” where the girls were? She also said the Trump administration doesn’t have the policy to separate children from their parents, although Chief of Staff John Kelly, Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, and even President Donald Trump say differently. Nobody has said where the girls and toddlers are?


We’ve heard from a few of the girls on an unauthorized audiotape released by Pro Publica. We heard young girls, reportedly between ages 4–6, crying for their parents. Calling for their mama or papa, in one case asking if her aunt could pick her up? Those young girls are somewhere… the government won’t tell us.


Trump doesn’t want you to see pictures beyond the few his DHS department has released. They tell us of comfort, security, health services, and games. Cameras are not allowed in. Elected officials are mostly turned away. Those few that have seen inside speak of cages, mylar blankets spread out on the floor, what under any other circumstance would be called child abuse of the boys that have been seen. Where are the girls? Where are the toddlers? Why won’t the government show us or tell us? Our government is now being compared unfavorably to Boko Haram, holding girls hostage to attain a political gain. What trauma is Trump willing to inflict to get his wall?


The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned America for its policy of stripping children from their parents. Trump and U.N. Secretary Nikki Haley responded by withdrawing its membership in the Human Rights Council. The United States and Human Rights are no longer to be mentioned in the same sentence without drawing attention to the hypocrisy of the Trump Administration. Where are the girls? Where are the toddlers?


Trump blames the Democrats on what he and Sessions did. John Kelly spoke of this very policy a year ago. The latest polls show 55& of Republicans are in favor of this zero-tolerance policy. If Republicans hate so much being seen as racist, perhaps they should stop doing racist things?


The children fleeing to this country from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico are seeking refuge from the certain terror and possibly death they face at home from gangs and cartels. They undertake dangerous journeys under the calculation that it is the only chance for safety and perhaps life itself. Some are under threats of being killed unless they pay money they do not have. They get to America… land of the free, only to see their children kidnapped, some never to be returned, until Trump blackmails the legislature to give him what he wants, using children as pawns.


Sooner than later, the girls and toddlers will be found and the conditions they have been placed in will be revealed. What will be the result of the trauma these children and their parents are facing at the hands of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, Kristjen Nielson, and the 55% of Republicans that support them. The girls and toddlers will be found, their stories will be told, and the blame will be certain. But for now… where are the girls? Where are the toddlers?

I usually write a story in one sitting. Some require additional research but I turn off all distractions and write until I’m finished. These are the stories where that didn’t happen and for whatever reason never got finished. I have from time to time mined the unfinished stories and completed them. These are the orphans. Let me know which ones deserve life?

AAMBC Literary Awards Nominee: Glory Edim


The full title describing Glory Edim nominations would read something like; AAMBC Literary Awards Nominee for, “Literary Activist of the Year” and “Book Club of the Year.” The Awards are being held June 7–10, 2018 in Atlanta, GA.

In August, 2015, Glory started a book club to connect with like-minded women in Brooklyn, beginning with an analysis of Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Between The World And Me.” Last year, I wrote a story about Glory and her book club. “Well Read Black Girl,” (WRBG) which then had over 20,000 followers.

https://enigmainblack.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/glory-edim-shadow-warrior/

Ten months later, WRBG has over 50,000 members and is growing exponentially. The club has an International presence, yet also has monthly meetings and literary events where she hosts black female authors from across the diaspora. Guests have included authors; Naomi Jackson, Yaa Gyasi, Margo Jefferson, Angela Flournoy and Jacqueline Woodson. LaShonda Barnett even invited the group to her home.


On April 20th Glory will receive the, 2017 Innovator of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Times. Carolyn Kellogg, Times Books editor said, “We are delighted that our Innovator’s Award will go to Glory Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl. Going from a hashtag to a cultural force, Well-Read Black Girl created a vital new space for literary discussion and engagement.”

In addition to providing a forum for her members, WRBG provides resources to aspiring authors. Every meeting has what Edim calls, “the resource share,” where “we’re talking about things that are happening in the community, or we have announcements about workshops or residencies … or if there’s a conference happening … we’re talking about what everyone’s needs are, what’s happening in the literary space.” Last September she hosted the WRBG Writers Conference and Festival, putting authors in the same room with publishers and literary agents.


