Getting undressed with Riley and Damsel.

Over the last 3 months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a number of friendly, genuine and supportive people. The dating community on Instagram has got to be one of my best social media discoveries and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. There are so many talented writers, poets, artists, speakers and entrepreneurs — all of us on the same path to pursue our passions and leverage our skills. More recently, I’ve been chatting away with fellow writer and author of Riley’s Raunchy Reads, you must check out her content. Riley will sweep you away into an erotic world of explicit, sexual interaction and steamy hot romances. I can only describe her creative pieces as jaw-droppingly insane!

With a mutual appreciation for each other’s work, we decided to team up on a blog post with a slightly different angle. Today we’ll be “undressing” ourselves and stepping into the spotlight. If you’re looking for some quick tips, guidance and insights on the realms of dating and writing, you’ve landed in the right place! Read on for our mini Q&A…


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO START UP THEIR OWN BLOG?

Damsel
The first thing I’d say is to find your niche. It definitely helps with the build up of content. Figure out what you’re passionate about and just go for it! Try not to worry about getting it right or perfect either. Honestly, I look back at my old blog posts and think “ugh what is this shit?” — but over time; you’ll learn, you’ll improve and you’ll figure out what works best.

Also, don’t forget that you’re telling your story. Don’t be worried about other blogs covering the same topics as you. You must remember that it’s about your perspective, your creativity and the value that you add — already it’s unique in its own right. Be real, be honest and really embody the stuff that you’re writing about.

Finally, use social media platforms to your advantage. It helps to connect with readers and other bloggers, perhaps even for inspiration, but don’t get too caught up in it. Don’t get hung up on the follows, likes, etc. Focus on your writing first then social media after.

Riley
*Do not start a blog if you are half hearted about it or unsure, speak to friends and get their advice about your ideas that you are potentially going to upload to this blog then make the decision.

Before I started my blog Riley’s Raunchy Reads (www.rrrox.co.uk), I created a notes list in my phone as to why I wanted to start my blog. This included the following questions: – Why do you want to start a blog? What is the blog going to be about? What is your niche going to be? What content do you want to deliver or create? Do you want to use any other social platforms to promote your blog? What colour theme are you going to follow? It is going to be illustrations, free pictures from the internet or art you create yourself? I felt these questions helped me create the base of my blog.

I then reached out to my friends and we discussed my ideas and I even gave them a short snippet of my first story to give them an idea of what it was going to entail. They thought it was a great idea and really pushed me forward to take the final steps of creating an Instagram account and blog. The Instagram account was so I could promote my blog and engage with my audience. 

Tip *I always tend to have one draft in the pipeline because you do not want to be stuck without any content for a long period of time. Allow yourself enough time to brainstorm ideas and take notes. I currently have about 5 different notes on my phone that I jot notes down when ideas come to me, it’s good to get into that habit. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF STARTING DATING STORIES BY ME / RILEY’S RAUNCHY READS SO FAR?

Damsel
I’ve been overwhelmed by the lovely community, the engagement and positive feedback. I’ve had people messaging me saying how my experiences and situations resonate with them, I’ve had some approach me for dating advice as well those who have been very complimentary about my writing style and tone. When I realised that my work was making an impact on others, that was my highlight moment. The support and kindness truly pushes me to keep writing and sharing.

Riley
I personally would say my highlight since starting Riley’s Raunchy Reads has been the relationships I have built with the talented and inspiring writers, sex educators and business owners that I follow on my Instagram. 

The collabs that I have done so far have been so eye opening to subjects I have not been aware of, products I wouldn’t even think of and it’s just been a great overall experience with each one of them. I look forward to any collabs I do in the future, whether that be an IGTV live, story or blog post. 

I’m excited for what is to come. 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP 3 DATING TIPS YOU’D GIVE?

Damsel
Be authentic –  Of course you want to put your best foot forward, but at the same time, you must accept and embrace all of who you are. Many daters dress, think and act in a way they believe their date would like them to, and in essence, they become someone they’re not, in hopes that this alter ego will help them find their perfect match. I guarantee you’ll have a lot more enjoyment and less pressure on dates if you trust the process by being genuine from the start.

