Monday, November 28, 2016

Turning Soapbox Rants into Writing Ideas




Ever have a moment where you want to jump on the soapbox and start ranting? 

From rude behavior to society's injustices, we've probably all been tempted. While I believe that these episodes are opportunities to build character and patience, I think they also offer a host of writing possibilities.

For example, while attending a funeral years ago, I witnessed an interesting faux pas by someone paying their respects. To be fair, it wasn't horrible; funerals are awkward and people are often at a loss as to how to behave. I was probably only attuned to this hiccup in decorum because the service was for my sister.

I wasn't upset, but rather, inspired. My thoughts turned to writing an article, perhaps entitled Five Things Not to Do at a Funeral. Once the brainstorming began for that idea, I had others, and was pleased that an event that could have sparked a soapbox speech provided a creative opportunity instead.

Another example resulted in my recent post, The Publishing Journey, Reflections and Lessons. The adventure with my first publisher yielded good things. It was also a bumpy road, with opportunities for soapbox rants. Months later, I penned the post, reflecting on lessons learned. My goal - to share insight and tips, helping writer friends make wise, informed choices.

Soapbox topics can be tricky. They generate a host of emotions. Tact, of course, is necessary. What purpose does a blistering speech serve if it turns readers off? An emotional and thought provoking commentary, done right, can speak to readers in a unique way.  Not everyone will agree with the stance, but well written prose should garner respect and offer takeaway value.

There are two key tips I heed before publishing any work generated by an emotional topic or event:

Give it time - Writing when emotions run high isn't a bad thing. But it's usually not a good idea to commit to a final draft in a highly emotional state. Whether a blog post or article, text, email, or social media rant, it's better to check those emotions and see how it looks after letting it rest a while.

Get another opinion - A perspective outside the realm of one's heart and head can offer valuable counsel and feedback. Even if this person shares your opinion, they can be the voice of reason, sharing insight, helping your written words convey a balanced message.

With care, caution, and class, pet peeves and emotional topics, whether big or small, can provide great opportunities for us writers.

What writing ideas do your soapbox rants generate? How was your Thanksgiving? What are you working on this week?

Happy writing,
Karen


Photo credit: Free Images -  Peter Galbraith

22 comments :

  1. Totally agree that we should wait before we get on our soapbox. Most of the time I think we would realize that it's not a good idea to do it. Had a great holiday. Getting back into work this week before I leave for Florida on Friday.

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  2. Hi Karen - oh yes ... it's easier to wait if you're writing ... I ranted at the weekend when perhaps (probably) I should have kept quiet ... but having major problems and gave vent. Such is life ... and the problem is not mine - I just have to deal with the outcome ...

    I have to sort the above out ... and I need to do one other thing today ... sometime I'll get my life back ... and I'm going to hear an ex Member of Parliament talk tonight ... and King Lear at the cinema on Wednesday - in Japanese!

    Cheers and have a good week yourself ... Hilary

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  3. Yes, give it time to simmer. That should apply to blog posts as well.

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  4. Oh, Karen. I love this! I've turned private rants into, what I hope, were reasonable blog posts. It takes some calming down, doesn't it? When I discovered, with the help of a family member that men are as domestically abused as women, I was astonished and wanted to #@%#$ about it online. Held off, did some research and came up with a decent (I hope) argument. It just makes sense to be sensible about a subject. Have a great week! Blessings.

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  5. Hi Karen! I have read that our passions can fuel good writing, so I guess that includes 'rants' too. I like the idea of checking with other people about it first though. That can create a little balance, and make what we feel more relatable.
    I have to say that I really did enjoy your post on publishing. That was a winner for me!
    Happy Monday,
    Ceil

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  6. Natalie,
    Yes, rushing in loaded for bear isn't usually good, unless of course, there is a bear! lol Glad you had agood weekend. Have fun in FL! :)

    Hilary,
    Ah well, sometimes we give "vent" to such things in the heat of the moment, right? I know I have. So the tongue is a tough one to tame, as even the Bible says. We'll strike that balance one of these days, right? :) Enjoy your week - it sounds interesting!

    Alex,
    Oh yes, absolutely! Time is almost always a good thing. :)

    Susan,
    Thanks a bunch! So sorry to hear about your family member. I'm sure you handled it with class and balance. :)

    Ceil,
    Hi back! :) It really is helpful to get objective feedback. I've a few people I rely on just for that. Glad you liked the post, thanks!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  7. Good tips, especially giving it time. So important!

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  8. I rant rough draft is for my eyes only. The final draft, as you pointed out can, become a great article or blog post. Good tips.

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  9. As always, great tips. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  10. Lynda,
    Thank you! Time is so helpful, isn't it? :)

    Linda O.,
    That's a good way to do it. Kind of like "writer's insurance". Thanks so much! :)

    Lisa,
    Thank you! Yes, we did. Hope you did as well! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  11. This is good, Karen. And you're right. It's a great way to spark the creative fuse. If I don't feel passionately about something, I generally don't write about it. I think that readers would know it if I tried.

    I do, however, dislike vomiting of drama in any forum. So, yes, balance. Discretion.

    Merry Christmas!

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  12. Great advise before on a soap box rant! I recently saw something that tugged my heart more than anything, but know I need time to let it ponder in my thoughts before writing. As for funerals--no scoping for a date should be up there in things not to do!

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  13. Rhonda,
    I think you are right - your readers would know if you weren't being true to yourself. Balance and discretion, I agree! :)

    Lynn,
    Thank you! :) I think many things are meant to simmer for a bit before hitting the page. Part of that brainstorming process us writers are so good at! lol

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  14. I hear you! I actually have one blog I stopped following because the author decided to delve into the world of ranting. Always. Over everything. *sigh*

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  15. I think the advice in this post is great! People should stop and give "rants" time before getting on their soapbox and running ideas by others is also important. So many people speak out without stopping to think about what they are saying and the impact it will have.

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  16. Ranting can wear a person down, for sure. I have only to think back a bit to all the vitriol on facebook to know that. I agree about giving those vents some time before launching into them, and I definitely agree about seeking some input. Your article title is perfect.

    I

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  17. Crystal,
    Yeah, rants occasionally are one thing, but all the time gets to be a bit much. Balance, right? :) And cheese, of course!

    Jess,
    Thank you! :) There's much to be said for thinking before we speak, and giving conscious thought before writing and publishing in haste.

    Lee,
    You're right, it can be tiresome. As I was writing this post I was thinking about Facebook in the last several weeks. Crazy, right? And exhausting, even if you didn't get drawn in. :) Thanks a bunch!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  18. Oh, talk about exhausting Facebook in these recent times. All those political posts.

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  19. Composing it as five things not to do at a funeral is more positive and less threatening than an all-out rant. Like you said, best composed with a level head.

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  20. Olivia,
    Yes, it was crazy, wasn't it? Seems to have quieted down a bit now. I'm thankful for that. Thanks for coming by! :)

    Diane,
    Yes, that's what I was thinking - better than the rant! We see enough of those on Facebook, right? :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  21. You make such a good point, and if you give yourself a bit of time and distance from your pet peeve and approach it in a constructive way, whatever you write will probably we great because for it to bother you so much there must be an emotional connection to it.

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  22. Jenny,
    It's nice to meet you! That's a good point. Appreciate you weighing in on this topic. :)
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!