What Inspired Me to Write ‘The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating’

Guest Post By Hattie C. Cooper

Hello, Maisie’s readers! I’m thrilled to be part of Maisie’s Marvellous Reviews (she’s marvellous, right!?). Thanks for letting me share my guest post today.
Maisie asked me to share what inspired me to write my dating advice book, The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating. Its funny to think back on the evolution of a book. What’s interesting is I never thought I’d end up writing a self-help type book. I’ve always loved poetry and fiction and had been working on projects that aligned more closely with those genres.
But I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and relationships. I studied psychology and writing in school. A few years back I started a small blog (also called The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating) that was designed to help women and men who struggle with nerves, shyness, or anxiety while trying to date. The idea for this blog stemmed from my own experiences.
My entire life I’ve struggled with anxiety, whether it’s been Generalized or a phobia disorder, and when I first tried to enter the dating world it was pure misery. Like, you’d think I was being forced to give up my first born child in a Dystopian world of chaos. I was miserable.
I was a late bloomer. I really, really struggled with even the most basic steps of dating like responding to a single text message. There were many times in my early-twenties when I felt very alone and very insecure. There is one specific memory that stands out to me; I was in my third year of college and had a deep, painful crush on an enigmatic writer in my Southern Literature class. After exchanging a few facebook messages (and never actually speaking in class) we agreed to try and meet up at a bar downtown over the weekend. When the weekend arrived I couldn’t stop crying from my nerves and fears. I ended up cancelling our hangout and I was never even able to make eye contact with him again. While in hindsight I am so grateful to have had these experiences (I learned a lot about myself, about intimacy, and about being independent) there were moments when I hated myself.
I started the blog as a place to think through some of my experiences. I wanted to try and connect with other people who might have gone through similar situations. It was one of those things where I felt really alone, but knew I wasn’t.
The book just sort of naturally evolved from this place of sharing. I’d just wrapped up working on a romance novel and a contract book, Thriving with Social Anxietyand was looking for my next project.
While working on the book I honestly was writing it to me. As in, if I could go back to my 18-year-old self, what would I tell her? And if, in the future, I were to have a son or daughter who struggled with anxiety or self-doubt, what would I want to share about my own experiences in the dating world?
I don’t believe everyone needs to be in a relationship. I don’t believe everyone should be in a relationship. Not all relationships are healthy or positive. While working on this project I often worried (see? always worrying!) my readers would think all I care about is “dating” and “having a boyfriend.” NO. I believe in human connection and learning to have healthy relationships. From our friends, to family, to lovers, our mental health is vital to growing in a positive way.
I hope The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating helps people like 18-year-old Hattie realize they are deserving and capable of positive human connection.
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