By Jael Strong
I recently read a blog post, Are you really going to post that?, highlighting the need for online writers to be careful what they say. It seems we all forget from time to time the need to filter our thoughts, sending us down an embarrassing path that leads to broken professional relationships and possible public humiliation. The post paints an awful scenario that made me honestly feel a bit ill just reading about it. We don’t want to forget that, like words spoken with the literal tongue, we can’t take back what we have said once we put it out there for the world to see.
Then I started to wonder: Could this instill fear in the upstart author? Do we want to gag up and coming talent with needless fears about insulting some other online entity? Yes, decency dictates good form when speaking of others. On the other hand, we need to be ourselves as writers. We have to establish an honest voice free of hypocrisy. It is imperative that we come across as sincere and courageous. If we start to question whether our words will upset others, we may start to put every thought through a sieve, leaving only the tasty morsels that tickle the taste buds of our readers. Writers should be courageous and inspire such courage in others.
Of course, there is always a flip side. A filter isn’t so bad. After all, your car has one, your furnace has one, your vacuum has one, and you are happy that they do. Being careful that what we write isn’t something that we later wish we had buried may be as simple as a quick once over before hitting the publish button. We don’t have to only paint roses with our words in order not to alienate readers and colleagues. We have to strike a balance.
So, what is the balance? Be courageous. Don’t be afraid to write openly and honestly. It is my sincere hope that no writer hides from what they truly want to write out of fear of reprisal. If you truly believe in what you are writing, write it, publish it, and be proud that you did. But before sipping the champagne, celebrating your brazen refusal to let others tell you what to write, make sure that you haven’t been crass or callous in the process of being honest. Ultimately though, a direct approach is going to come across as more authentic, and in the long run more enjoyable to read, than a soft-shoed tactic.
About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.