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9 MCMs Give Their Thoughts On Casual Dating, Courtship & Commitment

We've got eye candy and soul food to feed your Valentine's Day fix.

#xoMan

Ahh, it's the most wonderful time of the year. The sound of love is finally in the air but for some of us, the only thing making noise is Janet Jackson's "I Get So Lonely" blasting through our AirPods. But thanks to xoNecole, we've got something for you that'll hopefully perk you right on up, or at least help keep hope alive on the love and romance front.

We've rounded up more than a fair share of eye candy and found out exactly what draws them in about a woman and what they're looking for in their next relationship. Ranging across various industries and zodiac signs (side-eyeing you Geminis though), these fine, fine assortments of chocolate delight are sure to have you blasting "Let's Get Married" in no time.

So if you think you're ready to trade in your Janet Jackson vibes for an Ari Lennox "BMO" mood, check out these 9 gorgeous MCMs and don't ever say we never did anything nice for you. We always got you, sis.

Mike Merrill

@_MikeMerrill_

Courtesy of Mike Merrill

Age: In his twenties

Occupation: Actor, Emcee & Motivational Speaker

Hobbies/Interests: Working out, playing Call of Duty, sports, going to the gun range, creating content and family time

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

Relationship Status: Single

How he prefers to meet a woman...

"If she's already seen me in person, then I would rather meet that way. But if you've seen me on social media first, then I don't mind that either. But my choice would be in person!"

What attracts him to a woman...

"The way she looks overall: her face, body, the way she dresses and the way she walks. But specifically, I love to catch a smiling woman."

What keeps him interested...

"The way she carries herself as a person, meaning the way she speaks and how much personality she has. Honestly, with me, it depends on the woman because I could find different things in a woman firsthand that might get me--that another woman can't. Different women have different flaws and features to them. But if on social media: the marketing of her page, the things she says in her captions, her bio and last but not least the type of work she does. You can get a lot more info on a person through social media before even approaching."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"When we are both in tuned with who we are as separate individuals and can deal with each other through thick and thin based off the bond we've already built thus far. Our energy has to be welcoming most of the time when we're with each other. We have to respect each other on all levels and come to agreements instead of arguing. [We] both [have to] believe in God and truly know the meaning of faith and have it. And even though we're in control of our own happiness, we have to be there for each other to support our individual life choices."

His stance on courtship...

"Hell no! Let me say first: I'm a Cancer, so I feel a lot more than others. If you don't believe in courtship and don't want it, then you don't want me because that's a big factor for me."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"Trust, compassion, and a sense of humor."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"A positive, eventful, smiling/laughing all day and sharing good energy type of day pretty much sums it up for me!"

Romel Rose

Courtesy of Romel Rose

Age: 28

Occupation: Filmmaker & Actor

Hobbies/Interests: Watching movies, making movies, and spending time with family

Zodiac Sign: Leo

Relationship Status: Single, but on a journey of working on my relationship with God

What attracts him to a woman...

"What draws my attention now is seeing how she carries herself: Is she somebody who seeks attention or is she somebody that's confident in herself? And then I try to see what she's about because, in LA, it's slim pickings. And that goes both ways, men and women. Everyone's out here seeking some kind of attention and approval, so you kind of have to know how that person gets down."

What keeps him interested...

"Our interests, if we catch a vibe and just have a good conversation. If we're on the same page and have a similar sense of humor, that's really big for me."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"I never really know, to be honest. From my personal experience, it's always kind of just happened. It was never calculated, it was always like, we started dating and we grew a bond. And then it becomes a thing to where it's like, 'I don't want to be with anybody else and you don't want to be with anybody else, so?' Then you have to have that conversation. I think you kind of know when there's nobody else in the picture. But that changes over time because for me now, I have to look at 'are we compatible?' Just because there's nobody else, it doesn't always mean we're going to be compatible romantically or that we share the same views on different things. It has to be more of a spiritual, soul type of thing; otherwise I'll get bored after six months."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"We have to be spiritually in alignment, it can't be a 'you're attractive and I like you.' It has to be ordained by God, it has to be deeper than that. A sense of humor, and we have to be able to get along. I have to like being around you. Our souls have to be aligned, our spirits need to be aligned, and a sense of humor are my biggest ones. That's just where I am right now."

