Lipstick on a pig, a secret terrorist signal vs. a fist jab show of solidarity, Obama Girl’s crush, Paris Hilton’s faux campaign, Wardrobegate, Barack Obama’s kindergarten declaration of ambition, and, of course, Joe the Plumber!
This is Janie the Writer checking in to say, “Are you glad all of that is over?” I thought so. I am, too! But now that the 2008 election is behind us, what’s next?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article in which I mentioned Sarah Palin. My desire was not to start a political debate. Rather, I was inspired by her gaffe to make a point about writing with authority by doing the hard work required.
One commenter chastised and accused me of making a “biased political statement,” while another found the article valuable, agreeing that establishing oneself as an authority can be difficult.
Unlike face to face contact – you don’t get a chance to establish rapport with people, to be able to gauge your gut instinct about someone, to laugh, share an anecdote or joke, get a chance to ask something about each other before you launch into sharing information of a different variety. The internet can be a pretty unforgiving place and you often do not get a long time to earn trust and nurture loyalty in your readers.
In the aftermath, I’ve found myself thinking a great deal about the kinds of topics I want to write about. It is a process that I have written about before — and will likely write about again. Like all writers, I find myself questioning the direction in which I want to take my writing for the foreseeable future. I think it is not only okay that I re-evaluate periodically, asking myself whether I want to focus my efforts upon a particular topic or genre. I think it is actually mandatory that serious writers engage in an ongoing, perpetual process of assessing their accomplishments and, as appropriate, redefining their writing goals.
A few months ago, one blogger actually scrapped her entire blog and started anew. I was flabbergasted when she announced her intent — and somewhat horrified. I began blogging in March 2005 and, at this writing, have published 524 articles on my primary site, not counting the many posts I have written for my other blogs. The thought of scrapping all of that hard work, often accomplished late at night when, like tonight, I really should have been sleeping in anticipation of the upcoming work day, causes me to break out in a cold sweat.
Writers have varied goals. For some bloggers, the topics covers are very personal — even intended to serve as a written legacy for the author’s children. Whatever the enunciated goals, the best way for a writer to earn the trust and engender the loyalty of his/her readers is though a clear, unequivocal assertion of his/her purpose and establishing a consistent and reliable tone. At all times, a blogger should endeavor to build a respectful rapport with regular readers. It is not necessary that readers always agree with the author’s viewpoints. Sometimes I read blog posts and think to myself, “Wow, I would not have shared that” or “I could never have written a post like that.” But, over time, even when I have that reaction, I develop a strong sense of the blogger’s unique perspective and voice.
I am still pondering my writing goals for the coming months. I may mention politics or other controversial topics . . . or I may not, depending upon what events or persons inspire me. Check back and see what I come up with!