As if all this weren’t enough, Glory is currently editing her own book, “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves.” The AAMBC Journal will provide information about its release. WRBG produces a newsletter, and hosts live Twitter chats. Glory is partnering with “Raising Mothers” to bring monthly reading suggestions for both parent and child. Brooklyn Magazine once called Glory, “The Future of Reading.” They may have underestimated her. Glory Edim, AAMBC Literary Awards nominee for “Literary Activist of the Year,” and, “Book Club of the Year.”

Discover Tamika Newhouse: Shadow Warrior


“You Don’t Know My Story

You Don’t Know the Things That I’ve Come Through

You Cannot Imagine…”

It is only fitting that the first “Shadow Warrior” since moving to the AAMBC Journal would be Tamika Newhouse. Shadow Warriors recognizes those who are doing outstanding work in the community and have yet to receive the national acclaim that is on their way. Tamika is already nationally known as an entrepreneur; her Delphine Publications has published over 200 books and she personally has written 16 novels. She founded the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) and the AAMBC Literary Awards which is the only entertainment award show for black writers. None of that has anything to do with her selection. You don’t know her story.


You probably could know her story because she’s always telling it, if you could only keep up. Her story is to take every setback and turn it into motivation. Every obstacle is a challenge to overcome. Negativity is alternately ignored or used as a motivation.

“Regardless of what they say; all that matters is what you say!”

But this isn’t a story of how she overcame great odds and became a success. It’s a story of how she makes sure to bring people with her along the way. Showing them how to get out of the hole because she’s already been there and knows the way.

“Find people who have the same focus, the same ambition, the same consistency as you and link arms with them and see what you can get done TOGETHER!”

Tamika was the baby of her family, the “odd one” who always ended up alone. She experienced teen pregnancy and endured the mental abuse from her peers, yet she still had a dream bigger than herself. She still graduated with her class and had embraced writing which allowed her to pursue her dream. Then her mother, Delphine, passed away. She turned that grief into motivation and completed her first novel which won her the “Author of the Year,” at the African-American Literary Awards. She dedicated her life to reflect who her mother was by launching Delphine Publications. She signed other authors and helped them achieve their dreams as well. You might look at it as simply business, but her authors also reflect her dream, and she pours into them as she would her own child.


“I remind myself that I am going to win, because as tough as things get and as many challenges as I have had to face in my life. I have never stopped believing in myself and my dream.”

Ten years later, you can barely keep up with Tamika. Her sixteenth novel, “Plain Jane 2,” is dropping shortly. She’s beginning a National Tour with, “The Queen Pens,” featuring Jessica N. Watkins, Shantoinette Richardson (Myss Shan), Shonda Devaughn, and herself. Queen Pens is Tamika’s concept. The “Queens” are not authors from Delphine Publications but fellow publishers with their own companies. She could see them as formidable competitors but instead views them as part of the creative community with whom she can work with instead of oppose.


She recently took a long overdue vacation which lasted all of 48 hours. We probably need to talk to Tamika about the definition of vacation. She says, “I may allow myself a week after the Awards.”

By the Awards she means the AAMBC Literary Awards to be held June 7–10, in Atlanta, GA. The Awards will feature a stop of the Queen Pens tour, live performances, an Urban Book Bash, celebrities, parties, book signings and much more.


Included in the events is CreativeCon, a free conference bringing emerging literary creatives together with educators and skilled professionals in publishing and film. It includes tips on branding, self-publishing, screenwriting, a pitch fest to a Hollywood panel, a Head Shot Party and several speakers including of course, Tamika Newhouse.

Tamika has immersed herself in the AAMBC Literary Awards, except for the several other projects she’s juggling. While doing all this, she’s bringing others along, helping them achieve their goals and reach their dreams.


“Creating platforms for black creatives has been my life’s focus simply because we have to push our own. We have been conditioned for far too long for subpar support. I want us to be seen for the real stars that we are.”

The AAMBC Literary Awards will come and go. Tamika will be off soon on a different project and may well let that one-week vacation slip until another time. What she won’t do is stop believing in her dream, finding other dreamers to help achieve theirs, provided they have the drive and will to achieve them. Her nickname is, “Bosslady” yet she’s as down to earth and accessible as anyone you’ll ever meet. Tamika is indeed a Shadow Warrior!

Shadow Warriors will be published monthly at its new home in the AAMBC Journal. We are always looking for nominees and welcome your input in the comments. Discover previous Shadow Warriors at: Shadow Warriors

“Shadow Warriors” Moves to AAMBC Journal


On January 7, 2017 a new series called, “Shadow Warriors” was launched by William Spivey on his Enigma In Black blog. The goal was to highlight individuals and groups that were doing great things in the community that might not yet have gotten the national recognition they deserve. After a full year and having saluted some fantastic honorees. Shadow Warriors is moving to the AAMBC Journal where it will continue to honor those who are putting in serious work, whether you know who they are or not.

