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My blog, the Practical Free Spirit, turns two this week. On Saturday, June 30th, to be exact. This is my 223rd post. I just read my first post, Originality: Having Something to Say. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s not so bad. It sounds like me two years ago, which isn’t, after all, so much different from me now.

Would you like some more data? I’ve taken time off for vacation a few times, but other than that, I reliably post twice a week. I’ve never failed to post when I was planning to do so, although I’ve come close once or twice. The blog gets an average of 105 comments per month (thank you for joining the conversation!). Probably about half of those comments are from me, although I’ve been falling a bit behind in the past few months.

The highest traffic month in the blog’s life was April 2012. The most popular post is What is a Free Spirit?, which is apparently more of a pressing question than I would think. (Thank you, Google Search.) Other popular subjects include those I was afraid to write about, introversion, and cool Star Wars pictures. I am still on a quest to bring some much-deserved cuteness fame to Nala because what good is having a blog if you can’t occasionally cute-bomb your long-suffering readership?

Storm troopers create new lives for themselves fighting crime.

I don’t know much about my readers, actually, except the ones who comment. I wish I knew more. I wonder about you sometimes. It’s a strange sort of intimacy we have because I suspect there’s a significant part of me that you can get to know pretty well if you read regularly. Not the entire me, of course, but an important part. I talk about what I care about here (really, there’s no point in me writing a 500-word essay about something I don’t care about). I talk about what I’ve been thinking about. I link to the most interesting articles I’ve read. Once in a while I get teary-eyed while I’m writing one of these posts because it matters so much to me.

I read articles about what I “should” be doing with the blog, and then I ignore a lot of what I read, because we are friends, you and I. And a lot of those shoulds sound sleazy or cheap or fake to me, and I can’t bear to do them. Not to the blog, which has taken on a life of its own. It depends on me, after all; I breathe life into it. I am responsible for it. Before I started, it didn’t ever occur to me to think of a blog as a living entity, and perhaps many blogs aren’t. But this one–well, it just might be.

I am going to ask for a birthday present now, for me or for the blog, or for both of us. Satisfy my curiosity, leave a comment, and tell me about yourself. Who are you? What do you like about this blog? What do you wish I’d do more or less of? What are you glad that I don’t do (and you hope I never start)? What subjects do I talk about that give you a burst of satisfaction?

I would really like to know whatever you’d like to tell me.

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Conventional blogging wisdom for fiction writers is that we should avoid talking about politics and religion. (Science fiction writers are perhaps the exception to this rule; see John Scalzi, one of the most prominent examples, and on the other side of the American left-right fence, Orson Scott Card.) The idea is that such views can be unnecessarily divisive and that by talking about them openly, we can alienate potential readers.

I have, for the most part, followed this advice. I don’t talk about religion on this blog or anywhere else, really. I rarely talk straight politics, although I couldn’t quite suppress my concerns about habeas corpus. But feminism keeps creeping in through the cracks of this blog and in the material I choose to share on the internet, and isn’t feminism at least partially a political issue? It certainly is a touchy one.

One result is that I’m been forced to rethink the conventional wisdom. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is easier not to blog about religion or politics or social justice. And I can understand the choice not to do so when it feels like a livelihood hangs in the balance of what we allow ourselves to discuss. Plus some of us find conflict to be very unpleasant. But at what point does talking about matters of importance become more of a question of conscience?

Does blogging give you a voice?

I’m not talking about being safe here. There’s this trend that happens in the science fiction blogosphere, wherein a few of the really big bloggers share their opinions of a current issue, followed by a quiet ripple of smaller bloggers chiming in with “Me too”s and “basically exactly what has already been said about this issue in almost the same words.” Because when we follow in the footsteps of the big guns, then we’re relatively secure. I’m not saying it’s bad to offer a show of support, but it’s not the same as pushing the discussion forward. The conventional wisdom is consunmately safe.

