I keep a running list of blog ideas, things that happen in my life that are infuriating, or peculiar. I'll write a rough draft, a free-flow of thoughts on the topic. When it's time to edit and publish, most of my writing never reaches my audience. Writers and readers can't get along.
I like having friends and family. If they read some of things I think about them, it might make the holidays too awkward for comfort.
I enjoy challenging people, and pushing my practical agenda, but one thing I've learned is, (unfortunately) people don't bend to my will.
My convictions in life are likely not enticing change in others. Writing from a controversial standpoint can be a little scary. What if the internet trolls don't like me?
Recently, I took a break from sharing my writing for a time of discernment. I've started to ask myself, "Is it important for me to share this opinion?"
Unfortunately, you won't read any writing that is making fun of one particular person's quirks. Although hilarious, it's mostly hurtful.
I taught at a preschool after college. If a child did something mean to another child we would say, "Is that helpful or hurtful?" That simple phrase often comes back to my mind.
Sometimes the truth is hurtful.
So, how do we navigate these tricky relationships with each other?
Many people opt to allow people to believe whatever is "true" for them, make their own mistakes, and find their own way. I hate that. Why can't we learn from one another to avoid mistakes, and do the wisest choice?
I have a younger sister who's in her early twenties. As her older sister, I've given her a lot of advice over the years. I'm talking solid, practical, smart advice. She has done the OPPOSITE of every piece of advice I've given her, resulting in some very costly mistakes.
We're all too damn broken and prideful.
Before I got married I desperately wanted an older female I admired to mentor me. I wanted to know what I was getting into with marriage. I was meeting with this sweet woman once a week for breakfast. All she did was listen to me. It made me angry, I wanted someone to mentor me (tell me what to do.)
Thinking back, I wonder if she gave me directives would I have followed them?
You know those people you talk to that can't wait to interject with their opinion or anecdote? Reading someone's writing can feel a bit like that. Reader's think, "Oh, if she only knew my story," and other thoughts that aren't so kind. There isn't enough conversation between the writer and the reader. There isn't enough time.
When I wrote, "Why I Don't Wear My Engagement Ring" I took the time to respond to the majority of the comments. If I get that much feedback again, I don't think I will respond to everyone. It was exhausting.
What's the point of making our point? Why do we feel the need to get the last word or rip apart people's opinion pieces? At best, you'll get a slew of "likes" on your comment, or feel cool for having the "top comment."
I'd like to see more constructive conversation.
I would love to post a controversial piece and see people take the time to write a legitimate response to me. Of course then, I will be chained to my comment section or email. Seth Godin on writing about why he disabled comments on his blog:
"Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters."
Writing without fear is the only way to produce quality content. But, writing without fear doesn't mean writing like a runaway train.
I can try to be tactful with my presentation of the truth. I would also ask that readers stop being so sensitive. Everyone takes everything personally. You must keep in mind that I'm not writing for YOU. This isn't a one-on-one conversation.
Blogging is one giant exchange of ideas. One single idea, from one person, isn't a prescription written for your life. With that in mind, we can all go about happily gleaning information from bloggers without taking it so personal. That pissed off reader can save their twenty minutes of constructing the perfect comment. Or, pointing out a misspelling that negates my argument, no matter how credible.
I will continue to write without fear and share my opinion even if it offends some readers. If I wrote with the intention of pleasing everyone, you would be left with a blank page. The online writer-reader relationship is complex and immature. It's like a text message break-up, or a passive aggressive roommate. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.