Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On Being Positive

Being positive is just one of the tips found in this article from "Copyblogger," my newest, favorite writing resource.

Fortin (in the above article) was talking about selling a product but, isn't being positive about more than writing to sell a product? Isn't is about a life style? Isn't it about finding that silver lining (or rainbow) on (or beyond) the dark cloud of whatever you happen to be looking at, any given moment in time?

Maybe, like my Mom said, your Mom or Grandma said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I'm not selling a product, here, unless it is my own credibility, which, I recognize, has to be built over a period of time. So, how can I say something nice when I am sharing an opinion, based on my understanding of a serious issue?

I think the way any subject is treated "nicely" is marked by how fair one can be to all sides of an issue. Have I, first, removed myself and my own opinion from the issue by reporting it, to the best of my ability, with unbiased fairness? Have I given readers enough fair and factual information to form their own opinions?

If I have been fair, factual, and respectful to the different philosophies involved in forming an opinion in favor or opposition to one side of a particular issue, I think I have come a long way toward treating the subject "nicely."

There's nothing nasty about fairly, factually, and respectfully reporting on all sides of an issue, and once you have done so, there's nothing nasty about sharing your own opinion regarding that fairly, factually, and respectfully described topic. You see, I suspect, most of the time, when there is a charge of bias on the part of a reporter or journalist, it has to do with whether the reader feels his own "side" was correctly, respectfully, and contextually represented.

If I've done all of those things, I think my opinion will be treated with respect. If I have treated others' differing opinions disrespectfully, have misrepresented the philosophy behind the formation of their opinions, or taken part of a discussion about a particular issue out of context, I can't really expect someone who opposes my opinion for fair, factual and legitimate reasons to respect my opinion either.

Sharing an opinion about an issue, a person, or even a business, can involve some strong language and there's nothing wrong with using strong words to describe a philosophy with which you disagree or deliver a review on a business, in my opinion, as long as you have fairly, factually and respectfully represented the philosophy you oppose or the business you are reviewing. If you have done that, you have left some room for others (your readers) to determine their own, educated opinions based on the facts. They might agree or disagree with your opinion, and that's their right too. My opinion is no more valuable than the next person's opinion and is only as valuable to another person as they make it.

I didn't go to journalism school but, I enjoy writing, and recognize it as a "craft" rather than an art form. Just like any craft, there are certain steps that must be taken, in order to deliver a good end product. You can mix and match some of the steps according to the type of end product you want to deliver but, there are some steps which simply must exist and can't be delivered out of order.

If you were making a wooden toy for a child, for instance, you wouldn't pick up the wood block and paint and decorate it before shaping the wood, and you wouldn't sand the wood block before you shaped it.

I thank God for any ability I have to write. If there's any good in it, it is because God blessed me with a certain amount of natural ability to do it but, that doesn't mean I can't learn a lot more about the craft and continue to improve on it.

So, I'm not an expert at writing. There are loads of people who know more about writing than I do. I don't pretend to be an expert at writing. I'm just a blogger. I don't even have a professional outlet for my writing at the moment but, I just can't give it up, it's in my blood. After all, I've been writing since I was about 12 years old. It is a part of my life, a part of me that, even if I wanted to, I simply couldn't stop performing.

I may not be able to afford the degree but I can always afford to learn about the craft of writing.


Anonymous said...

Excellent blog, Jackie, really well said.
Today, I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, and my life is better for it.
Keep up the great work.
ps. I thought you Mom told you "If you can't say something nice, find a guy called Stormy, he'll say anything."

Anonymous said...

I am glad you did not go to journalism school. I consider you a "purist" writer. Unfortunately, being a journalist these days has moved down on my list of respected professions. Your articles are a pleasure to read - you present the information in a fair, comprehensive and courteous manner - a manner that is not always seen in the media or blogs for that matter. Thank you for your professionalism and demonstrating your respect for your readers.


Jackie Melton said...

Speaking of my Mom, she would have liked you, Stormy.

She liked most everybody and she always listened and even if she vehemently disagreed with her daughter about something, she never gave her daughter the impression that her love was dependent upon agreement.

I can't say that about everyone who has ever been a part of my life but, I've never had to say anything BUT that about my Mom. Dang, I miss her.

Thanks for commenting. :)

Jackie Melton said...

Oh, arainbo, how sweet you are!


Bless your heart.

Anonymous said...

Rush L. never went to very much college, Peter Jennings did not even have a high school diploma for most of his career. Bill Gates is a college drop out.

Many J schoolers sell furniture.

If you read well written things you will write & speak properly.

I like to blog & bit h in a positive manner.

Busplunge said...

My Mother also said a variation of "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything."

Shortly before she passed away, I was visiting with her and I wa trying to remember the name of an aquaintance of my deceased father.

When the name finally came off the tip of my tongue, my mother said, "Yes, he was a good swimmer."

She found something nice to say about the guy.