Let’s talk about danger instead. If, as a writer, we develop a greater reach, then we have to decide how to use that reach. We have a greater ability to help, and an equally heightened ability to harm. We can set the topic of conversation instead of merely echoing and reacting. We can affect the way people view the world, often subconsciously, through our stories and our words. We can decide whether to point something out as problematic or whether to be silent and let it float on in obscurity. And whether we like it or not, these abilities come with certain responsibilities.

We don’t have to blog about politics or religion, not if we don’t want to. We can choose to communicate exclusively through our fiction. But at some point, I think every artist has to ask, “What am I really trying to say here? What do I really need to say about human experience and about the world? What might I be saying by accident that I don’t actually want to be saying?”

But sometimes, we might be compelled to blog about something risky, about something uncomfortable. And sometimes we are willing to pay the price for having a voice. In which case, that conventional wisdom can go right out the window. There are times when safety is not the most important goal.

What do you think? Do you ever talk about politics or religion on your blog or over social media? Are there issues that you feel compelled to talk about, even though they lack an approved-for-fiction-writers (or approved-for-polite-conversation) stamp?

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My head is in the clouds. Actually, my head is in a fictional boarding school in a remote location in the Canadian Rockies.

In other words, I am obsessed by the novel I am currently writing. And when I’m not completely lost in my obsession, my mind invariably turns to the novel I want to write next.

This makes everyday interaction a bit…problematic. Because there’s a part of me that wants to spend all my time at Lincoln Academy because my god, the amount of tension and drama in the plot right now! I want to find out what happens next. (I mean, I kind of know what happens next, but it’s not the same as when the words are written. Words can be surprising.) There’s a part of me that never wants to leave my house. On days like today, when I don’t have to, I am suffused by a sense of well-being because I can just let my mind go on its haywire creative journey all day long. And I am deeply, deeply happy…even when in the depths of misery because the book will not cooperate, the book is not as good as it should be, the book is making my brain hurt because dealing with an unreliable narrator is even more mind-blowing for the writer than it is for the reader (or so I am learning).

Of course, I can’t spend every minute of every day writing. For that matter, I spend very little time actually writing, and much more time thinking about all things novel-related. But I can’t even do that all the time. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to clear my mind enough to think or converse intelligently about other topics. I can do it, but it takes significantly more effort than usual. So when I wrote about how writers shouldn’t talk about writing on their blogs all the time, maybe I was being a touch naive. Because right now, what else could I possibly want to talk about?!?!

When I need a break from the novel, I do turn to Downton Abbey...

The blog is a particular problem because I choose the topics and the original post is just me talking about what I’m thinking about. In person I get along a bit better, because in general people are quite happy to take over most of the conversation, and I certainly have enough brain space to nod and smile at the correct intervals. I can even make vaguely relevant comments. The people who know me best can still strive for total engagement with strategic introduction of proven Amy-enticing topics: Disneyland, travel, theater, books besides my own, bridge, a sufficiently interesting intellectual topic (with extra points for neuroscience or social trends). Sometimes politics is shocking enough to dart pass my defenses, although this is invariably unpleasant.

But in the end, I am living breathing dreaming and otherwise immersed in my novel. So if I seem somewhat distracted here on the blog, or if you notice a certain, dare I say, sloppiness creeping into my thought processes, well, that is why.

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It’s been a good year here at the Practical Free Spirit. I’ve garnered much enjoyment from writing for this blog, and as I gain more experience, the essays often come easier. I’m becoming clearer about what I care about writing about, and I’ve had some great conversations with many of you.

In terms of traffic, the blog is growing slowly but steadily. I’m happy to say that December 2011 has recently become the highest-traffic month in the blog’s history. It’s a satisfying way to close out the year.

Photo by Ray Wewerka

The Backbone Project:

This summer I ran the very successful backbone project, in which I committed to writing three essays on subjects about which I was nervous to write. Not only did I get some much needed practice in being assertive and brave, but I got to hear about so many people’s experiences and opinions, all of which enriched my own. All of the backbone project posts landed in the list of top 10 read posts this year.