William Spivey said, “The move to the AAMBC Journal will give additional exposure to the “Warriors” which is the goal after all. I’ve been writing for the Journal since it’s inception and found it a natural platform for me and a lot of what I write about. The AAMBC Journal is hosted by Medium and articles tend to get noticed by additional sites. It’s a perfect situation and fits in with my overall goal to have my voice heard and make a difference.”


The first Shadow Warrior published by the AAMBC Journal will appear on March 7th and approximately each month afterward. Please feel free to submit any suggestions for honoree’s in the comments section or by email at spiveywilliamf@gmail.com.

William Spivey is a staff writer for the AAMBC Journal and a regular contributor to the Inner-City News where he writes about all manner of things socially relevant. He also blogs as “Enigma in Black” where he explores poetry, religion, and politics. He is the founder of the Facebook pages Average Citizen Forum, Enigma in Black, and “Strong Beginnings.”

The Risk In Dating A Writer


I write quite a bit. Most of what I write about is politics, race, and education. But I also have written a romance novel (soon to be published) and write articles about relationships and love. Generally speaking, writers write about subjects they’re familiar with. If you lived your whole life in New York, chances are that will be the setting for your musings. A war correspondent will write about wars. A romance writer will write about romances, the ones he’s familiar with, the ones he’s been in.

When you date a firefighter or a policeman, there are certain risks you’re aware of when undertaking a relationship. If you date a drug dealer, there’s a good chance that you get caught up in their mess before it’s over. It you date a member of the clergy; your behavior will be watched closely. It comes with the territory. When you date a writer, one always searching for material to write about. One day he might write about you!

For the first time I had someone pull back from me a little when they realized they might one day be the subject of conversation. After reading all my Medium pieces about relationships and seeing in print some of the same things I’d said about my past. She said, “I have to watch what I say around you.”

Much to the chagrin of my agent, I try especially hard to consider the people I write about and not to hurt feelings and cause pain. I’m not the one to put people on blast in public for imagined slights and detail break-ups like its everyone’s business. I try to write about people anonymously. My children read my pieces (if they’re not too long) and I probably give too much consideration as to what they’ll think along with any people I write about.

It gets a little difficult if I write about my college years because through the magic of social media, I’m friends with hundreds of people I went to school with long ago who all have long memories. One writer friend seems to only date people who aren’t on Facebook, lest they see the play-by-play of their relationship show up in their newsfeed.

So, let me issue this disclaimer:

I, William Spivey will do my utmost to respect anyone I may be in a relationship with in my writings. I will never call you out by name for any action good or bad without express consent. I do however, reserve the right to recapture experiences in my writings and you may recognize yourself in blog pieces or in characters in a novel.

Love Letters


Love letters don’t get the credit they should. Overlooked in favor of Facetiming, Snapchat and Instant Messages, they go unappreciated as a form of communication.

The first letter I wrote to a woman was while on summer vacation from college. It wasn’t to a girlfriend, although I had a serious crush on her. I was incredibly shy and never got up the nerve to tell her I liked her. Like others who snoozed, I lost. She soon had a boyfriend and as fate would have it. I later dated (and married) someone who ended up being her roommate for a year. Rumor has it the letters I wrote that summer still exist and I’m curious as to what my twenty-year-old self had to say?

I later wrote letters to that girl I married while I was doing a summer internship in Cincinnati while she was in Georgia. They (along with a $400 phone bill) ensured we stayed in contact and no doubt enhanced our relationship.

It was many years later when I found myself writing love letters once more. They were to a woman in the Midwest, starting as a romantic gesture on a dare. She said, “Nobody write’s love letters anymore, write me a letter?”

We had just started communicating with each other and neither of us was in love. But once challenged, I had little recourse but to write. It was the beginning of the most intense and introspective communications in my life.

I often lose arguments because I don’t think of what I should have said until the moment has passed. I think I’m undefeated when it comes to love letters. Given time to compose a letter I’m a dangerous man.

The letters were about so much more than persuasion and seduction. They forced me to consider my past and my future, what I really want vs. what I’d always told myself? What was the place for God in my relationship? What is love, anyway?

