Writing is a Contact Sport!

Jonna Jerome

What does your “thinking cap” look like?

Most of us are familiar with the term “thinking cap.” The formal definition is: Noun / A state or mood in which one thinks —usually used in the phrase put one’s thinking cap on. Of course there’s no physical hat actually involved, which is a shame – as it’s fun to visualize the different personalities of writers based on their choice of headgear.

I don’t know about you, my fellow scribes, but my metaphorical thinking cap is a helmet!  The image of strapping on a helmet when I dive deep appeals to me like a safety net. Especially in the digital landscape, writing has become a contact sport.

Online, writers strive for interaction, conversations, and developing relationships rather than only sales. This can come in many forms, such as receiving likes, followers, comments, and ultimately conversions. We are engaging with our readers, not just talking at them. The “one way” delivery system does not apply here. 

The broad goal is to entertain and help people, not annoy them. 

This can be more challenging than you might think, taking into consideration the diversity of audiences. Indeed, many writers have, at times, unintentionally annoyed people. It’s one thing to get approval and accolades, but what happens when the not so favorable stuff starts flooding in? Or indeed, downright haters begin stalking your platforms?

There are things you can do to avoid this.

  1. As in the beginning of the internet explosion, the adage “Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back,” still rings true. Whether you are communicating on behalf of yourself or your business, be sure the message you are putting into the world is what you intend. Does it reflect your ethics, morals, vision, and voice?
  2. Never underestimate the value of research!  Even the most innocent comment can backfire with amazing velocity if you use a phrase you don’t completely understand. It may be controversial to some who receive it.
  3. Narrow down those who will appreciate your information.  There will always be those who find a problem with everything, even puppies and rainbows. Not all content is going to please everyone.
  4. Make sure you’re comfortable with your privacy settings and the audiences you are sharing with. Before hitting the post, publish, or tweet button, proofread carefully.
  5. Last but not least, play nice. Mean spirited or aggressiveness doesn’t need to be a part of your game, even if others respond as such.

I am not saying don’t take a chance with innovative content. Be brave with what you believe in. I’m working to break beyond this barricade myself.

If after the logistics check above, you’re ready to commit and let your creative missive fly – I’m sure your audience will be excited to read it. Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without some element of risk.

Yet…it wouldn’t hurt to make sure you have road-tested that helmet. 

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