Unicorn_fantasyI conducted my dating experiment from 2008-2009. I kept an active blog (clearly not this one) as well as notes, essays and photos. In 2011, I left my job to write for a solid 6 months. I wrote a sizable chunk- 150 pages. And despite the first month where I freaked out about not having any income and the last month when I ran out of money, it was an INCREDIBLE spring/summer.

When I started working again, I put my writing on the back burner. I needed to focus on getting back up to speed with corporate life again.

But also, there were other reasons that my book stalled.

Writing a book about dating made me worried that a) I should now be an expert, b) other people expect me to be an expert and c) for credibility and book jacket content, I should already be dating and/or wed to the equivalent of a unicorn.

a) I’m not an expert but I have done A LOT OF FIELD WORK, which at least makes me knowledgeable or at least seasoned.

b) I don’t claim to know everything. I just know more than I did. In fact, I figured out exactly what I was looking for in a relationship. This is a bigger deal than most people realize. Have you made your “must-have” list yet?

c) You know when you have in mind the exact shirt/dress/accessory/etc. you want but despite going to two outlets, a mall and Amazon.com, you can’t find it? Same thing.

But there’s more. When you date 50 guys, you can’t settle anymore. You can’t date someone you know you wouldn’t have gone out with again when time was a factor. Time is still a factor, just in a different way. When I was trying to finish my book and wasn’t dating anyone, I felt insecure that people were judging my book project by my failure to couple. And when I was dating men who may not have measured up, I worried that my book was judging me. I worried that I could only write the book if I were dating the unicorn. I worried that the universe wouldn’t care that I had a list. I worried that I stopped believing in what I had set out to prove.

These things kept me up at night and manifested in more self doubt. In my head I heard, “Who’s going to read this book anyway?” On a good day, I countered with “someone just like me”. On every other day, I pictured boxes of inventory, emails with excuses and general lack of support, or empty rooms when there were supposed to be captivating book readings.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I had to make a conscious decision to get over it. It’s a work in progress. I’ve also found that I’m not alone. We’re not alone. Whether it’s writers in the same predicament or other people who find they are their own worst obstacle, we’re all heading uphill. Because the top is where you get the best view. If you aren’t striving for anything, what’s the point?

So I write. I criticize, even this very entry, “It’s kind of rambly, don’t you think?” And I keeping moving forward.