Honesty is the best policy – Not everyone will agree with me on this but when I first meet someone, I’m always upfront and honest when it comes to what I think the other person should know about me. From personal experience, there’s actually a lot of good that can come from being honest in the dating realm. The more unapologetic and brutally honest I’ve become, the less I tolerate people manipulating me, using me, or being rude to me. Sure, I might get a “bad” reputation because of it, but at the very least, I’m no doormat!

Know your non-negotiables – Before you invest time and effort in anyone, make sure you know what your deal breakers are. Ask yourself what could you not accept, compromise on, or adjust to. Smokers? Non-monogamy? Substance abuse? Deal breakers will vary from person to person, and setting these out will not only ensure your core values are aligned with your romantic partner but also provide stability and structure to the relationship.

Riley
Always be yourself – do not change for anyone. Someone will love you for you, but first ensure you are happy within yourself before trying to find that special someone.

Be honest – there is no such thing as ‘too honest’ if people can’t handle it, they aren’t for you. 

Be respectful – The one quote I will always live by is ‘treat people how you want to be treated’ – says it’s all really. 

WERE THERE ANY SITUATIONS OR ANY PARTICULAR TRIGGERS THAT MADE YOU START TAKING YOUR WRITING SERIOUSLY?

Damsel
Lockdown made me do it! I started writing at the beginning of this year after experiencing another failed relationship and a couple of disastrous dates but it was something I’d do to pass time and showcase to my close friends. Then as I found myself stuck indoors, I felt like I needed an additional activity that would stimulate my brain, so that’s where the writing came in. The guy I’m dating at the moment also gave me a little push and encouraged me to go public, he’s been pretty helpful and supportive too.

Riley
It was when I started to enjoy sex and foreplay, I thought now I understand what it feels like, how new experiences should feel. At that point I was like I’m ready to change the way I write to incorporate this into my writing. Being able to explore my writing by using fantasises, some real-life experiences and ideas in my writing gave me the confidence to be like, YES, I’m ready let’s get this ball rolling. 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF WRITING SO FAR?

Damsel
In terms of going down memory lane, it was certainly not one of my favourites… but with regards to writing, I’d say “I would rather adjust to your absence than be frustrated by your presence.” was pretty satisfying. This was the failed relationship that inspired me to start the blog! The trials and tribulations, all the bullshit, the audacity… like wow. I’m shocked at myself by how much ridiculousness I tolerated. Even now when I regurgitate the story to my friends, we can’t stop laughing. I see my blog as a bit of an outlet so it was like a breath of fresh air once I got it all out of my system. Although I look back in disbelief; overall it really helped me reflect, improve my mood and gain so much perspective.

Riley
I answered this in one of my IGTV videos and I still stand by my decision. So, at first, I was obsessed with my first story Pleasure by The Fire because it was what got my juices really flowing and my excitement back for getting back into writing. I still love that story don’t get me wrong but now my favourite would be Seduction under The Stars. It has had such good feedback and I really enjoyed including character names in that story, plus who doesn’t love a school reunion crush! 

ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR TIMES OR DAYS WHEN YOUR CREATIVE JUICES ARE AT ITS PEAK? (PUN NOT INTENDED!)

Damsel
Generally, on any given day, my juices start flowing in the evenings from 8pm onwards and I’ll find myself writing up until midnight. On occasions I’ll wake up early (around 6am) on the weekend and get a sudden burst of inspiration, from there I just pull out my laptop and start typing away!

Riley
I would say it depends on my mood and what I’ve got planned. If I’m off work and I watch something romantic on TV or read something on my Instagram like a quote or short story, I’ll think ‘Yes, that is what is missing’ and then start writing like a mad woman. I mean there have been plenty of times I’ve just been sat listening to music, especially the playlist from Fifty Shades of Grey and my creativity just appears. This is where I’ll start writing notes but if I feel like it could be a story, I grab my mac and away we go. 

We hope our readers found this post useful! And if you enjoyed our content, you can keep up to date via our Instagram pages: @datingstoriesbyme / @rrr_ox

The grey area.

