A writer’s voice is supposed to be strong, independent and unique, and healthy debate on a blog never hurts. But when more publishers, editors and agents are scouring blogs, always remain professional. You don’t want to burn anyone who helps get you a paycheck.
So concludes Sarah Weinman in her Writer’s Digest article, “Blogged and Burned.”
This makes sense, of course. But it’s not always so easy to follow. As Weinman suggests in her article, sometimes even well-intentioned comments aren’t read as such online. I try to be professional in all my posts–at this blog and at others’–and still, I, too, have been “burned.” Sometimes it seems to me that such treatment is the price one pays not for being “unprofessional,” but for expressing an opinion (even if it’s an opinion backed by fact), and/or pointing out serious problems with other people’s posts.
For example, I haven’t always been able to restrain myself from posting when I see someone being bullied online, or when I see another writer saying something I know to be inaccurate. This blog’s readers know I’ve posted here about problems I’ve seen on one writers’ organization blog, too. And sometimes, no matter how carefully we construct our posts, or how much they’re supported by fact/evidence, they aren’t received as we’ve intended them to be.
My mother, who does not have an active online life (and seems perfectly happy without one), and who not infrequently tells my sister and me we should stay away from blogs (and discussion boards), has a few major mottos she’s impressed on us. One of them is: “Be Nice.” If only the writing life–and life on all the blogs/boards I visit–were that simple.