Writing a personal ad for practice or real

When writing a personal ad, you need to consider where you're going to place your ad. If writing it for a newspaper, keep in mind that you have to pay per word, so being succinct is an advantage. If you are placing your ad online, you don't have to worry about a per-word charge. But no matter where you're advertising, writing a personal ad requires the same kind of discipline that you would use so as not to break the bank — pithy and succinct beats wordy and rambling every time. For more information on writing a personal ad, see Chapters 6 and 29.

Stop sweating. This is an exercise to limber you up, not a performance piece. You don't have to send the ad anywhere, but writing a personal ad does a bunch of cool things for you:

^ Makes you admit that you're really ready to start looking to date ^ Allows you to be specific about the kind of person you're looking for ^ Forces you to look at who you are (and that's really, really, important)

When you write your personal ad in your dating notebook (see Chapter 1), think about the following:

^ Your assets and your liabilities ^ What your mom loves about you ^ What your friends criticize

^ Your favorite thing to do (no, don't put that in the ad just yet, thank you very much; I mean your favorite thing to do vertically, with your clothes on . . . in public)

When you describe your perfect companion, try to get beyond the physical description and age to the person's soul and consider these qualities:

^ What is the person like? ^ What do the two of you enjoy together? ^ What do you talk about when you're alone?

Other things that you might think about are

^ Sex (come on now, no giggling) — your sex and the preferred option for your date to be (in other words, are you straight or gay?)

^ Age range

^ Educational background

^ Geographic proximity (don't start with long distance unless it's preferred, and then you need to think about why you opted for distance rather than closeness)

^ Height and weight

^ Religion

^ Smoking preference

You should also think about whether you're looking for:

^ Friendship and whatever else ^ A mate ^ A date

^ A discreet nooner ^ Commitment ^ Kids ^ Marriage ^ A prom escort ^ Permanence

These lists are only the beginning of sorting through who you are and what you want, and writing a personal ad is a cool short cut. In writing your practice ad, allow yourself to be honest and creative (not with the facts, with your thoughts)

and specific, as well as flexible. This exercise should be fun and really helpful. You don't need a book to tell you how to write the ad, just the ability to write out who you are and what you want.

Continue reading here: Making a good first impression

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