Leave bland behind: have a damn opinion

don't be a sheep

Do you ever feel like you’re playing things a little too safe?

Have you ever worried about offending people with your point of view (or your occasional tendency to use the word “shitastic”)?

I have. And you know what I think? Screw that nonsense.

Listen, I’m pretty even-tempered. Call it a Libra thing, but I try to see the validity in every argument that seems fair, sane and logical. And while this isn’t always the most productive behavior, I tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. So I’m not what you’d call the world’s most opinionated person.

That said, I’ve got an opinion to share. I’m a little bored with the blogging culture of trying to appeal to a wide audience by pleasing everyone and never coming near anything even remotely controversial. Maybe that’s just where I am as a writer and a reader, but I want a bit of challenging commentary thrown in the mix from time to time.

I believe there’s a simple explanation for why so many bloggers burn out. We’re trying to be happy and creative and professional all the time, and that can be difficult to maintain. For the sake of transparency, we might pen an honest and open essay about our experiences with burnout to feel better and get some encouraging comments in response, but then we go right back to doing the same old thing. Until the next bout of burnout hits.

Don’t get me wrong—I love reading inspirational and light-hearted posts. They brighten my mood and fill my need for passive entertainment. Clearly, I enjoy writing that stuff, too. But if I were new to the personal/lifestyle blogging scene and was toying with the idea of starting my own site now, I’d be under the impression that there’s only one path to success. And I’d probably be so overwhelmed by the notion that everything has been said (over and over) that I might as well not even bother.

But really, I don’t think that’s true at all. All that’s missing is a little flair.

“Be yourself” is such common advice not only from our moms but also from fellow bloggers writing how-to’s on the craft. Those words are so commonly thrown around that they’ve almost lost their meaning. So I propose this saying instead:

Be yourself. ALL of yourself.

Be smart, funny, thoughtful, sincere, inspirational and whatever else it is that truly makes you you. And if you have something to say? Have a damn opinion. Unapologetically.

Let’s stop over-thinking, second-guessing and censoring ourselves, and let’s begin embracing, celebrating and acknowledging our differences in opinions and ideas. I see so many great minds expressing themselves on Twitter calling out assholery and inequality. We should be extending those conversations on our blogs, encouraging discussions in the comments section and not worrying whether someone will disagree. (Because it’s okay if they do.) At the very least, I’d like to see a stronger commitment to the ideas we put out there, rather than wishy-washy language such as “I feel like” or “maybe it’s just me, but.”

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but I’m a design blogger. This doesn’t really apply to me.” I beg to differ.

If you’re a designer who wants to see the chevron trend die already, say so. If you’re a professional photographer who sees novices making the same cringe-worthy mistakes over and over, help them by pointing it out. If you’re a feminist who has a problem with sexist language in an ad or article, call the creators out on it. We’d be doing a service not only to ourselves by doing so, but to the blogging world as a whole. We have so much to say, and it does no one favors when we hold back for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

I have too much respect for myself and my fellow bloggers to strive for blandness. I intend to take a stance on the things that matter most to me.

How about you? What do you think is worth speaking up about?

Psst. You can highlight any text in this blog post to tweet it. Try it out!

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Comments

  1. I am a Libra too, so that line really struck home.

    I get scared of offending people too sometimes, mainly because I am really sarcastic. But I guess a few years ago I decided that there will always be people who don’t like me or don’t agree with me and that’s ok. I don’t need to keep them happy – after all, I am the only person I HAVE to live with my whole life so I just make sure I am the person I want to hang out with. Hahaha that makes me sound like a loner, but you get my gist!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I totally do! And you’re spot-on about being someone you want to spend all of your time with—because you have no choice. 😉

  2. I look forward to you posting an entry that encapsulates this philosophy. (Because this sure sounds like one of those “talk about burnout and then go back to doing the same thing” entries.)

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Sounds like a challenge. I’ll accept. 😉 You’re absolutely right, though. It’s easy to fall back into that comfortable trap, but I’ve got a few ideas to keep things interesting around here.

  3. Prrreeeeaaacchhhh it!! I’ve caught myself trying to please others through my blog, but this gives perfect reason to say, “Hey, if you don’t like what I say..go read someone else’s opinions!!” Blogging is used for an outlet and should relieve stress by venting your own personal thoughts. Yes, we all want readers to agree with us..but it’s not the end of the world if that one girl/guy disagrees with you.

    p.s. love the highlighting tool!!

  4. I struggle with this so much! When I do write something that I worry will offend someone, I schedule it for weeks in advance, and then each week, I push it’s publishing date back again until it’s been so many months since I wrote it that it doesn’t feel relevant anymore.

    I think it’s hard to speak your mind on the blogging platform because you’re essentially having a one-sided conversation and it’s easy to be misunderstood. When you have a conversation with someone, you’re able to pick up on a lot of nonverbal cues, and they can also interrupt etc, so the conversation is more fluid and you’re not just on a soapbox railing at the world. I don’t know how to incorporate that same open-mindedness and gentleness into my more opinionated blog posts without seeming wishy-washy.

