First, it is all about effective communication.
Second, it should be based on the internal guidance system within us, not our outward beauty, money, position in life, career, clothes, car, etc.
Third, we should be having fun--without intentionally hurting someone else--while engaged in both.
Communication. We communicate with so much more than our words. Our accent can tell where we were born perhaps. Our clothes tell whether we are the staid, serious type or more flamboyant. Whether we are blue collar or white collar--Duh! Our body language may contradict our words. Our actions may contradict our words. Yet both opposing factors tell their own story. We haven't even gotten into the underlying implications surrounding wordplay, tone, pitch, overall delivery.
Successful writing depends on the author effectively communicating with the reader. Successful dating depending on the parties effectively communicating with each other.
Values. As for the outward versus inward qualities that we all possess, the rules we live by (the internal compass) can cause so many divorces from marriages based on good looks, or money, or whatever gets ranked in magazines (the external container and circumstances). Like the man who thinks it is okay to cheat on his wife, yet hides it from her. If it were truly alright with wifey, why not be upfront? Even if I were married to the Most Beautiful Person of 2011 or the Sexiest Person Alive, it would be over the nanosecond after I heard of any adultery.
These attitudes deliver a punch within our writing too. Instead of finding that audience based on age or income, find them based on mutual mores. Fidelity, honesty, hard-working, loving, sharing. Or if you write about the world of drugs and human trafficking, obviously justice, the law, maybe even revenge are the shared values. Work them to find the audience craving these stories.
Joy. And finally, yes, we should all be having more fun (but not at the expense of others). Our days should be filled with more joy.
So don't be so hard and critical of yourself and your writing. I am a FLYLady subscriber (see www.FLYLady.net and sign up for her daily digest of inspirational messages and instructions) which is a free website devoted deep down to self-confidence, self-respect. It also will help you get your house clean and organized in baby steps. One thing she advocates is to work in fifteen-minute spurts: kitchen, bathroom, office, for example. The final fifteen minutes is for you. What a great idea!
If you are of the puritan work ethic I was raised in, the thought But I can't play until the work is done still shouts at me in my brain. It is getting weaker though, and I'm learning to ignore it more. After all, with my workaholic tendencies and drive to accomplish and succeed, there is always more work to be done. However, I take time to play more now. My career change allowed that in grand part. My new attitude encourages it in a smaller fashion. Together: I definitely have more joy and happiness in my days.
So should you.