The Backbone Project: Help Me Become Less Wishy-Washy
You are not a Weenie if a Critique Makes You Cry
Where is my Geek Cred?
The Teetotaler Manifesto, or Why I Don’t Drink

Most Popular Posts:

Being an Introvert is Awesome!

Like it or not, people in our society are very worried about being introverts, due to the false association between introversion and lack of social skills.

Loneliness and Social Media

The popularity of this article makes me realize that this is another issue that many people are concerned about. Does social media connect us more or make us feel more isolated?

Living Free From Regret

This one is mostly popular because of the awesome photo, but the message is inspiring too.

10 Things I Wish I’d Known 10 Years Ago

This recent post has the distinction of being the second most read post ever on the site on the day of its publication.

My Personal Favorites:

Writers are Super Heroes

This essay gives me an extra dose of “go get them” energy when I need it.

Problem Competition: Who is Worse Off?

How comparing our problems pushes us farther apart instead of bringing us together.

Will You Change the World?

I hope the answer is yes!

The Stories of Our Lives

“We are all leading ladies and men. And we each get the privilege of creating the stories of our lives.”

All together, it’s been a great year. Here’s to another year of interesting thoughts and engaging conversations!

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When we think about social media, it is important to remember how much the internet, and the ways we interact with it, are evolving. The rate of change is fairly rapid, and because of this, it is easy for conventional wisdom regarding best practices to fall behind.

Think about it: the internet is still fairly new. Some of us might have trouble imagining life without it, and yet the first commercial service providers didn’t start up until the late 1980s, just a bit more than twenty years ago. Google got started in 1996-1997 (about 15 years ago); Livejournal began in 1999 (12 years ago); MySpace was founded in 2003 (about 8 years ago); and Facebook launched in 2004 (7 years ago). All of these services took time to develop and find their audiences. So even experts in social media haven’t been doing it for very long, because not long ago, nothing existed to do.

What this means is that there’s still a lot of space for experimenting, being creative, and developing your own unique way of using social media. Take, for example, the author Tobias Buckell. A year ago, contrary to all advice, he decided to shut down the comments on his blog. Experts told him that this was crazy talk, that he needed to enable comments on his blog to encourage conversation and engagement with his audience. Some people went as far as to say that without comments, it wasn’t even a real blog any longer. But Tobias was feeling drained from all the time and energy he had to spend moderating the comments, and he was censoring what he allowed himself to talk about as a result.

He recently published the results of his experiment: he went from 20,000 unique visitors/month when he shut off comments to 100,000 unique visitors/month a year later, which is the highest traffic he’s had in the seven years he’s run the blog. And he sounds happier because of it too, saying: “It’s really been a lot more fun since I starting letting myself be myself.”

So obviously the conventional wisdom that a blog has to have a commenting option, and that you can judge a blog’s impact and degree of engagement by looking at how many comments are being made on it, is flat-out wrong in this case. Yes, the experts were wrong. Would the no-comments approach work for everyone? No, probably not. But apparently it’s not the deal breaker everyone thought it was.

When considering my own use of social media, I find this distinctly comforting. It’s human to hit a wall sometimes. I’m sure many of us have a social media tactic that we’re “supposed to do” but makes us cringe. I’ll tell you mine, although maybe you can already guess. I’m supposed to write blog posts that are less complete and leave more room for all of you to respond. (And I love it when you respond, really I do.) But right now, it’s hard for me to even consider being less than complete–the thought makes my inner perfectionist rear up and ululate in horror. I imagine a blogging horror story in which I deliberately delete something I really wanted to say in order to leave it for someone else to say, and then…NO ONE SAYS IT.

An example of ululation.

