Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something To Think About

Time and again, we hear political candidates or elected officials make a statement that creates an outcry from the public.l Whether it is just insensitivity or ignorance of the facts or perhaps even a goal of destroying someone else doesn't matter. These people who are in the public eye need to be very careful about what they say. That old Engage mouth, insert foot comes to mind here.

As writers, we also need to be conscious of the strength our words may have. Whether we have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of readers doesn't matter. We need to be wary of what comes from brain to fingertips when we pound out a story, article or poem.

When you write an article, ask yourself if your statements are factual, not just your own thoughts. If you're creating a family story or memoir piece, step back and take a good look to see if you may hurt someone's feelings. If you base a character in a short story or novel on a real person, have you made it so obvious that they might be angry or hurt? Is what you've written irreverent, spiteful, or personality-slashing?

If you write an op-ed piece or Letter to the Editor, do you present your case in a respectful manner? A lot of people who write these letters or opinions are so vitriolic. Their sarcasm drips from their words like a leaky faucet. Others spew actual hatred. I often wonder if their words come back to bite them later.

When I hear or read something so negative or hurtful, it definitely diminishes my opinion of the writer or speaker.

Think before you send it to an editor. There are probably some editors who like things that shock or make people gasp a bit. So, you just might sell something filled with negative vibes, but what will your reading public think about you, the writer? Will you risk losing not only readers, but also friends?

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