"We have to be spiritually in alignment, it can't be a 'you're attractive and I like you.' It has to be ordained by God."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"I'm not a big romantic, but honestly it depends on the person you're dating. Catering to what that person likes to do. But something like us going out of town, getting out of LA, leaving our phones in the car and just enjoying each other. That would be dope, I'm not real extravagant. I'm very simple."

Lawrence H. Robinson

Courtesy of Lawrence H. Robinson

Age: 30

Occupation: Actor

Hobbies/Interests: Family time, restaurant-hopping, and relaxing

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Relationship Status: "Single as hell"

How he prefers to meet a woman...

"She can definitely slide in my DMs. I'm not mad at a DM slide, her or me."

What attracts him to a woman...

"Definitely if it comes across as if she doesn't go out too much. Like on social media, if she's posting about her job or her travels and not out at clubs, that'll stick out to me."

What keeps him interested...

"If she notices that I have a son. If that's one of the first things she mentions, that's important to me."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"I'll know when it gets to the point to where I feel like I have to talk to you everyday. If it's a necessity that I talk to you everyday or I need to see you everyday, then we should take it to the next step. I don't want to spend all that time and have all these conversations for us to just say we're just friends."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"We must laugh a lot. I can't stand a serious relationship. We must be able to help each other with our finances. I think that we should be able to communicate and help each other if need be. Not necessarily meaning we always give each other money but just checking up on each other and making sure her bills are intact and my bills are intact. And if we're both in communication about our finances, it could help make both of our lives better. We must be supportive of one another, she has to be my best friend. I believe your partner should be your best friend. She has to outdo them."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"I love to sight-see, so probably somewhere where there's a beautiful view and you can grab dinner. Dinner on a rooftop is always a good thing for me. Dinner on a rooftop, good conversation, and taking in the person I'm with and the environment will always be a solid date for me."

Terayle Hill

Courtesy of Terayle Hill

Age: 26

Occupation: Actor

Hobbies/Interests: Playing basketball, filmmaking, and producing

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Relationship Status: Single

What attracts him to a woman...

"I don't want to sit here and act like looks don't mean anything, but sometimes you could just hear her voice and notice her energy and that could be it. I think the more I come into who I'm becoming, I feel like I can just feel it. A lot of times when I see someone I'm attracted to, it's because of how I feel when I look at them and not just what they look like. You have to pay attention to both. If you have an energy that pulls in a room, then that's what'll get my attention."

What keeps him interested...

"Her smile. I think if you meet somebody for the first time and they're not smiling, it says a lot about how they feel. And the conversation, so I would say the verbal and non-verbal communication that we have. That'll pretty much sell it for me."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"It depends on what you want. Some people are looking to build, other people are looking for somebody to explore their twenties with. For me personally, I'm trying to build. I have a lot of things I'm working on in the background entrepreneurially, that are very important to me. So if this person has the capacity to deal with the things that I have going on in my life, as well as openness to me being a part of her passion, then I think we can keep each other inspired.You have to check with the mandatory things, her parents accepting you and her family, and the red flags. But if all the standard stuff checks out, then I would have to make sure she aligns with my journey. That's how I would know."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"A good attitude about life. I have to have positive energy. It's a bonus if you're athletic. I like someone who likes to take care of themselves and who pays attention to health and fitness. And a talent. Talent in something, a chef, a singer, a dancer.It's not a requirement but it's definitely something that gets my attention. Talent in something, a chef, a singer, a dancer."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"I like to plan things so it would consist of me planning the day for her and things going exactly how I pictured it in my head while. As long as everything goes well and she's enjoying herself, that's all I care about. I don't necessarily care about me, I think it's the guy's job to pursue and put things in action for the person that we're with. Especially on a day like Valentine's Day."

Jason Shockness

Courtesy of Jason Shockness

Age: 27

Occupation: Software Engineering Student

Hobbies/Interests: Traveling, sports mainly basketball and football, and cooking

Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

Relationship Status: Single

How he prefers to meet a woman...

"By chance, only because hopping into DMs usually doesn't lead to anything. When it's a genuine connection and you meet when you're just out and about, I think it's more likely to last. For me, at least."

What attracts him to a woman...

