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Getting called out

November 21, 2013

As my role in generating content for this blog is about to change, I’m looking back at my time here. It’s a natural thing to do. And while the exercise of producing content to be published almost every day has certainly made me a better writer, there are some things I would do differently.

For one, I would have published more things that cause other writers to call me out. Not in an in-your-face, Howard Stern kind of effort. In this context, no one gains from a food fight.

In a few instances, I’ve been called out by other writers. In some cases, I conceded their points. As awesome and legendary as I am, I’m periodically wrong. Ask my kids.

When writers disagree and hold each other accountable for their opinions–and use that as a jumping-off point for discussion, good things happen.

What could be better than a leopard-print Snuggie and coffee? The Internet can’t fit the entire list.

It’s a cliche now, but about fifteen years ago, I worked for a guy whose mantra was ‘Feedback is a gift.’ And it’s a cliche because it’s true. Now some gifts aren’t helpful. For instance, if you give me a leopard-print Snuggie or the Greatest Country Hits of the 80s collection, I will appreciate the effort and never, ever use the gift. In the same way, if you blast me and call me an idiot and tell me something is <insert criticism here> without taking the time to explain, your words will go into the box with the leopard print Snuggie.

But when you tell me you think I’m wrong because of a, b, and c, I may or may not wind up agreeing with you, but I will consider your argument.

As writers, we are bound to do that. Our publishing content means that we’re putting ourselves in a position where other people can tell us we’re stupid and have horrible taste in thoughts, feelings, and clothing. It’s in the job description. We have to accept that. If you can’t accept that, don’t publish.

But as consumers, we should also give feedback the way we would like to receive it (no, I don’t mean wrapped in twenty-dollar bills, but it’s a nice thought). In other words, if I prefer people who disagree with me to use a reasoned approach so I can consider their opinions, I should do the same.

In my future writing, I intend to provide more opportunities for people to disagree, without being disagreeable to solicit the feedback.

One Comment
  1. November 21, 2013 8:43 am

    This is a very good point. I’m always hesitant to write things that I know will cause someone to “call me out” so I guess I needed to hear why I should do this. Push myself out of my boundaries and buck up.

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