To All Bloggers And Writers: When It Comes To Writing, Regret (Yes) Fret (No)

You can't plug every hole in the dike.
You can’t plug every hole in the dike.

Daily Prompt: Release Me

Tell us about the blog post you were most nervous to publish — and what it was like to set it free.

There is a funny thing about writing as opposed to speaking. When speaking there is a tendency to guard one’s words carefully for fear what is said may come out wrong or the wrong thing might be said. When writing one has the opportunity to measure words and say what one may not speak, but do so in a fashion that will be more palatable and less offending if that is, indeed, one’s intent.

The problem is most can read between the lines quite easily or they have the ability to ponder and twist what was written.

Often a writer spends more time explaining what was written than what was he originally conveyed. (A word spoken, 100 words explaining.)

When speaking the speaker is able to note how their words are taken and quickly make a change, rephrase, or add some explanation. The writer makes every effort to convey their thoughts in as few words as possible while covering every possible loophole and still manages to be misunderstood, mislead, confound, and confuse.

I find it amazing that even stuff supposed to be caught by editors and proof readers make it to the eyes of the public to read like a batch of contaminated food.

Personally I’m an emotional writer. I write what I feel at the moment. That said, there are, of course, things that must be explored in the long term, but some issues are placed on the hard-drive, given a quick edit (sometimes), proofed (not very well), and posted. And then I wait.

People will reply. Most generally it is positive. Now and then one replies on something written that is less than flattering. When that happens I take it serious. I ask is the reply emotional, rational, honest, true, and correct?

Legitimate replies deserve legitimate explanations. That is when writing becomes an art. How one replies to adversity or criticism tells the world how good of a writer one is. Although at one time I received such a scathing criticism on something I merely replied, “Poopy face.” My advice, though, is to take the highroad, yet expose a poopy face when you see one.

I never defend myself when I’m wrong. I simply say I’m wrong. What ever angst the one replying wanted to put me through (if that was their intent) is over. I don’t have to be right.

One who writes may live in fear that what is written will come back to haunt them. As if some dark nefarious Moriarty is lurking and spying in the shadows of cyberspace waiting to pounce on every thought, post, paragraph, sentence, word, or letter posted. As though a file were being kept to check for inconsistencies, hypocrisy, distortions, lies, misquotes, and the like to be used on judgment day. Frankly, my harshest judgment will come from what I didn’t write rather than what I did write.

It is good to be cautious, but one must bear in mind that you can’t please everyone. I have what I term the ‘law of thirds;’ a third like what you’ve posted, a third don’t like what you’ve posted, and a third don’t care.

Have there been things I have been nervous about posting? Yes but, I got over that a long time ago.

Life is full of mistakes and posts we wish we would not have posted.

When in high school I had a Geography text book that had a picture of the famous Old Faithful geyser. I penciled-in fingers on each side of it and wrote, “What a zit!” Everybody got a chance to look at it and I was Mr. Funny-Guy for a moment. At the end of the year our books had to be checked by the teacher before being turned in. The “zit” thing was still there. I was fined a quarter and told to erase it. I paid the quarter and pretended to erase it.

Before hand, I recall watching the teacher chuckle to himself when he saw what I did to the book. It was wrong, but funny. Sometimes things like that happen; wrong things are said and done, but that’s life. I regret defacing a book for a cheap laugh, but it is a fond memory.

I bet the next year he got even a bigger chuckle from it.

You can’t plug every hole in a dike, please everyone, nor un-ring a bell. That hole in the dike may quench somebody’s thirst or water a flower. After considering everything you must please yourself. The rung bell may have turned out to awaken somebody or warn of danger.

Advertisements

25 comments

  1. As a new blogger I appreciate your explanation of why it takes so long to publish so few words. Write, box, refine, edit, reword. If it was a conversation I would have blurted out what needed saying and been done with it. I’m simply happy that my last two posts managed to get through the hit ‘publish’ button without the ‘needs editing’ suggestion box appearing. I’m going to reread this until its ingrained.

  2. I love your advice and think it is spot-on. I think my best writing has been more emotional and less carefully structured. You are right that we shouldn’t get super hung up on small errors or allow critics to dampen our own joy of creation.

  3. Another post full of good advices. I like your law of thirds. I would like working with my writings. But I think with me it’s a 5 percent of “likes” a 5 percent of “dislikes” and a 90 percent of “don’t care”.

  4. Gah, I definitely relate to this after blogging this afternoon. I was just writing a story I have told a thousand times and successfully earned laughs and gasps in under 10 minutes. But this thing took like two hours. Oh writing, you are so arduous and wonderful.

  5. “You can’t plug every hole in a dike, please everyone, nor un-ring a bell. That hole in the dike may quench somebody’s thirst or water a flower. After considering everything you must please yourself. The rung bell may have turned out to awaken somebody or warn of danger.”

    Love it! Well said. If we had to blog like we write a novel (editing x 10) what would be the fun of it? To me, blogging is a live conversation, the best of two worlds coming together thanks to technology.

    • It is sort of funny you saying that. I’ve written for years. Had a few short stories published, but never had the time the really throw myself into writing. I had to wait until the right technology came along that allowed me to express myself in the written form.
      Writing is constantly changing. Writing two hundred years ago was good, but cumbersome by today’s standards. What never changes are good stories.

  6. True. Even just a few years ago, it was hard for indies to self-publish, mostly due to how expensive it was. Now, thanks to POD and companies like Amazon, that broke many of the chains, and paired to all the technological blessings for writers, it is the best of times for writers. And like you mention, it will constantly change.

  7. So much of this post had me nodding my head and mentally high-fiving you because it’s just so true! I’ve only been blogging for just over a year but I’ve been writing for myself for over 25. I found the transition to blogging agonising, excruciating, you name it. I worried SO MUCH about what others might think once I sent something out into the world that I found it hard to write anything at all! But I kept going because I decided I loved it, and figured well, as long as I enjoy it that’s enough for me. If anyone else likes it, that’s gravy, and I do love the thought that something I created has brightened someone’s day. Thank you for brightening mine! 🙂

Blather away, if you like.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s