There is a certain amount of irony in my writing these words; my premise is simply that there are too many words being bandied about these days. We are being buried beneath a blizzard. Quite literally we are being snowed! The internet has made it entirely too easy to give voice to words which may or may not be worthy of being spoken. Every Tom, Dick, and David can have a blog. Every Mickey, Minnie, and Donald can Tweet. Sometimes those words reach tens of readers and sometimes they reach millions, and there is no measure of veracity for any of them.
In the “old days” when publishing and distributing words carried a certain amount of financial burden, there may have been a dollar filter that helped prevent garbage from being spread about. No guarantees, of course, but reaching the masses with words required a financial commitment of someone other than the author. If a second or even a third party didn’t feel the words were worthy of airtime, then they remained unheard or only spoken from the local soap box.
For my own writing, I’ve decided to use three filters, attributed to a variety of thinkers and philosophers throughout the years. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
The words that appear in this blog are opinion, and as such are true to me at the time they are written. I don’t write words that I believe to be untrue. I also don’t believe I ever present ideas as fact. Some thoughts over time prove themselves to be truer than others, but I think in the world of ideas, there is no black and white, only grey. In life, as in my fiction, there is always another story to shed more light on a situation, or other circumstances that make an event more understandable or obscure it forever.
Kind? I work hard at being kind. I don’t believe in name calling. I don’t believe in putting people down. I don’t believe in gossip. I always try to give the benefit of the doubt if ever someone’s honor is in question. Frequently, in the world of words, being kind means being silent. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Necessary? This is the hardest filter for me. Whenever I sit down to write this blog, I ask myself this question a dozen times in a dozen ways. Do I really need to write these words? It’s different from sitting to write fiction. It’s necessary for me to write my stories. It’s fulfilling, and as a writer, there are things inside me that have to escape. However, there is no immediate audience for those stories, and most will stay out of public view forever.
A blog is different. As soon as I push the button, these words become visible to anyone who chances upon them. So I ask again; is it really necessary that I push that button? There is, of course, a certain amount of ego involved. If I get a new reader, or get a new follower, then that is a sort of affirmation that someone else thinks my writing has quality. Maybe as a writer, I need that boost to keep going. I honestly don’t know. I do know I will continue to put ideas into words. There is a satisfaction in doing so. However, whether the publish button gets pushed or not will remain the greatest filter for determining the amount of snow or garbage that I spread about.