Writers Can’t Be Too Arrogant

There are many exercises in humility, and some of us need them more than others. Joining the Liberal Democrats could be one; I bridle under discipline. One day, I would like to do some real ‘foot-work.’
Of course, mildly uncomfortable editorial changes are another.I had a piece published recently where my word ‘Muslimophobia’ was substituted by ‘Islamophobia.’
Part of the ethics of being a writer is learning to suck it up, when it comes to things like this. Instead of B / A / D about it, you can either:
A. Bite your lip and forget about it.
B. Write a polite note underneath, but in a tactical way, to avoid it looking like you’re (even indirectly) criticizing the editor.
I opted for B, so hopefully no offense taken, none given; in either direction.
The fact is that if you start throwing the rattle out of the pram every someone amends your work, you are probably too thin-skinned to be taken seriously as a writer.
Well, I am thin-skinned too, but not in this way.
But what I really need to do, in terms of thin-skinnedness (changing the topic slightly), is not to engage with people who are not worth engaging with. Here, I am not speaking of any editors I’ve encountered, but rather, the usual ideology trolls, e.g. SJWs and the Alt-Right.
For example, on Medium, there are so many great people there who it is rewarding and constructive to debate with:
Caitlin Johnstone, Ron Collins, Paul Frantizek, Larry Kelly, Svetlana Voreskova.
Even when you strongly disagree with them (which is only natural), you can respect them as people, or respect their opinions, or both.
It’s very important to know who is worth debating with, and who isn’t. It’s also worth knowing the difference between an honest disagreement and a futile debate.
If someone thinks that ‘the UK/US/France is short on money, so it would be great if we can afford welfare, but we can’t,’ I can disagree very strongly, but empathize with their views.
But if someone says ‘STFU, dude! Saddam DID have WMDs! #RussiaDunnit,’ then there may be limited room for a serious discussion of any kind.
Pick your battles.
And win!
Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *