Stat Shot: A Struggling Writer

From the struggling wanna-be writer files: I updated my stat-spreadsheet and here are the results

10: Number of stories submitted at least once
32: Total # of submissions
3: # of stories sold/placed
22: Rejections (or failed to place in a contest)
4: No Responses 180+ Days – I assume these to have died – almost all are 1 year now and I think 2 of the markets are defunct
1: Waiting on Acceptance/Rejection
2: Withdrawals – One because someone published it first the other because I noticed after submitting that publisher doesn’t take Sim Subs.

Most submitted story went out 9 times and was accepted (1) rejected (6) – and had 2 non-responses one of which I realized with abject horror was because I failed to attach the story to the email submitting it … which is either 1) Proof of my “diminished capacity” and rank amateur status or 2) Lucky for me because it was a non-paying market and the guys who accepted it will GIVE ME $25. $25 AMERICAN DOLLARS! AND 2 COPIES! HELL YEAH!

So that’s that.

As far as rejections go 4 were personal, 18 form. Two of those personal rejections were very kindly worded and encouraging. I don’t need it – form is good enough – but a kind word goes a long way in this biz and I’ll remember it.

My goal is to get that submission number up because you can’t sell if you don’t submit. I have lots of excellent product “on the shelf” – time to get it out.



I got yelled at in the gym tonight

I got yelled at in the gym tonight.

For deadlifting. By a lady walking on the treadmill reading a magazine. “DO YOU HAVE TO DO THAT!” she said – in reference to the noise no doubt. I thought a moment and said … “Yes”.

‘Cause that’s how it works.

I actually go to a “hardcore” powerlifting gym nicknamed “The Dungeon”. It has no windows. In summer it is fat-kid killing hot and in winter freezing frickin’ cold. I drive 100k round-trip 2x per week so I can chalk up and have access to bands/chains/boards and decent bars/racks and lift heavy. Guys have shit their pants in there lifting – even passed out. I heard a rumour someone shit their pants AND passed out. No one argued the veracity of those events – just the order.

They also have a couple of treadmills that are pretty easy to get on.

I would like her to complain to the owner – I have a pretty good idea of how that will go. My deadlift is such that I can’t even get “on the board” at my gym – those of you who follow powerlifting will understand this reference. Ah the rich irony of life!

At times like this I take comfort in the words of Henry Rollins

“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”


Rock Bottom: The On-Line Dating Post

Well, because the only notes of mine that draw any commentary are the relationship ones … I’m going to embrace my inner bastard and tell you all about finding love on the internet. Because sooner or later my single or almost -single or soon-to-be-single or even my got-caught-and-are-now-single-again friends … you’re going to want to try this for yourself.

Firstly – take a deep breath and deal with it. At first, people resent being “forced” to date on-line. It’s like admitting defeat in the real world. This is just pride messin’ with ya – ignore it. Yes you are on-line. Yes you are going to see people you know on there – your boss, your coworker, the cat-lady in Edmonton you wondered whatever happened to. All of them will be there. We do not pass judgment. You went on-line to meet people you could not in “Real Life” because you do not have the time. Jobs, kids, night classes, kids, household chores, kids, kids kids and kids – all of these are aligned in a vast conspiracy against you ever dating. You need someone on your side – and that someone is the internet.

It’s as simple as that.

The alternative is the self-loathing of having a regular masturbation schedule euphemistically called “staying home and watching “House” or some equally benign euphemism! Maybe it’s  “Grey’s!” or maybe even your very very tired DVD of the “Sex in the City” movie. Mind you, if I had to crank it to “Sex in the City” I’m sure my man-parts would die of shame and fall off leaving me with lady parts … and I’d be more crank-worthy as a girl than anyone who ever appeared in that show. Those ladies have the collective good looks of a bag of Saskatchewan road gravel! But I digress … on to the real stuff.

Which Site?

Heck if I know – there are millions. The internet is built on three things: Pornography, Conspiracy Theories, and Dating. (I know – I know – that’s three things but if I say two and list three then there is something in here for the tinfoil hatters and they can justify not vaccinating their kids or whatever it is they do.) I’m going to admit to my own trial and error approach with 4 sites: Plenty of Fish, Lava Life, Eharmony, and Match.

Plenty of Fish!

Pros: Free for the most part and large – lots of users – even in Hicksville, which is where I live.

Cons: PoF is the wild-frickin’-west of on-line dating. Everything both good and bad is there. People looking to date are about evenly matched with people looking to hate. Fake profiles, fake pictures, people on just to try and nab their current spouse cheating, people cheating, people looking for a midget and a young he-goat for a threesome – it’s all there on PoF. You have been forewarned.