I know, I know, clearly I have my work cut out for me. In the meantime, it’s reassuring to think that I am sometimes allowed to experiment with a more essayist approach to blogging, even while I’m trying to improve my conversationalist style of blogging. And I hope you find it reassuring to know that if you can’t juggle five different social media platforms all at once, the world won’t end. And if you just don’t “get” one of the popular services, you can maybe just skip that one or do something completely different from the norm when you use it.

So, time to dish. I told you my social media cringe-point; what’s yours? Is there a service that you just can’t get into? Is there common advice that makes you want to throw your laptop across the room? Is there something that, if you allowed yourself not to do it, would make you enjoy social media more or allow you to be more authentic to yourself? Let loose below.

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Here it is, WorldCon week! I am so excited to be seeing so many of my favorite people and getting to spend time learning and discussing such interesting things. If you will also be attending WorldCon, please don’t hesitate to come up to me and introduce yourself. I love meeting new people, and if you tell me that you read my blog, I can guarantee that I’ll be bubbling over on the inside. On a business note, I have scheduled posts for my absence, but the comment answering is going to continue to be slow for the next week or so.

I’m also pleased to accept The Parking Lot Confessional’s Validation Ticket blog award. If you go visit them, you will see that Amy says some very nice things about me and my blog. She also says I’m fearless. Doesn’t that have a nice ring? I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’m going to practice saying it to myself in the mirror anyway.

Part of the deal with this award is that I’m supposed to pass it on to other blogs. Now, back in the day, I was always the kid that broke the chain letter loop, so I have this slightly squirmy feeling about this. However, I thought it would be a nice opportunity for me to highlight a few blogs that I think are worth your time.

Renaissance Oaf: Sean Craven was a classmate of mine at Taos Toolbox, which is how I discovered his blog. He has got his blog voice down, and I love reading about his slightly off-kilter take on many subjects. Speaking of fearless, Sean often ventures deep into autobiographical territory, and he has some fascinating tales to tell.

Theodora Goss: You probably remember that I’ve mentioned this blog before because I really can’t say enough good things about it. In a medium in which all the “experts” are telling you that you have to blog on a single subject, I look at Dora’s blog and think, “Yeah, they’re wrong. This is how a writer blog should be done.” She does have recurring subjects just like I do; she talks often about beauty, about creating and living a creative life, about art. And she has a beautiful voice that pervades everything she writes.

Tribal Writer:  I looked at Justine Musk’s blog originally when I decided to start The Practical Free Spirit, and I thought, “Yes. I want to do something like that. Only by me instead.” Justine writes some fiery inspirational essays; she also talks about feminism, finding your power, being a creative “bad ass,” and how to create your own tribe.

What do these three bloggers have in common? They all come across as fearless adventurers, and as you read their blogs, you realize they’re sharing an essential part of themselves. They are each extremely comfortable in their own voices. And all three of them encourage me to think, to challenge my assumptions, and to see the world a little bit differently.

I’m always looking for new blogs to check out, so tell me: what blog rocks your world? What do you like about it?

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I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about art: how art can be defined, what its possible purposes are, what I am trying to accomplish personally as an artist. This exploration began many years ago when I was a student musician: a singer, a songwriter, and a composer.

In my music program, we spent a year on music theory that looks beyond the standard Western tonal palette. Our curriculum began with late 19th century composers like Wagner and Debussy, which I very much enjoyed studying, and then progressed to atonalism, serialism, and other 20th century classical music (including John Cage, Philip Glass, etc.). We also spent a quarter studying 20th century music history.

After I finished this course of study, I went on to take a few composition classes and seminars and began to consider more seriously the question of why. Why do so many cultures include music as an integral component? Why do so many of us like to listen to and/or produce music? What was I trying to achieve with the music I was writing?