I happen to think love letters can play an important role in any relationship whether after the first date or twenty years in. If one regularly writes letters to their significant other, they become even more significant. They occupy your mind as you consider your next topic. You say the things you sometimes forget to say including “Thank you,” and “I love you” in a setting outside of bed. I challenge those out there to write their loved one a letter and request a reply. I’ll bet good things happen!

The letters I wrote have been compiled and are on target to be released as a book around Valentine’s Day. I’m amazed at some of the things I learned as I wrote because writing brings me focus. Couldn’t we all use a little more focus in our relationships? Try writing a love letter!

How Much Do I Owe My Readers?

 

I will ultimately get to the point of answering the question, “How much do I owe my readers when I blog about topics like relationships and dating?” Let me first say that I’ve written a romance novel that I’m trying to get published that is quite different than what I normally write which is politics, history, family and more politics. I have a writing coach that has seen me through the arduous task of editing the book so she has come to know what I think and feel about a variety of subjects related to love and she has encouraged me to write more in that vein. When I say encourage I would like to say assign but that would be a little harsh, she invites me to consider that which she wants me to do. If I hesitate she temporarily lets the subject drop, knowing she’ll come back to it in a different way. She’s relentless.

She means it all for my good. She wants me to “build a fan base” and “have a platform” which will translate to people wanting to read everything I write and buy my book when it comes out so I see the logic. She “suggested,” I write a piece for the “Good Men Project” that she thought might serve me well. Having run out of excuses I agreed to look at the site and have something ready the next day so I came back with this:

 

“When You Don’t Know What You Want

Sometimes you know far more about what you don’t want in a relationship than what you do. I have a theory (you’ll find I have many theories) that people are somewhat defined by their greatest pain and that they will do much not to repeat that hurt. While not always perceived to be true, men can come out of failed relationships just as hurt and damaged as women, although pride may well keep them from saying so. These are some of the things men do after it’s over:

  1. Time Out – Some men will simply avoid relationships for a period of time while they prepare themselves to get back into something serious. This could entail total avoidance and abstaining or could allow for meaningless sex, requiring flight at the first sign that things are getting crucial. It may be impossible to correlate their actions and words with their ultimate deeds because these men may be extremely romantic. They are quite capable of being tender, holding and caressing which they do not because they are in love; but because they love the feeling associated with being able to make their partner feel good. They might be affectionate lovers, but not want to spend the night or be there for breakfast conversation.
  2. Trying to Get Her Back – This man isn’t content with the resolution of the relationship and won’t be satisfied until he’s done all he can to get her back. Phone calls, flowers, apologies… promise of change. I have another theory that you never truly know someone until you live with them, or until you break up. For the person on the receiving end of this possibly unwanted attention. Being nice can easily be construed as giving hope, so firm and clear is the way to go if you don’t want him back. He may dwell in a dystopian reality imagining how wonderful your relationship was and how perfect it will be again, if she would only take him back. This is a period not unlike madness and while it often eventually fades as reality sets in. Be wary!
  3. Serial Monogamy – This man want’s to be in love whether to prove he can move on or to duplicate feelings that translate somewhere to self-esteem. He moves quickly, fast to express his “love”, assuming without discussing, wanting the shell of a relationship without establishing a core. While it’s possible he will accidentally find his soul mate and come to have true love, the likelihood is small.
  4. Man-Whore – I heard this expression just yesterday and am taking some unexplainable pride in now using man-whore in a sentence. He’ll literally do anybody because he is at least temporarily equating conquest with success. I suppose one good thing you can say about this fellow is that he is not limited by shape, size, race or any surface considerations. Getting you in his bed or yours is sufficient. He walks the thin line between not wanting a relationship and having the ability to go back for seconds and thirds.
  5. Looking for Love – This man wants to get married and considers marriage his natural state. He has a list of criteria and begins checking off items on your first date as to whether you will be a good spouse or perhaps a good mother to existing or future children. He has high standards, perhaps impossible, but because he’s at least willing to be serious about love and marriage, women might contort themselves in an attempt to live up to his expectations. Others may perceive him as a “good catch”, placing shade on the woman who he didn’t appreciate. When you meet this man he is from day one drawing up a marriage contract that he will expect you never to deviate from without it being considered bait and switch.

All of these men are capable of change although recognition of the need to do so may come slowly. If you are relying on your ability to change them or see them much differently than they actually are. There may be some self-examination required on your part. I submit that there is hope from a seemingly unlikely source; the man who doesn’t know what he wants.

