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Lessons Learned from the Firestorm of Controversy

Two days ago I wrote the Genius and Tragedy post. It was extremely controversial - very popular on one hand, but got some very strong visceral negative reactions. I'd like to share with you what I've learned about writing, so I can step my game up and improve. Also, I got some downright hateful comments made about me, some really bad and terrible stuff. If this has never happened to you, maybe you don't know what it feels like, and I've got some advice on how to deal with it. I also did some detailed reading and analysis of the kinds of comments I got, and there was some fascinating results that I'll share.

So, first and foremost, I made a mistake - If you're writing to help someone, it can be pretty presumptuous to do it without touching base and clearing it with them first. I made that error for a few reasons - first, two of my best posts have come from the same format, and both achieved their desired objective. ("How do I write so much, you ask?" and "I think greatness is something you do, not something you are" both publicly called people I like out - and both times it worked) - so that's the first thing, I'd had a good track record with this, however those were people I'd been touching base with already.

Second, as a general principal I believe in working really quickly. I analogize it to "fighting out of formation" - quick, lightly edited writing is always worse than well-edited best practices. But, the more you do of it, the better you get at it. And by producing anything really quickly, you get better faster. If someone produces 10 times as much content, how long until their lightly edited work is superior to the other person's highly polished work? This isn't a rhetorical question - check out "Quantity Always Trumps Quality" on codinghorror.com sometime. If you produce quickly and of lower quality at first, you can iterate and improve, and eventually your quick production work is better than the obsessively refined person's work who isn't getting as much done (and thus not learning the lessons). Pablo Picasso talked about this quite a bit, if you're particularly interested on the topic.

The downside, of course, is that you make mistakes. And I did - I should've touched base before writing that post, or had it vetted, or at least, spent more time editing it to be clear, concise, and unambiguous, and even more polite. Mea culpa - my mistake! It's okay for me to work quickly and bring errors upon myself because of it, but I need to be more careful when involving others.

Then, why is that post still up? This is what I wrote as the episode was winding down, it was well-received by the community -

day 31 | john 5-6

On grow

A friend of mine told me he got rid of his Instagram account because it was becoming a problem. He kept comparing his life to the photos on his feed: the highlighted bibles next to a cup of coffee, the bouquet of flowers in natural light, a group selfie on a boat in deep water. He mentioned #fomo, which is fear of missing out.

Here's my mess for you today: I am constantly seeking affirmation from other people. Because of this, I often resent people. I am bitter when I look at their pictures. I am bitter when their blogs have hundreds of readers. I am bitter when they start a business. I am bitter when they are doing something - anything - that I could be doing. And it doesn't help when someone asks me, "What do you do?" I assume that being a stay at home mother isn't enough. It doesn't help when someone asks me when I'm going back to work. It's just a vicious cycle.

Jesus said, "How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don't seek the praise that comes from God?"

Jesus is saying that it's super difficult to actually take his message to heart if we're dependent upon other people to affirm us. The crux of his message is that we don't have to belong to the world. We can belong to God.

He also says, "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you accept him."

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