Words are powerful. They can educate, inspire and empower. They can evoke love and joy, they can move you to tears and provoke action, they can change the world. Every day people change the world with the power of the written word. Authors share tales of adventure and triumph, journalists update us with what's going on across the globe, and bloggers and writers are sharing their knowledge, their passions, and a little bit of themselves on sites such as MindBodyGreen.
But writing makes you vulnerable. It’s far safer to read and to criticize than it is to put your words, your thoughts, yourself out into the world to be read and to be criticized. I fear we are missing out on knowledge, experience and inspiration because current and would-be writers are shutting themselves off and hiding their words from the world — all due to hateful and malicious comments from readers.
There's a Spanish proverb that encourages people to speak only when their words are more beautiful than the silence. And the same is true for commenting on articles and blogs. The online world has given us a beautiful place for discussion and self-expression on topics we are all passionate about, so we shouldn’t abuse that space by offending and hurling unconstructive criticism around.
So if you’re a writer or blogger and are becoming disheartened and fearful due to critics more interested in kicking your butt rather than opening their minds, please keep on writing.
And to the critics who are not yet authors: Instead of criticizing by finding fault, criticize by creation — have a go at sharing your wisdom, your passions, and a little bit of yourself.
Here are five reasons to keep on blogging …
1. To show people they aren't alone
“This is one I could learn from.” “I needed this today.” “I can’t believe how in sync this is with what I’ve been thinking about.”
Writing gives people a "me too" moment. We relate to other people’s words and realize we aren't the only ones to struggle, to battle, to overcome. Because of humans’ negativity bias, as writers, it's the harsh comments and unhelpful criticism that will cut deep. Accept that some readers may want you to “shut the f*ck up,” and carry on writing anyway.
2. To remind the world it can never have too many stories
Do people still enjoy reading? Do people still feel lost? Do people still suffer from loneliness and despair? Do people still want meaning? Do people still look for inspiration, and support, and connection? Yes. Never underestimate your ability to inspire someone, even if you never know it.
3. To transform yourself
Writing transforms others’ lives, but it also transforms your own. You are not just the creator of your writing, but also the product of it. By exposing your ideas to the world through your words, you set free that bird of self-belief that has been trapped in a cage of self-doubt for so long, and allow it to soar.
4. To stop being a consumer
We consume and criticize all kinds of writing every day. From newspaper features and blog articles, to the ingredients list on the back of cereal boxes, we consume copious amounts of information and aren’t afraid to assert our opinions on what we read. It's easy to consume, and comment, and criticize; what's scary (and also very empowering) is moving from consumer to creator. Write a blog post, submit an article, and sculpt words instead of just consuming them.
5. Just because
There are far more than five reasons to start writing and blogging. But sometimes there's no reason at all. Sometimes you just need to write — because you have something to say, because there's a writing fire within you that needs igniting, because you’re bored, or empty, or it's your calling, because you’re the only person in the entire world who can write what needs to be written. Just because.