Domain Query: Writing advice

A reader emailed recently and essentially asked two questions:
  1. Do you ever re-read your own writing?
  2. How do you avoid sounding like a massive tool when you write?
I answered his queries privately in an email, but I think these questions are important enough to answer in a more public fashion.

To the first: yes, all the time. I re-read what I write partly because I want to be sure that my arguments are sound and tight, partly to see if the language could be tightened up here or there, and of course partly because sometimes I have jack-all to do at work and need some diversion. I do edit my own posts after publication occasionally; I make no apologies for this, it is my blog and my writing, and I'll do whatever I please with both.

I do not, by the way, hold any illusions about my skill as a writer. I know how to write. I enjoy writing and blogging. However, I don't pretend to be an expert at it. There are other bloggers out there who have been doing this for much, much longer than me who are considerably better writers, vastly more intelligent, and (in my opinion) quite a lot more interesting.

A few examples: Vox Day has been doing this since 2003. Mike from D&P has been around since 2004. Roosh and Rollo have been doing their thing for at least ten years, each.

Like all of them, I write primarily for my own amusement and enjoyment. Like them, I have important ideas and concepts rattling around in my skull that bear writing about. Unlike them, I don't have much of an audience or a business to support, and to be honest I quite like it that way. That might change in the future, once I've been around long enough and done enough interesting things to be credible, but for the moment, the fringe is fine for me.

To the second: I don't avoid it. I know full well that some of my posts make me come across as a roaring asshole. This does not bother me in the slightest. My advice to my reader was the same as my advice to anyone else who takes up blogging about these same subjects that I discuss here: don't worry about what anyone else thinks of your writing, just WRITE for the pleasure of it. All that matters for a deep introvert is whether or not the argument makes sense.

Your next blog post should tick off these three items in rapid succession:
  • Is your argument backed up by rigourous historical evidence?
  • Is your argument logically valid at minimum, and preferably also logically sound?
  • Do you cite your sources and give credit where it is due?
If your writing does these things, the rest will take care of itself.

It is important to remember that deep introverts do not do "feelings" very well. We feel emotions- I would argue far more strongly than almost anyone else does- but we strongly dislike expressing them, and we dislike even more discussing them in public. It simply isn't cricket. This is also why we come across as rude, insensitive jerks- mostly because we are rude, insensitive jerks, but also because we genuinely don't care how you feel about what we have to say. We only care about whether what we're saying is true, factual, and honest.

So whether you are a reader, a lurker, thinking about blogging, or actively blogging now yourself, I hope you'll find these points to be of some use. Don't worry about what others think of you. Just write for the joy of it, and let the rest take care of itself.

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