February 2, 2012

Why you might stop reading this post before you reach the end of the first sentence.

Before you get to the end of this sentence, most of you will stop reading.

Some of you will be outraged by my opinions on spirituality, or weary of how I always go on about cats/cake/money, or just plain uninterested in the things I write about.

Some of you will be looking for an article about spider monkeys or a picture of plum blossom, or will be gasping for a cup of coffee.

I’m not affected by those in the second category but, in vulnerable moments, I worry about the first.

You might also worry about speaking up – at work, to your friends and family, in your spiritual/political/social groups.

These are the things that help me to keep launching words into the world:

* I remember that, even if every single one of my posts said ‘you’re lovely’, some people would get annoyed. We can NEVER keep all the people happy all the time, and neither should we try to.

* Some (all?) of those people who stop reading are better off doing so. We all have ideal audiences, and it can take a while to find the people who are interested in what we have to say. Chris Guillebeau sometimes sends out newsletters that are extra-Chris-Guillebeauy, just to winnow out the people who will never appreciate his offerings.

* Sometimes I will upset people with the things I write/say. That’s fine too. I’ll listen to feedback and either stand by what I said despite it causing harm, or acknowledge that I made a mistake and learn from it. I’ll know that I’m human. I’ll forgive myself.

Stand by what I said despite causing harm? Yup. Sometimes hurt or stirred-up-feelings are necessary, in order for something to be learnt or something to heal. You don’t always have to like what I say. What you do with your reaction to what I write is up to you. It’s none of my business.

It’s always a risk to speak up. Writers are speaking up whenever they send words out into the world. You are speaking up whenever you open your mouth and make sounds. Even before you make the sounds.

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

~Barbara Kingsolver

This is what I have to say today.


Plum blossom by noe via Creative Commons with gratitude.

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