The answer, I decided at the time (and it still holds true for me), is communication. Music is a way of communicating to others; of evoking a response, often emotional; of taking something we’re familiar with and translating it into something new, or of exposing us to something new that is outside our own frame of reference. Music can tell a story, something that happens especially frequently in vocal music (my other focus at school) but can also happen in purely instrumental music (listen to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique for an excellent example of programme music). Music can make us feel a certain way: when I’m watching a suspenseful TV show, it’s often the music that makes me jumpy before anything has even happened on-screen. Music can share universal experiences or distill unique experiences in a way that are more relatable. One of the reasons I adore musical theater as much as I do is because it combines the dramatic potentials of theater with the emotional resonance of music, while remaining accessible to a more general audience than opera often does.

Unfortunately a lot of the music composed in academia, the new Classical music of the 20th century, didn’t seem to me to be very accessible at all. In fact, at the time it baffled me because the goal of communication often seemed very absent from it. Indeed, serialism in particular seemed like a game played with numbers that had very little to do with actual sounds at all. I realize now that I wasn’t seeing the complete picture; I believe even the most experimental pieces were trying to communicate. The problem, for me, was that they were communicating with only a select group of people who were educated enough in music to be able to understand them. I was in that group, yes, but what about everyone else? Imagine the equivalent of throwing out an old common language and writing in a new language; you will only be able to communicate with the select group also versed in the new language. So what we are talking about then is the question of audience. If art is communication, then considering a given piece of art’s intended audience becomes very important.

I also approach writing as art, and therefore as an act of communication. But in pursuing that line of thinking, I realized there are many forms that written art can take. We have the obvious: novels, short stories, plays, poems. But we also have the slightly less obvious (at least to me): letters, blogs, Google+/Twitter/Facebook. Am I saying everyone’s Facebook account is art? I’m not sure if I’d go quite that far (although feel free to make a case for it in the comments). I’m saying it can be art; it has the potential to be art. I’ve certainly created art through letters/emails, in which I create an idea, a vision of who I am and what my life story is. And then on the flip side there are the banal and mundane emails that are just a recital of facts or a quick way to make plans.

I’m in love with this great art project, in which a photographer traveled around the country taking photos of people’s refrigerators. I think about this project all the time because I am just blown away by the coolness of it, showing the stories of these random people through one photo. To me, this is art—it turns my assumptions around, it evokes emotion in me, it causes me to see the world around me in a different way.

So then is this blog art? It certainly tries to do those same things. Some of you will think I’m being pretentious by labeling my blog as art, but isn’t it interesting to think about? I like to think of each essay being a small piece of a greater mosaic—I wonder what it will look like when it is complete. I wonder what picture I will have created. I get excited just thinking about it.

What is art? Is it in the eye of the beholder, the creator, or both? Is it about intention or execution? What does art mean to you?

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When I announced the Backbone Project two weeks ago, I expected to get some practice at writing essays that weren’t terribly conciliatory, at responding to people who disagreed with me, and at addressing subjects that I might normally hesitate to talk about. And I was right, to a point; I did in fact get practice in all of the above. But I learned a lot more than I anticipated.

First off, I learned that Ferrett is right (which probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many of you). Here I’ve been spending all this energy softening the expression of my viewpoints and trying my hardest to keep everyone happy, and it turns out that’s not so interesting. People respond more when I’m less nice, less perfection-geared, and less careful, as you can see from the amazing comment threads on all three of the Backbone Project essays.

Also, when people disagree with me or even dislike me, I don’t spontaneously combust into flames. Instead, I have a feeling of strength. There’s something bracingly exciting about saying: This is who I am, and this is where I stand. You don’t have to agree with me, but here I am, like it or not.

In a small, private-ish corner of the internet, I even stirred up a tiny hornet’s nest. Yes, indeed, there were all sorts of strangers saying, among other things, how judgmental and smug I am, how if I’ve had problems with not drinking, it must be because of my attitude (otherwise known as victim blaming, but whatever), and that it is completely not a big deal to not drink. At first, I felt terrible. I should have chosen my words more carefully. I was an awful person, both to write such an essay and to not want to drink in the first place. That second assertion snapped me out of it and instead I felt defensive. They hadn’t read my essay! They definitely hadn’t read the comments following it. They didn’t understand. For awhile, I yo-yoed between the two states.

