Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

On getting started.

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 2.16 pm

Q. I guess what I’m asking is how do I gain the confidence to share my views. The current firearms debate for example. I’m so worried about the criticism and the potential hate that I don’t get involved. How did you deal with such things? — thewellman, from tumblr.

A. I’m not sure I can say anything that would cause you to feel confident—feelings are a tricky thing to produce.

That said, here’s what I’d basically suggest:

1. Say what you think.

2. Make sure you say it sincerely, as graciously as possible, and with lots of good sources to back up your claims. If you use a cold tone or don’t document your facts well, you’re inviting criticism and disagreement. It’s fine to write forcefully and make a fierce argument, but don’t say or do anything you wouldn’t say or do in person. In short: Make your personality as a writer a complement to your ideas, not a distraction.

3. Always be open to the possibility that you are wrong or haven’t heard all sides of the story. Just today I posted a correction from another blogger to a post I made which didn’t present an accurate picture in its first version.

4. If people respond to your opinions, that’s great! That means you’ve expressed yourself clearly and strongly enough to spark conversation. Read the responses as much as possible.

5. But here’s the thing: Not all responses are equal. Regardless of whether the person responding agrees with you or not, their input may or may not be any good. If another blogger responds with thoughtful criticisms of your arguments, you might want to take the time to reply. You don’t have to if you don’t have time or are feeling sick that day or just don’t feel like it, but it’s good if you do.

However, if someone responds with little more than curses and name calling, I’d advise ignoring it. If they are particularly crude or do this sort of thing repeatedly, you can even block them—and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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