Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Dangers of Opining



As I get older, I hate opining.

It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting. It takes time, of which I have less and less these days. (Pun not entirely intended.) And really, with the plethora of blogs and articles and essays out there ... how does my opinion matter, or make a difference? Do I really have anything new to add?

Every so often, however, some bit of conversation with someone sparks thoughts that I can’t seem to shake, and then I feel compelled to speak out.

The compulsion has gotten stronger lately—which I’d been resisting as I finished the first draft of my contracted novella, because I discovered that stopping to focus on blog posts and such severely interrupted the internal flow of story. (I’ll have to figure out a way around that if God should bless me with continued contracts.) It’s also a bit strange to feel the desire to articulate these things as an almost tangible need, when for so long God has impressed it on me to be silent and wait. And so I find myself questioning, is this merely hubris, surfacing in response to my actually having a contract, blinding me into thinking I have something worthwhile to say simply because I happen to be getting paid for some of my words?

Or could it really be the Lord telling me to step up and speak? That this is a platform He’s given me, to use it?

I just don’t know.

I do know that in all the advice I hear about blogging, the common thread is for writers to not make their blogs for other writers—the publishing community has been in danger of becoming its own ghetto, after all—but to make blogging about one’s own readers. To offer bits of oneself that wouldn’t be revealed elsewhere. To be real, and transparent—even vulnerable. I think I was on my way to doing that decently, once upon a time—especially in my most opinionated posts. (Ironically enough, one of my most-viewed posts is the one titled “Baptists and the Militant Breastfeeding Cult,” in which I discussed an upsetting incident involving a former church. Among other things, I’ve been feeling the need to write a follow-up to that.)

Regardless, I’m having a hard time believing it could be time for me to start, um, expressing opinions again. At the same time, I’m finding it difficult to be silent.

Then there’s the quandary of how much to say—do I go for minimalist, hit the high points, risk my readers misunderstanding or making assumptions because my opinions don’t come with disclaimers? Or risk losing people because of my (admittedly longstanding) tendency to hash over things endlessly, until there’s nothing left but mush? Yes, a middle ground is desirable, I know this—but who defines that?

And how pathetic does it make me to actually write all this, and post it?

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