I learned a lot about myself when I started writing a book about my dating life. See, when I would just write about my dates right away -- usually the next morning, even though I wouldn't publish it until a few months later -- it was more of a way to either work something through ( why didn't he call?) or to get something off my chest like why men don't like smart girls. (They do, just not smart-mouthed). But I didn't learn much, I don't think, from writing those columns. Even though I think plenty of people learned stuff about me that I didn't know myself. (That phrase can be taken in two ways). But in writing the long form -- as most novelists know -- in following my "character" (me) through all her adventures, all I could think about myself was:what the HELL was I thinking? Did I really think the guy who tried cocaine before our first date was going to be my husband? Why did the guy from Nashville never let me visit him? What the hell is a rich backpacker doing staying at a hostel with bedbugs? And on and on these ridiculous stories go. They really did make great stories...and now, a few years later, I see that might have been the problem. Even though I didn't start that way, I might have been more interested in the story than my dating life. Yes, Carrie from Sex in the City managed to write about her dating life and actually meet the man of her dreams. But that was fiction. Someone else was writing her story while she was living it. (Okay acting it.) Was writing about my dating life ruining it?