Writers Need to Speak Out

by Anne Wayman

speak outWhen I first started blogging I was writing for About.com. As that relationship ended I registered my domain name, and started this blog in a tentative way. Soon I was asked to join another blog network.

I didn’t dare speak out

In both networks I stuck to my topic (information for freelance writers) and never ventured into politics or even ideas I knew might offend one group or another.

When the second blog network gig ended I started concentrating my efforts here. I kept the same policy – no politically or socially controversial posts. Sure, I’d look for something that was controversial in the writing industry, but that was about it. In truth was afraid I’d offend and lose readers.

Over the past few years I’ve loosened up a bit. I think I started in spring of 2009 with  Writers Can Help Slow Global Warming 7 Ways. Of course, global warming has become climate change and we’re seeing changes in our climate that frighten me.


 
And those who follow this blog regularly must know by now that I’m a progressive.

Plus we’ve had an election in the U.S. and many of us, including me, are horrified at the results. Then there’s Fake News, which fortunately, I think, has come to the surface enough for Facebook and others to attempt to deal with it without stepping on First Amendment free speech rights – no easy task.

What’s a writer to do?

I think as freelance writers we need to speak out. No, this isn’t going to turn into a political site, I promise. And yes, I mean all writers, even those who don’t  agree with me.

It’s in the discussion of these and many more issues that we have a chance of finding solutions. Freelance writers are in a good position to articulate issues and express reasoned opinions. Sure, the discussions often devolve into shouting matches, but that’s usually prefaced by a few cogent comments.

We can become trusted communicators on our blogs, in the magazine articles we write, our letters to the editor, and on other sites where well thought out opinions are sought.

What do you think? Is it time more writers spoke out? If you agree, how will you speak out? If you don’t, please tell us why.

And those safety pins? You’ll find out why here, and yes, I understand the controversy and choose to ignore it.

Write well and often,

disaster




{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Esther Bradley-DeTally December 8, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Yes we must speak out; the question is how. “A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the human heart,” and we have to speak out with integrity and authenticity, The pen is very powerful when used to stop injustice. We are a world propelling itself to hell and gone with many people in unimaginable states. Amercian writers don’t speak up as much as say Latin American writers; the concept of suffering is different; i am a fusion of myself, yuk, whine, laugh, toot, and I wear safety pins; Thanks for the question
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Anne Wayman December 9, 2016 at 8:06 am

You’re welcome, Esther… nice to meet you. I’m interested particularly in your statement that “the concept of suffering is different” – care to elaborate?

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Anne Wayman December 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for this.

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Will Carpenter December 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Hi, Anne;

I’ve read your words of wisdom and wit for a number of years (at least since 2009).

In 2010, I got involved in the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme’s Oceans2K research as a scientist, not a writer, looking at sea-surface temperature changes for the past 2,000 years. I was tasked as one of the projects metadata curators, which means I selected and validated the samples that other scientists would evaluate. The final results were delivered to the UN’s IPCC for use in the 5th Assessment Report.

Now, a climate denier may become the head of the EPA? My only question is, how much damage can be done in four years?

Hopefully, what I did will inform other participants in other countries going forward during that short time. Right now, given the deaf and perennially re-elected senators from Tennessee, that’s as much as I can do.

Maybe that’s enough, though.

Will

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Anne Wayman December 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Will… love your oldbosun email name… you know, I suspect you and I both can do more… maybe on a local level… maybe we tell our stories of things most people never see, like blue starfish and sea snakes and how fishing is being impacted… maybe right on our own coasts… It’s the stories that are likely to move people… I dunno, Will… in California some of our legislators understand and then I remember others… Good for you for the reports you delivered you delivered. Maybe you can tell stories about science? Goddess knows, kids aren’t getting that info in school much any more… and yeah, it’s scary… really scary to me. Thanks for being a fan for so long. Maybe the question could be how much damage can we stop in four years?

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Betsy Henning December 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

You had me with the safety pins!

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Anne Wayman December 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm

LoL, wish I had colored ones to wear!

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Patty December 7, 2016 at 6:54 am

Hi, Anne. I’ve been a “silent” follower of your work for many years. Given the theme of your post, I feel it’s worth commenting today. 🙂

I see your point – and there are appropriate times to speak up and out – but people don’t come to “About Freelance Writing” to get social messaging. Personally, I’m exhausted by all of the news/politics/division and I’d like SOME areas of the internet to be free of politics.

I think there might be subjects worth addressing here and there but as a longtime reader, I would also ask that if/when you do broach social and political subjects that you write with respect and insist on respectful comments from both sides. I am an independent, not a progressive nor a conservative, and I often feel harshly judged by people on the left and right because I don’t fall into a neat little package. For example, I wasn’t thrilled with the election results, but I wasn’t horrified, either. I often feel judged by progressives for that feeling. You probably have other readers like me. Please don’t forget those of us who just come here for the great advice you give.

Now, I also know that I am free to skip over any blog post I don’t want to read without making a huge deal out of it. 🙂 This is America, after all.

I’m a huge fan and I thank you for your work.

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Anne Wayman December 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

Patty, I’m glad you responded… your view is different than mine and that’s a good thing… Maybe I should have made it clearer that I’m hoping more writers will share their views in other blogs, other magazines, etc. and not be leary of speaking up in reasonable fashions where they can.

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