Most of you know I also work on a humor blog that follows my every day life and the scewed way I view it. And most of the time I have great joy in writing for that blog because I do love making people laugh.
Blogging, and the Internet in general, has, as we all know, broken down the barriers of good manners and self editing. We now have the power to blog, tweet, face book every little thought that comes in to our heads. I don't know about you, but not every thought that comes into my head is worthy of sharing with the entire planet. (Which is why I'm always pleased and amazed that folks from all over the world read this blog.)
Reading some of the posts that my children and their less inhibited contemporaries chose to spray paint across the virtual universe, I'm often reminded of something I was told years ago, and I have repeated it over and over:
Never put into print something you wouldn't want your mother to read.
Given the fact that we will in an era where maybe motherhood isn't quite the hallowed calling it once was (I think Maury Povich would agree) I've long since qualified the statement to this:
Never put into print something you wouldn't want your GRANDMOTHER to read.
A funny thing, coming from the offspring of two ridiculously conservative parents and their even more conservative, traditional grandparents. It's doubtful that my beloved grandfather, a Lutheran minister for more than 50 years, would appreciate my saucier writing. (And my grandmother...well, she loves reading Janet Oke. I'm no Janet Oke. Not even in my real life!) But I truly believe that even though we have the ability to broadcast every word in our brains, maybe we shouldn't.
Which brings me to why I'm not blogging over at my humor blog. My coworker, about whom I am currently writing a book that will have you blowing milk throw your nose (I PROMISE) has pushed me to a place that is no longer funny. It's dark, and it's cranky, and it very much wants its bottle...preferably of pinot noir.
So today I'm exploring the wisdom of restraint. As writers we all have to exercise it. We have to restrain ourselves from shrieking "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?" at an agent/editor appointment. We have to restrain ourselves from mocking someone else's writing just because ours hasn't been held up as brilliant...yet. As big as it may seem, the writing community, especially on the Web, is a very small group. Word gets out. If you bad mouth an agent or an editor online, it will get out. And you will suffer the consequences.
To quote something I think every one's grandmother said: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
I'd like to tweak that a tiny bit.
If you don't have anything nice to say, and you can't make what you want to say funny, don't say it.
Don't blog angry. It may feel good at first, but you never know who is reading what. As budding authors, we can't afford to tick off someone we've never even met.
Now, my friends, be joyful, be happy, go forth and WRITE!