"Definitely her face. There are three things: her face, her body, and her personality. Sometimes you can tell if she's goofy especially on social media or in person."

What keeps him interested...

"Her personality. Something has to stand out about her to make me want to stay and learn more. What's interesting about you? What do you like to do? What are your go-to's? What do you do? You have to ask if you have kids nowadays too."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"When you get a certain vibe from that person and when you feel like you don't want to go out anymore and you just want to be with that person more often. Most of the time your friends will point it out too. That's probably the point when you feel like you want to be exclusive with that person."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"She must be determined, must be a go-getter for sure. She must be down to earth and she must have common sense. It's crazy I have to say that but it's real. A lot of people don't have common sense."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"It would probably be like a weekend vacation. Just the two of us, like if we leave Friday and come back on a Sunday, we just be excluded from the world."

Tripp Fontane

Courtesy of Tripp Fontane

Age: 29

Occupation: Poet & Educator

Hobbies/Interests: Reading and writing, shopping, and having conversation

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

Relationship Status: Single

What attracts him to a woman...

"On social media, it depends on the social network. On Twitter, it would be her thought process, that's really what I look for. Because I know most of it is used for vanity, I really need to see a little bit more than that. Out in public, I would probably say her air of confidence. How confident she is and if she walks with that and how she visibly carries it."

What keeps him interested...

"Her open-mindedness and her sense of humor. I think both are equal because when you have someone who is able to be objective and perspective, that gives you a lot of room to build and relate. And then sense of humor because, for me personally, humor is how I cope with trauma."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"When the level of consideration I have for her starts to go up. And that's a natural process, I think, and not so much of a 'a-ha moment.' When I start thinking of different ways to include her in my plans, that's when it's a bit more serious. When I start thinking of just me less and us more."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"Open-mindedness, a sense of humor, and effective communication."

His version of the best Valentine's Day date...

"First of all, we both have the day off. I'm huge on cooking, so I would cook breakfast to start the day off right. Probably chicken and French toast. Then we would spend the early morning thrifting, hit a couple bookstores, and then take a break around lunch--just because I don't believe in spending the whole day with each other. I'd send her to go get her nails done and her feet done. Then link back up early evening, have a nice beverage at a hole in the wall and hit dinner at her favorite spot. For dessert, probably a local bakery then we'd end the night getting as physical as she would like."

Ritz Williams

Courtesy of Ritz Williams

Age: 32

Occupation: Licensed Barber & Stylist

Hobbies/Interests: Finding good soul food places, spoken word poetry, and go-karting

Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Relationship Status: "I'm single officially, but depending on who's asking that's how that goes."

What attracts him to a woman...

"If she's smiling or not. I think that the most attractive thing about a woman to me is her smile. I like people with good energy. And you can tell alot about someone based off whether they're smiling or they're frowning. Or even if they want to be approached."

"I think the most attractive thing about a woman to me is her smile."

What keeps him interested...

"It would probably be who she's around. What are her friends doing around her, how is she acting? If her friends are being wild and crazy, is she being wild and crazy? And if she is, is that something I want to get to know more about? Or is she the shy one in the group? It depends on who she's around--not that I judge--but I base it off of where I see someone fitting into my life."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"The point where we get past exchanging phone numbers, I've already decided I'm going to pursue this person. I never really start at a casual place because I don't casually exchange my phone number with anybody. I don't casually invite people to my home, I don't casually go out on dates. I don't do anything casual, everything I do has intention. I don't date people just to have fun. And if I see someone that I like, then my intention is to get to know that person and put forth the effort. Now I've always been a one-woman, loyal person. So I'm not really into dating several people at once. So it's kind of easy for me, if I go out of my comfort zone to approach somebody, once things click and our energies match up--then I've already decided that I'm going to pursue this. And the moment she meets me at that level, that's when it's committed."

"I don't do anything casual, everything I do has intention. I don't date people just to have fun. And if I see someone that I like, then my intention is to get to know that person and put forth the effort."

His stance on courtship...

