The easiest thing to do is to react to something immediately. It’s usually a knee-jerk reaction, you scramble your thoughts together and hit the "publish" button. Sometimes you’re proud of the result, other times you’re embarrassed and – for the most part – the feeling is that you wished you has taken more time to think it through, read how others reacted and spent some more time formulating a more thorough opinion.
Then there are those who just Blog and could care less about what happens after that.
I’m not being critical of any of those approaches (I’ve done all of them individually and even some in combination ;), but there is another way to get your thoughts out there: don’t publish them at all.
Yesterday, I read a Blog posting that really got under my skin. The topic, Blogger and Blog are not important (in fact, I have a strong affection for both the content and the Blogger). I read the Blog posting twice to make sure I was catching all of the angles. I formulated a comment and re-read it many times. I had this sinking feeling that if I had published it there would have been a lot of backlash. You know that feeling – we’ve all done it before – where you write an email, hit the "send" button but you know – deep down – that it’s going to get you in trouble, and yet you can’t help but send it anyway.
I did not hit the "publish" button. I copy and pasted the comment from the Blog’s comment posting section into a Word document. I re-read it throughout the day, edited it, added more commentary, deleted some thoughts and language, tightened it up, etc… Then I decided to leave the comment be and write a full-on Blog posting response to post here on Six Pixels of Separation. I thought it was a masterpiece (if I do say so myself)… maybe one of the better Blog postings I had written in a long time.
Then I thought back to a great story I had read about the martial arts legend, Bruce Lee. Lee died well before his time. He was not just a great action movie star, but a deep thinker. I read (and re-read) his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, frequently. Lee used to write his thoughts down on paper and when he was done, he would set them on fire. It was a cathartic exercise. One where the simple act of getting his thoughts out of his brain on to paper was the primary goal. It wasn’t important if anyone read them or validated them. For Lee, just putting them down and completing his thought was validation enough.
It is a great exercise to do every once in a while. Put your thoughts down, think them through, get all of that energy down from your brain into the keyboard and on to the screen… then set them on fire.
I was not trying to avoid any form of confrontation by not posting my thoughts to that individual’s Blog or here on my own, there was just no point in the end. I needed to get something off of my chest, and I accomplished that. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to just set your thoughts on fire once you’ve gotten it all out of your system.
That, or you can hit the "publish" button and use some propane gas and a match to your server.