That said the friends I made on PoF were some of the coolest people I ever met and I have remained friends with many.

A typical PoF message exchange will go like this:

Him (spends 20 minutes thinking of what to send): Hey! I really liked your profile. Cool Hat – I love the Beach Boys too! You know, if you were a booger, I’d totally pick you first LOLZ!

Her: “Really liked my profile” “Really”? Don’t waste my time. Ur Stupid. I am looking for a man, not a little boy.

Him: Stupid? Well stupid wants to know what it takes for a guy to get into your guts …

Her: F off loser, I’m blocking you

Him: *weenie pic*

Seriously – what’s with the weenie pics? I have no explanation for that.


Go on – take a moment to take that all in. Go on.

Think of dating on PoF as the opposite of the golden rule.

Lava Life: 

Pros: I guess it’s a singles site. Apparently Match.Com bought it.

Cons: It’s the al a carte of dating – I only ever checked out the free part which entitles you too  … not much. You had to buy credits to send messages or something like that. I actually forget. I actually know people who met/got married off of this site but they’d be the exception – not the rule.


Pros: They advertise a lot, and have people who are attractive in their ads.

Cons: Is it just me or do these people in the ads seem a little .. slow?

I did their questionnaire, which entitled me to look at potential matches for free, but didn’t join the site once I saw the matches. It was a bunch of dowdy old broads from very far away – the dating equivalent of a cardboard sandwich. To paraphrase Blaine Cartwright … I shaved my balls for this?


Indeed I did not.

Eharmony is a little self-righteous for my tastes. Read Malcom Gladwell’s “Blink” and you’ll think it’s probably impossible to engineer marital bliss from any questionnaire. People are hard to explain especially when trying to explain themselves.


A pay site and the best I ever tried. A little thin out here in Dirtville, but by far and away the best “class” of matches for me. None of the hassle of the other sites.

Honorable mentions:

OkCupid: I think it’d be super if you were from New York or LA. But there is no one on out here in Tater Knob.

They use fairly sophisticated algorithms to match people and because I have no idea what an algorithm is I can imagine it working. Sort of like Gravity – I mean before that Eisenstein guy invented gravity people risked floating off into the sun every day but then he made the maths and we were able to stand still right? Algorithims!  The OK Cupid blog has good statistical advice about what to use for a photo, what to send as an opener – all that stuff.

YoVille: YoVille is not a singles site per se – it’s a Zynga game playable on Facebook. You have a little animated figure you name and you decorate homes and buy more stuff. Most importantly you meet other Yo’s – and they are all pretty much there to date. Not everyone, but many. I get asked all the time for a variety of things both disgusting and potentially awesome – so you might want to give it a try. YoMance abounds. I have never once heard of one working out – but it’s there anyways.

Warning: the level of Pervery on YoVille is right up there with PoF – not everyone can handle this. Me? I can just say ‘no” but it doesn’t bother me if you ask.

My theory about people with unusual perversions is that they pretty much have to be bold and search far and wide. That’s why they spam the internet with weenie pics and unusual toe-sucking requests. You can probably find what you need within a stones throw of your lawn but they have to search far and long. So no judgment here, and good luck in your search for that Lithuanian busboy and that monkey.

Your Profile:

Pictures: At first you are going to be ashamed about this internet thing – you are going to tell yourself that you are going picture-less because you are afraid of “all the crazies” out there. So you will tell no one and you’ll put up a profile somewhere/fill out a questionnaire and then try to do it anonymously.

Don’t do this

Put up a pic – preferably your own. First and foremost: You’ll get 10x the number of responses. People that don’t put up pics usually have something to hide – often a spouse or even worse, a scrofula, goiter or some equally medieval blemish. Or maybe just a superfluous 200 to 300 pounds. But they have something to hide and you don’t. So put it up! Be confident. Someone will see you’re your inner beauty! Not someone like me of course – I’m a shallow and callous shit of a human being.  But someone will!


Me – Obligatory shirtless pose!

Remember – if you do hit it off with someone in cyber-land you are eventually gonna want to meet. Having a legit pic up will spare you (or them!) some crushing disappointment later. Humans tend to want to date in their own “hotness range” so even if you rate about a “4” only in good make-up and bad lighting your counterpart is out there with a comb-over and a belly like a half a sack of grain just looking for you!

Avoid your high school grad pics (too old) your old “glamour” shots (too old) shots from the bar with your way hotter friends (seriously ladies – unless you’re the hottest one) and the shirtless-with-sunglasses-leaning-against-my-jacked-up-jeep combo (men). Seriously dude: You look like Douchey McDoucherson, 70’s Porn Star in that shirtless/jeep thing.


