This is the third post in a series on blog writing. These posts are based on ideas from a great little book called The Elements of Business Writing, by Gary Blake & Robert Bly. Iâ€™ve taken some of these ideas about business writing and adapted them for blogging with my own spin.
Write to Change Behavior, not to Express Anger
It’s easy to confuse passion with anger, but they don’t have all that much to do with each other. It takes discipline to follow a passion, but it is a lack of discipline that lets us react in anger. I’m not saying don’t be angry. Many bloggers are doing their life’s most important work in the world through their efforts to reach people on their blogs. They are fighting injustice and abuse, and they are angry.
You may have heard the advice “never write a letter in anger.” That advice has been updated to say “never write an email in anger.” We need to update it again: “Never blog in anger.”
Not What You Wanted
An angry blog post, if it is done well can be the right idea at the right time, but it is almost never done well. It will give you the opposite results from what you really wanted. Anger drives people away. Anger attracts the angry, which turns your comments into a troll and flame zone. When we’re angry with someone, we want them to change their ways, but acting angrily gives is the opposite result.
In their book, The Elements of Business Writing, Blake & Bly suggest that the other person doesn’t have to be wrong in order for you to be right. In a blogging context, there may not be another specific person, but there might be an opposing viewpoint. If you want to change the minds of people who take that viewpoint, anger will not accomplish that. Anger creates resistance from those who suddenly encounter it. Anger makes people less likely to agree with you.
Blake & Bly suggest that showing an understanding of the merits of multiple points of view of an issue, but gently persuading the reader towards your point of view, is the way to succeed here. People will never come around to your point of view if you demonstrate a bull-headed refusal to understand theirs. Undertanding, after all, does not indicate acceptance or agreement.
Be as positive as you can when offering criticism. If you can’t do that because you feel angry, stop writing, now. Continue when you are no longer in a high emotional state. Calm, clear thinking are needed for you to have a chance to persuade. The next time you feel compelled to write a post in an angry reaction to something, stop. Come back to the idea later, after you’ve calmed down, and then write to persuade, not to express anger.
The next post in the series is: Separate Fact from Fiction in Your Blog Writing. If you donâ€™t want to miss it, youâ€™d better subscribe!