I’ve been following a conversation on one of the forums I belong to about what works when blogging. You know, the type of discussion in which we talk about what engages the reader and what might increase a blog’s audience, while sharing do and do not tips and all the normal considerations of blogginess.
The estimable Ferrett shared a link on his post on how to get comments. There is much good advice to be had in this essay and the one about blogging that precedes it, but there was one sentence that particularly stood out for me. Ferrett says, “If you’re a conciliatory person by nature, writing a pleasant essay that excuses whatever it is that bugs you with a “But I guess that’s how people are” will not get comments either, because you’ll be so wishy-washy that nobody will be able to disagree with you.”
This sentence popped out at me because I had an instant “ouch” moment of recognition. Yeah. I went through the “Oh no, I probably do that” period to the “Oh God, I hate it when people are wishy-washy” phase to the “I need to stop doing that” realization. It was fun like having a root canal done is fun (and wow, do I now know a whole lot about that). And thus the idea of my newest project was born.
The fact is, I want to be a nice person. And I want you to like me. I don’t even know who you all are, but that doesn’t matter; I just de facto want you to like me. Which I hope you can see can be a bit crazy-making. I enjoy smoothing things over, keeping things calm, following the rules, being reasonable and fair-minded, and not stirring up the pot. Being a people pleaser is, in a way, very reassuring. It allows me to feel that I have some control over life. Never mind that I know intellectually that I have about as much control over my life as I do over the U.S. government (I vote, so there’s my tiny little sliver of control right there).
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too nice, and sometimes I have trouble finding that line. Plus I definitely do not want to be wishy-washy (the horror!). Hence the project. I am going to write THREE blog posts that are not conciliatory. Well, at least I’m going to try very hard, and you can tell me how I’m doing. I’m planning to publish all three in a row if possible, but in any event I will publish them all in a timely manner. (Really I want to write only one, and then see how it goes, and then maybe write another one if it wasn’t so bad. Talk about wishy-washy! So that’s why I’m committing up front to three.)
I’m depending on you, my readers, to help me make this project a success. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- If you are also a people pleaser and a blogger, you can make your own commitment of writing x number of non-conciliatory posts. I will cheer you on, and we can provide moral support for each other!
- You can tell me how I’m doing and call me out if I’m being too nice in spite of myself. I’m so used to doing it, I’m pretty sure I’ll do it sometimes without even realizing it. So I need your eyes.
- You can function as a part of my own elite cheerleading squad, telling me how great it is that I’m saying things people could disagree with.
- You can disagree with me. In public. Especially if you are a people pleaser too, but really no matter who you are. (Just no trolling. Trolling is not cool and will not advance the cause.)
Right. First post should come out on Thursday. Wish me luck, and feel free to share any last-minute tips (believe me, I’m going to need them).