And then I realized it wasn’t a big deal. The conversation wasn’t even about me. Anybody who no longer liked me or no longer wanted to read my blog probably wasn’t my friend or ideal reader in the first place. “Congratulations,” my husband said. “Having people tear you apart on the internet means you’ve leveled up. You have more influence now.” Oh. Who knew?

Meanwhile, I was busy being educated, and the remaining small rough patch of alienation caused by not drinking alcohol was being healed as I found solidarity in a completely unexpected way. As all of you shared the ways in which you are different, told your stories about being child free or hating to be photographed, not wearing shoes and being vegetarian/vegan, not driving and being polyamorous, I began to feel not so much held apart by my differences as brought closer to all of you who have had similar struggles. Indeed, our differences became something we have in common. I learned so much from all three conversations, and I’m looking forward to many more.

Of course, while my goal for the Backbone Project was to write three essays, in reality the project is ongoing, which is great, because it supports what I’m doing in the rest of my life as well. I’m going to keep trying to avoid the wishy-washy and to write strongly and bravely. I know I won’t always succeed, but my guess is that the more I do it, the better I will become.

And remember, you have until tonight to send me links to your own Backbone Project essays. There have been some really awesome posts going up this last week, and I can’t wait to share them with everybody!

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Wow.

I have to say, I thought my backbone project idea was pretty nifty, but I had no idea what an outpouring of support I would receive from all of you wonderful people. I’ve already learned a great deal as well, even though I’m not even halfway done. Thank you all, with some extra special thanks to Ferrett for giving me the idea in the first place.

I’ve already visited some of the blog posts that others have written as part of this project, but Kimberly had the great idea of putting together a list of the links so that they’re easy for everyone to find. I thought about putting the list on the sidebar, but I never look at blog sidebars, so instead I’m going to put together a few posts linking to other Backbone Project participants.

Here’s how to get involved! First, go ahead and write a blog post. It can be a post about the project, it can be a non-wishy washy project post like the ones I’m trying to write, or it can be a response to someone else’s project post (preferably disagreeing in some way). Once you’ve published your Project Backbone post (or posts, feel free to do more than one like I am), email the link(s) to me at practicalfreespirt@gmail.com with “Project Backbone” in the subject line. I’ll be publishing a list with your links on the next two Wednesdays, bright and early (meaning, get those links to me by late afternoon Tuesday to be safe). And if you are a twitter person, you can also use the hashtag #backboneproject to label your blog post announcement.

And what is this about another challenge? Why, yes! Apparently it’s in the air. Theodora Goss is organizing a summer YA Novel Challenge, and I’ve decided to join in the fun. (Perhaps some of you will decide to do it as well!) Here are the rules, which are very flexible and meant to be changed:

1. The challenge will run June 1st to August 31st.
2. The goal of the challenge is to write or revise a YA novel, or part of a YA novel.
3. To meet that goal, set smaller goals for yourself: words per day, pages revised per week, etc.
4. If you would like, blog about your progress. Remember that failure is as important as success.
5. Anyone can join or leave the challenge at any time. It’s always OK to start or stop.

I’m going to be starting my next YA novel for this challenge. I don’t expect to finish by the end of August, as I have some travel planned this summer that will interfere with writing, but I’m hoping to get a good start and then some.

And I’m planning to try to blog about it as well. I’m not sure how that will work, to be honest. I hate word count posts, so I’m definitely not going to do that, and I’m not big on sharing excerpts from works-in-progress either. Maybe I’ll share things about my successes and failures. Maybe I’ll go off on a tangent and wax philosophical about related topics. Or maybe I’ll decide blogging about it is just plain boring (or stressful, or both) and stop. I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Until then, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

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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:

  1. 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!
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

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