Most places allow you a one-line “introduction” tag. Avoid desperate tag lines. For her this means “Is there at least one decent man out there?” and for him this means “So what am I looking for you ask? Maybe you’re sitting on it”. Although a simple “Hey! How are you! Thanks for stopping by” is good enough might I suggest using a quote? This will make you seem more interesting and has the additional bonus of being copy-and-paste-able so you can’t fubar the spelling.

As for the profile: Try 3 paragraphs – no more. People read profiles (unless you have no picture in which case they skip it and move on to the next one) but only so much.  The first paragraph should cover things people should know about you, the second what you want to know about them and the third some sort of a teaser – perhaps another quote or even a joke – something asking for contact – but not begging for it.

Don’t use abbreviations, acronyms, industry jargon. It’s dull.

Do use spell chcke and tyr to appear litrat.

For example, a woman might fill out her three paragraphs using the following summary:

1)      Thanks for stopping by! The pic is me and my dog running trails – blah blah blah

2)      I prefer Tim’s to Starbucks if you’re asking blah blah blah

3)      I am so f*cking tired of this breast-self exam thing – and it takes forever to get in to see my regular Dr. Can you help?”

Now that is a great opener. (Except for #3. You might want to come up with something on your own – It’s been a long cruise and I’m obsessing a little.)

You may wish to have your profile “ghost-written” – I have actually done this for a friend and sometimes it’s easier. Plus, I can write the unholy sh*t out of a profile. I could probably get a coffee date for a dead person. You probably can’t.

Steve’s Free Profile Translator

When they say “my children come first” it probably means they are a questionable parent and well familiar to social services. I mean seriously – whose kids don’t come first? Why do you have to state that?

When they say I’m a Package Deal” they mean that their kids are gonna be your problem – but yours are not gonna be their problem.

If they say they are an “Old fashioned guy” they are probably a wife-beater.

If they are an “Old fashioned girl” they mean no sex until marriage and then after only for procreative purposes.

If they describe themselves as “self-employed” they are often unemployed.

If they describe themselves as a consultant or use the more strident phrase “I own my own business” they are probably unemployable.  Seriously people! A doctor (for example) will not say “self-employed in the health services industry” they’ll say “I’m a F*cking Doctor !”

Also – anyone who says “I’ve been hurt before blah blah blah … cheap ploy for sympathy. They are likely a serial cheater.

If they describe themselves as “Brutally honest” they are just brutal.

“Sarcastic Sense of Humor”? They are just bitter. Genuine sarcasm is hard to pull off. I can do it because I am at least 50% witty. If you try you are likely to come across as … Bitter.

Anyone who says ‘Don’t waste my time” male or female – is an asshole. Dating is a waste of time but can be a pleasant one – waste away readers – waste away. It beats spending 3 hours on a 200-word profile only to come up with “Don’t waste my time” because” I’ve been hurt before”.

In general – try not to be a loser.

1st Contact: Don’t spam by which I mean don’t copy and paste a 1 line message to everyone. This is more common than you think and it’s thought of as annoying. Do write a 3 sentence email – always mention something in the person’s profile that caught your eye – everyone likes thinking that their profile was read. Some people put in a minimal profile and leave you very little to go on – that’s ok as long as they are attractive. You can toss them this little bon mot:  “Brevity is the soul of wit”. Don’t be afraid to mention it. Before you hit the send key re-read your message – you don’t want to be caught in a Freudian slip and hit {send} on “Nudity is the sole of tit” when you meant to say “Brevity is the soul of wit”. Avoid being trite (“You’re Hot”). Your first line should be a simple greeting – your second line should mention what attracted you and your 3rd should be a variation of “have a great day”. No more, no less.

When to meet:  Whoo hoo you hit it off? Really, there is no reason to put this off. Everything changes when you meet in person – it’s called “chemistry”. For those of you have to have a have a mathematical rule I’d say 5 messages, 3 calls, 1 date. It’s like Jim Wendler’s magical 5/3/1 strength training protocol. Remember: People that won’t meet you fairly quickly have something to hide – usually a partner.

What to do for a date: Read my other note “Steve’s First Date Survival Guide” and rock on.

Online dating can be tough – I ain’t gonna lie to you. But you will meet people you would not otherwise meet. Most will be way more normal than you would have feared, many will become friends and one might be ”the one”. Really, life is not hard, but it’s hard enough. Every day we go out into the rough-and-tumble and accumulate little bumps and bruises, nicks and scrapes. All we need is someone in whose arms we can rest and heal and be made whole again so we can go out the next day and do it all over again.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be back – wearing orange coveralls with a bunch of other fellas picking up bottles and cans out of a ditch near you real soon!