‘To write…is like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it into the sea: its destination is uncertain.’ Gabrial Zaid
One of my abiding memories of the school holidays when I was a child was watching on old TV show in black and white, ‘Robinson Crusoe’. The programme had a very distinctive title tune (see below) and seemed to have about a million episodes. The poor sod was never getting off that island. Later in life, my friends and I used to hum that tune loudly whenever one of us returned from a particularly unsuccessful sojourn to the nightclub dance floor. (see last post for more.)
Anyway, I digress. My blog has been in existence for two years now. I enjoy writing it. I enjoy writing. I enjoy the nice comments people leave through twitter and the blog itself. What I don’t particularly enjoy is anything negative that comes my way. I’m only human. However, I’m not perfect, my blog posts are never perfect, and, suffice to say, I am aware that writing a blog involves some level of self-promotion, along with the thoughts and ideas I like to share, so I develop a thick skin.
Once your writing is out there, then it’s out there and people are entitled to take what they want from it. They might completely misinterpret what you’re trying to say, might quote you completely out of context, might even choose one line which fits their own beliefs. The problem is, as soon as you press publish, like Robinson Crusoe and his message in a bottle, there is little you can do about that. Turn off your comment access? Quit Twitter? You could. But you’d be cutting your nose off to spite your face. Best to brush yourself off and start all over again.
There is a pattern with blogging, I think. You start off on a wave of good publicity as your fresh ideas come pouring out. The things you’ve always wanted to say and have formulated in your mind for ages come flooding onto the page. Then, when those initial posts have dried up, you try to think about what to say next. The danger is, now that you like the nice comments, you go looking for nice comments. Big mistake. Your blog will come across as insincere, affected and contrived. If you’ve nothing to say leave it for a while. Otherwise write like no-no-one’s reading it. It’s the only way. And, if people don’t like what you’ve written, at least you’ve started a conversation.
Blogging and Twitter are just microcosms of real life. No matter how hard you try to avoid people you will not get on with, they will always be there. Get over it. Be honest in your writing. You won’t always get it right. And not everyone is your pal.
As Jane Austen said: ‘I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.’
Just throw your bottle out there. See what happens.