The man who doesn’t know what he wants has achieved some level of enlightenment and is willing to consider the fact that none of us (including himself) is perfect and is willing not only to accept but perhaps find endearing some of the flaws you both possess. He is more likely to be honest than the man following a more proscribed agenda. He is more likely to value communication than he that is more goal oriented whether it be sleeping with a woman, marrying her, or putting another notch in his belt. To the man who has realized he doesn’t know what he wants I have a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t Settle – This man often knows very much what he doesn’t want and often having is not so great a thing as wanting. Time spent with someone you know you don’t want, is time you’ll never get back. You can also be blocking future blessings by not having space for that potential soulmate because you elected to chose a cellmate simply for companionship.
  2. Be Honest – You don’t need to have it all together in terms of knowing what you want. Men work so hard at trying to be what they think women want that they create a character much different than the real you. Honesty is sexy! Your fear that women will reject you by saying you don’t know what you want is misplaced. Those that do are perhaps so rigid in their specific needs that you can consider it part of your screening process. They simply self-deported (thanks Mitt Romney for that contribution to the lexicon).
  3. Self-Assess – Lingering in a perpetual state of unawareness is not acceptable. Women will work with you if you are working with them. If you aren’t challenging yourself to narrow the parameters of your choice, then not knowing what you want becomes an excuse. It’s simply not caring enough to work it out. Assess your experiences, what have you learned? I’ve been married twice for extended periods of time. It is not possible that I have learned nothing thru that experience whether it be about my partner’s behavior of my own. What are you unwilling to endure? Will each new possible romance accept you for who you are or do they require you maintain a facade? You can never know how they will react to the real you without sharing the real you.
  4. What is Your Greatest Pain? – I began by saying that people will go to great lengths to avoid repeating their greatest pain. I extend the challenge to not only discover your greatest pain but to relate it to someone with whom you believe might just be what you want. It will require an openness and honesty most uncommon, but the potential reward is far greater than the possible loss. If you and your prospective love can share with each other what you have learned about relationships, how you’ve been hurt and how that has informed your decisions. You’ll be on a road that could take you not just where you desire but to a greater love than ever imagined.

So much about finding a partner is based on chance. We meet people and accept and reject sometimes in moments, based on the skimpiest of evidence. Should you meet someone that doesn’t know what they want, I submit they present a world of possibilities.” So don’t reject out of hand the man who doesn’t know what he wants. Instead, if interested, consider it the starting point of a conversation.”

 

Having given her the piece, I thought I was pretty much through and when she initially read it she liked it which theoretically meant I was off the hook. The first sign I wasn’t through was when she sent me a message requesting we “read thru the article”. Reading thru the work which is basically me reading aloud what I’ve written is a valuable editing tool because it’s easy to spot some of the grammatical errors and tricky sentences once you say them out loud. I am the “King of the run-on sentence” and I know the end result will be a better product. I also knew she wanted to suggest some changes which she will help me discover while I read.

 

Let me say that my writing coach is sometimes the worst writing coach in the world. If she calls and asks me what I’m doing and I reply, “I’m writing”. Most people would look at that as a sign that I’m busy and request a better time or make the conversation brief. I think the words, “I’m writing” is taken as a personal challenge to extend the conversation as long as possible and keep me from engaging in the activity she’s supposed to be supporting.  Other times however, her ability to deconstruct a piece and see what’s missing is amazing and I know that my novel is ten times the work it was when I initially sent her what I initially wrote. The bottom line was that she said for me to write a piece like that in this particular forum, I needed to basically pour out my soul. She wanted to speak of my personal experiences and relationships and what I’ve learned, what mistakes I’ve made and what I would do differently. I tried to explain that, “this is why I write fiction”. I choose to draw on all my experiences to make complex characters that are realistic. If one wants to surmise that those are my specific experiences they are welcome to infer but I still have maintained some semblance of privacy.

She told me that I was welcome to make any choice I wanted but if I wrote for that forum I owed the readers more of myself. As you can see I chose to publish this piece in my own Blog and save the Good Men Project or other similar publications for another time. Perhaps someday I’ll write about me instead of stuff, but for now, I dole it out a bit at a time. I am after all named Enigma!

babs one

 

 

For anyone who wants to contact the worst writing coach in the world (except when she’s the best). She’s Babz Rawls Ivy at mediababz@gmail.com