"I don't think it's dead, I think it's evolved though. It's evolved into having an open mind of what courtship means to someone else. Back in the day, courtship was: nice guy, or not-so-nice guy sees a girl, goes after her and does all these grand gestures. And he may or may not end up with her. But now it's like men and women both realize that their worth and their time is important. When it comes to courtship though, speaking for myself--I have no problem going after someone. But if I'm not met with the same energy or I feel like you don't see the same value in me as I see in you, then at that point I'm like, 'I don't want to do this.' But if you hold value in someone, then you should treat them like you do. That's a part of courtship for me, showing equal interests."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"Confidence, patience, and a sense of humor."

His idea of the best Valentine's Day date...

"It would definitely include go-karts, definitely include cheesecake, and I like soul food but my favorite food is lasagna. So a nice lasagna, a fine go-cart, laser tag or live music, followed by dessert at home and quality time with my girl would literally be perfect for me."

Norman Towns

Courtesy of Norman Towns

Age: 34

Occupation: Actor

Hobbies/Interests: Drawing and painting, playing basketball, and building house decor

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

Relationship Status: Single

What attracts him to a woman...

"On social media, the only thing that would attract me would be what's on their stories. Their page is just something else but whatever they post on their stories, that gives you insight into who they are and what they like to do for fun. You can see more of their personality and how they move throughout the day. If I'm out, then it would be her eyes. I stare at someone's eyes, that tells me something."

What keeps him interested...

"Their interaction with me within our conversation. You can kind of tell within the dialogue if they're cool or even if y'all can be friends or have an in-depth conversation."

His stance on courtship...

"I don't think it's completely dead, but I think it's 80 years old and on its way out. We live in such a systemized world where it's so narcissistic, and people are really out for themselves. And as a result, a lot of people are doing things--not because they want to do it--but because they're trying to protect themselves from that hurt. We're so guarded. So I dont think it's all the way dead or even wrong. But the society that we live in and the accessibility that we have, we've lost that balance needed for courtship."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"I need a woman who has taken the time to love herself. A lot of times, men and women get into relationships to fill certain voids because we're not happy with who we are by ourselves.But if you don't love yourself, then it's almost impossible for you to love me. I also need someone that's a team player and who understands we're not competing with each other, we're completing each other. And lastly,she has to have a good spiritual foundation."

His idea of the best Valentine's Day date...

"I would go to a museum because it's fun to just talk and I wouldn't say we'll go to an expensive restaurant. But we'll go to a restaurant that she loves."

Andra Fuller

Courtesy of Andra Fuller

Age: "Grown"

Occupation: Entertainer, Actor, Producer, & Soon-To-Be Director

Hobbies/Interests: Traveling, football, & being active and outdoors

Zodiac Sign: "A lovely Gemini"

Relationship Status: "SINGLE single"

How he prefers to meet a woman...

"I'm definitely a more organic person. I would preferably like to meet someone in person. I also take into consideration the place in which you meet somebody, I factor in the environment as well. I wouldn't want to meet somebody at a club or at a certain type of event; but I would prefer to meet them out and about on a natural type of vibe."

What attracts him...

"Their perceived personality. You can't gauge somebody's personality if you never talk to them, but one thing that social media does allow you to do is get a pretty accurate representation of it. A pretty face and a nice body and a nice smile--all those things are good too. But what separates that pretty face from the next one?"

What keeps him interested...

"Our mutual-ness. I hate to be cliche but if the vibe is good, and we mesh well, and her interests seem to meet my interests--then that kind of gives you the green light to further pursue. Sometimes it doesn't always work but you know."

How he knows he's ready to commit...

"The tell-tale sign would be if you can see a future with that person. And you're willing to let things progress naturally to take things to the next level. Because let's be real, once you're past the age of 35, nobody's trying to play games. But that doesnt mean everything has to be so serious. And that's not just men or just women, that's universal across the board. If you let things progress organically then maybe you could start seeing some wife potential and some husband potential."

His stance on courtship...

"It's not dead and it shouldn't be dead. The unfortunate thing is, not a lot of men know how to court a woman. This generation just doesnt value it as much and a lot of people aren't up to par when it comes to courting in relationships."

His top three relationship must-haves...

"A sense of humor and fun because I'm a goofy person. Intelligence, I find that very sexy. And then she has to be loving. It's a good feeling to know that the person you're involved with has unconditional love for you and that's rare. I've experienced it before and it was beautiful."

Featured image via Andra Fuller

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

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