To NOT express what you think is to allow your humanity be corrupted
Even if just by a bit, anytime you decide to censor yourself for fear of reprisal, you ruin the best part of you. The creative independent part. Be it an office bully, an idiot you have to work with, the political view points of others, whatever…
If you have something to say and choose not to say it, it corrodes your essence as a human being. This is why you must speak when compelled to. To do otherwise and not speak is even more dangerous. You’re helping to tilt the world more towards evil when you don’t push it back towards good.
Because conversations, real meaningful ones, are how you make ideas better. They are how you make yourself and others better because you both enter with one position and leave with something new and hopefully better.
By being open to criticism (and wanting criticism) you can become less of a jackass and a bit wiser. You become a person with a well articulated positions that over time, knows what they think and why they think it. You become someone who is at the ready to defend ideas with words instead of fists and violence (but fists and violence if need be).
You can always tell when someone has not gone through this difficult process. Who are not open to criticism. They tend to say things with the intention of winning the argument instead of wanting to improve or change their mind on a topic. They hold onto beliefs as dogma and refuse to debate the merits of their concepts and constructs. They instead resort to identity attacks.
Oh the pay gap for women is a myth? You just hate women and you’re not even allow to have an opinion on this since you’re a white guy!
The only thing to do in this situation is to continue to speak and assault the merits of positions you find unacceptable.
Being able to speak your truth in the most literal sense (not that bullshit personal growth jargon) is much more powerful than violence anyways.
It’s why the west is best.
Because our culture has freedom of speech as a cornerstone of how we conceptualize ourselves in the world. I
Most of us are willing to defend our position.
This also means you don’t shoot your mouth off, say dumb things in the heat of the moment or be baited into being needlessly offensive on social media. A smart person is constantly learning and crafting their arguments. A smart person also does not make enemies out of potential allies.
How To Write
What does all this have to do with writing? There is no better way of sorting your thoughts out than writing them down. Be it in a journal or blog post. BUT, most of us start off not really knowing how to write. My writing back in the day was truly embarrassing which is why I now want to share some hard won advice.
Not because I think I’m this amazingly talented writer, but rather because I’ve sort of got the who “being authentically you” thing down and people seem to appreciate it. At least the people who email me about my various articles here.
1 – Write clearly – no fluff
Write what you think, write what you believe, write in a careful and thoughtful way (also pay attention to grammar). Then take on the responsibility and the burden that words have meaning and what YOU SAY MATTERS.
Most writing is simply a regurgitation of ideas you got from somewhere else. Most ideas are also not your own, particularly if you’re a 20 something giving life advice. Just stop unless you have some sort of unique perspective. I think it was Socrates who said no one who is younger than 30 should be allow to write about how to live.
Also, most new writers and bloggers have trouble being authentic. Yes that is cliche to say, but we try to currate a digital presence that shows how awesome we are at this moment. Sort of like how pictures are simply captures of moments in time and that you happened to be there. Pictures of happiness without all the baggage/drama that gives moment actual depth. You simply see the surface. You see the picture.
2 -Avoid Cliches and “trying” to be deep
I like Dave Ursillo. He seems nice enough, but his writing grates me (example). Particularly because he’s a master at saying nothing and falling victim to his own writing tropes.
His writing comes across as lacking soul for me. Like he’s trying to be something he is not. His in-authentic style is what makes his writing so difficult for me. He’s made the claim that he’s been maligned online as a bullshit artist and truly not knowing why anyone would say that about him. I’ll break it down here as a way to help you with your writing.
Maybe he is being genuine, but when I try to read anything he writes my eyes roll at how silly and lame it all is.
3 – How to actually write by being YOU:
Find your voice. Live your life. Share your story by TELLING A STORY.
They don’t get lost in a word salad like Dave (and I quote):
…our creative practice is literally threatening our wellness, safety, stability, control of life,
…my workshop was bothering to navigate all of the discomfort of writing the full, whole, authentic truth of her memoir —
…part of her remaining hidden; unexpressed; unrealized; shadowed in fear; buried in What Ifs.
Full of fluff, feel good babble. I also find it annoying how he structures almost every other sentence full of adjectives:
The coke can was red, silver and icy cold in my hand.
I drank the soda because I was painfully, desperately, hauntingly thirsty for days, weeks, hours, months perhaps even years.
It gets a bit annoying . Particularly when he writes this way…
I can write like this too, ready? OK! Read:
I awoke from my comfy, soft, safe, pillow laden water bed. With the bright, yellowy orange glow of the Monday morning sun peering violatingly in through a tiny, insignificant, ever so miniscule crack in the nook of the bedroom window.
I had a thirst unbeknownst to me, a thirsty, thirst of that of which I’ve never experienced during my unexpress, soul centered morning ritual of journaling to find my authentic self, meditating to be “centered” and drinking the finest, darkest, pugnant coffee to align my emotional state with my authentic truth.
Nay! My mind intrudingly exclaimed with harshness, rudeness and discomfort. I needed a tall, cold, foamy, glass of the finest Narragansett beer straight from it’s shiny red and silver can into my favorite embroidered mug purchased on a deep, harrowing, shadow filled trek to Walmart.
I wish he would tell stores instead of describing everything with 10 adjectives. How about lessons you learned from trips abroad with your GF? How about difficulties and problems you have? Real problems. Not authentically you, centered, finding yourself fake fears. But real fears.
Writing is art.
Creating is art.
Your style will develop as you continue to write. At first you can only suck at writing. My personal issue has been grammar and spelling. It’s a never ending, undying, forever bothersome…
Been reading to much Urillo 🙂
Then you will immitate what you read. Eventually, if you’re good you’ll finally step into your own. If not, you’ll be perpetually stuck copying the styles of others instead of having your own style.
Your writing will be different than other writers you like. Just like how YOU would make music or a YouTube video, once you’re good and stand out, you will only do so because of your uniqueness. Like Casey Neistat on YouTube. His style is his and others copy at their peril.
Another example would be Nick Kelly at BoldandDetermined.com, he writes nothing like Ryan Holiday BUT both men are very talented. They both have their own styles and are professionals at writing.
Write With Courage
To engage in combat requires courage. To stand your ground and physically fight is no small thing. It’s the same with words and conversation. To engage in intellectual combat requires you develop courage, a courage of your convictions and the verbal tools to defend yourself and attack others.
Most people don’t have this sort of courage because it’s dangerous to stand up and stand out. But if you have something to say, if you feel compelled to say it, then say it.
…and bear the consequences of it.
The alternatives of not speaking are worse.