  5. This is fantastic, Cassie. I’ve had this weird tension around my blog lately because I feel like it’s gotten too “happy, positive feeling”-heavy and has appealed to too broad of an audience. I struggle the most knowing that my (SUPER conservative) extended family are avid readers of my blog. But I’m finding that at times, my own stuff bores me, simply because it complies with what I think my family should know about me.

    Time to stir shit up.

    Thanks for the motivation!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I know the exact tension you describe, and it’s a weird feeling to have about your own creative outlet. For what it’s worth, I find your blog consistently wonderful, and I absolutely look forward to seeing how you’ll stir shit up. 🙂

  6. I am working on a pretty opinionated piece for next week and I was worried I might piss other bloggers off. So, this pep talk was necessary! Every blogger should read this immediately.

    So often people stay neutral because they are afraid they might offend friends, family, and other bloggers.

    I am actually coming out of a phase now where I was silent about my feminist beliefs around friends and I oftentimes kept my mouth shut b/c I was afraid I would offend them….BUT THEY WERE OFFENDING ME.

    Great post, really got me thinking and pumped for my opinionated post.

  7. I’m actually pretty straightforward with my opinions but no doubt I’m guilty of this to some extent as we all are I’m sure. I’m tired of the positivity rants that’s been swarming the entire universe though. All this “be positive” crap is exhausting because you know what – sometimes I just feel like being a negative nancy and getting that out of my system before keeping it moving. Let it our Cassie 🙂 -Iva

  8. I so often worry about offending friends and family – because I have before and then gotten indirect shit about it.
    And right now, I’m in a “the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.” So I tend to shy away from controversial topics, because, well, I just don’t know.

    But after reading this….
    MAYBE that’s exactly what we need more of. Instead of the extreme hardliners on Every. Single. Issue. Maybe we need more honest opinions, in the middle, to keep the conversation going and, Maybe, just maybe…we might actually find middle ground, consensus, opposite sides agreeing to disagree.
    I’m not sure if that is where you were going with your post, but it’s what I’m taking away from it. I’ve had a “possibly controversial” post swirling in my head, and I’ve been AFRAID to write it. Just write it. Got it. Share my opinion. Be Me.

    Thanks, lady!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Yes! Just write it! That realization of “there’s a lot I don’t know” has held me back from talking about things that are important to me more than I’d like to admit. The post I wrote today on feminism is one example, because I’m not familiar with every single feminist pioneer out there and don’t feel educated enough on the topic to have incredibly nuanced discussions. But not every discussion HAS to be incredibly nuanced. It just needs to come from a place of earnestness and a willingness to learn. And that’s what I plan on striving for.

  9. Whaaaat, there’s such a thing as highlight to tweet?! How do they keep coming up with this shit?

    Also: yes, yes, yes to everything in this post.

  10. I think these sort of pep talks are needed from time to time. I’m absolutely horrible about censoring myself and not letting my whole self shine on my blog because I’m afraid… Afraid no one will care, afraid people will get offended, afraid it will resonate and too many will pay attention… Those gremlins are harsh! Totally bookmarking this one to read over and over again…

  11. I’ve been meaning to get back into blogging with a shifted focus, as a place to organize and communicate my thoughts on some topics. No time like the present. I’m absolutely guilty of being afraid to offend people and of confrontation. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I’m ready to start living again, thank you for being bold!

  12. This post has given me a lot of food for thought. I lot of the things I post come from me deciding I have an opinion about something or other and thinking I’ll write about that. But then I’m not sure anything I have an opinion on is especially controversial – apart from some political stuff that there’s no point writing about because most of my readers don’t live in the same country I do. At the same time I do worry that I don’t actually do enough of the inspirational/positivity stuff. Some things I’ll have to consider.

  13. Yes to everything. I’ve been so burnt out with life lately, part of which I chalk up to the stress of school. As a result, my blog and my freelance life have suffered. I have about two weeks of cramming stuff in and then I’m going whole hog on getting myself organized.

  14. “And I’d probably be so overwhelmed by the notion that everything has been said (over and over) that I might as well not even bother.”

    YES! Hell, I get overwhelmed by that idea now. There’s a reason I stay away from DIY posts and “5 Tips for X” because I am so far from an expert on anything the idea of me giving generalized advice on a specific topic is laughable.

  15. This is a great post! I often feel like I have to be the full on professional world version of myself on the internet because I don’t want something to get out into the internet forever and make myself look less than appealing, but it really is a silly fear! At my core, I am a kind-hearted person who would never try to offend or hurt anyone, but that should mean I can’t state my opinions about something because I am worried that it is controversial or whatever.

  16. This is something I struggle with constantly…in fact, just this past weekend there were a couple moments when I wish I would have spoken up with my opinion. But yet again, I held back. I’m going to work harder, much harder, at voicing my true, honest opinion. So thank you…thank you for the push.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I’ll be talking about why I decided to rebrand soon enough, but this post from Witty Title Here about owning your opinion is SO spot on. I really loved this – “I believe there’s a simple explanation for […]

  2. […] She may not be a book blogger but the sentiment is very apt when Cassie tells us to have an opinion. […]

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