As much as I’d like them to be, most things in life are never black and white. I’ve discovered this is particularly true (more so over the last couple of years) when it comes to dating. The topic I’ll be delving into for this post looks at that precise moment when you suddenly find yourself in the “grey area”, otherwise known as “so what are we?” or “DTR” (refer to my Dating Dictionary post.)

It’s probably one of the most daunting questions to ask, most people will try to dodge it at all costs but by doing so means you’ll need to live in ambiguity – and let’s face it, no one needs that unnecessary stress. At first you think it’s all well and good as you continue to dance around the undefined relationship. Then as things keep progressing… you’re now 6 months in, sitting there wondering whether the person is really yours. Ughhh. Turns out, calling a “thing” a thing might actually help!

I’ve play this guessing game a few times, and the most eyebrow raising part of this whole situation is when the other party wants/expects all the perks of being in a relationship but aren’t down for the commitment – I shall save this topic for whole separate post!

Figuring out where you stand hasn’t always been an easy subject to tackle, but it seems to be much stickier conversation to address in today’s modern dating society. Hinge, Bumble, Tinder and all the other dating apps give us endless choices for who we can date. While it’s not a terrible thing, the buffet of potentials has made us pickier and less decisive, resulting in the “paradox of choice”. You may have found a great match, but what if there’s someone better around the corner? And if you’re not thinking that, then who’s to say your romantic interest isn’t? Again, this is yet another topic that requires a separate post!

So how do we deal with the “grey area”? What’s the best approach to take when you like someone but have no idea how they feel… when you want to have “the talk” but don’t want to “scare them” off… along with many other agonising thoughts. I once saw an inspiring quote that went along the lines of:

“One of the biggest barriers to courageous leadership is tough conversations.”

Now switch out the word “leadership” with the word “dating” or “relationships”, and it holds just as true!

The anxious mind

How is it that after several amazing dates, your excitement has slowly transformed into anxiety? Analysing every text, the timing, the frequency, the substance and so on. With this overwhelming amount of information (that you’ve decided to magnify in tenfold), more often than not it makes you feel even less certain about the situation!

Instead of subjecting yourself to late-night evaluations in bed and drawn-out conversations with your friends (who are just as confused as you are), just steel your nerves and muster up the courage to ask the person you’re seeing, “So what’s going on with us?”. Yes it’s like a 6 word horror story, I know, but it’s worth knowing whether you should continue to invest time and effort with them or call it quits.

Things happen, but life goes on

The quality of life (not just dating) becomes much more fruitful when you’re able to have uncomfortable conversations and deal with the outcomes in a mature and calm manner. The truth is, life goes on – it’s as simple as that. However, I want to share a few nuggets of “wisdom” for when you’re next thinking about baring your soul:

1. Feeling anxious is a sign that your emotions are far too dependent on someone else’s actions. When you place your power in another person’s hands, they’re essentially controlling the situation, not you. So you need to reframe the narrative and really figure out what you want out of it because don’t forget, you have a say in the situation too.

2. If it all gets a bit too much and you’re overanalysing or overthinking, just do something that you enjoy; watch a film, speak to a friend, go for a run, listen to music, write, draw, do some cooking, meditate… whatever your outlet is, it’ll certainly help you ease the discomfort.

3. It’s important to be transparent about what you want from the start. Ask open-ended, non-confrontational questions. That’s what dating is about at the end of the day, getting to know each other and gauging whether you’re on the same page. Sure it’s a dauntless move, you might think “What if being completely upfront puts someone off?” – but you need to think of it less as scaring someone away and more creating a very important, beneficial filter.


4. Ambiguity happens because we allow it to happen. Most of the time we know what we want, we’re just afraid to ask for it out of fear of rejection. It’s a rookie mistake to expect people to come into your life with a full understanding of what you’re looking for, but we do it anyway.
 

Unless you’re both certain that you want to be together, there really isn’t any other way to handle this scenario. Whatever you do, don’t bury your head in the sand and wait for the other person to dictate the terms. Do it yourself, when you’re ready to level up. Ignorance really isn’t bliss, especially where dating and relationships are concerned. And if they can’t give you a straight answer, maybe that’s the only answer you need.