Introducing the Theme for September: Writing with Respect

As  you might know I write to a monthly theme, based (loosely) on the ingredients of confident writing.  Thanks for your forbearance while I took a few detours through writing with freedom over the last couple of months :-)

The theme for September will be writing with respect:

Writing with respect for your readers.  That old favourite: writing with plain, simple language.  Writing with consideration and kindness.  Being a hospitable writer.  Writing with generosity.  Writing with respect for your reader, your community, your world.  Writing in line with your values and experience.  Writing with respect for your self.

If there are other aspects of or angles of writing with respect that you’d like me to cover please do let me know.  The comment box is open!

Photo Credit: The ‘respect’ hand is respect by arimoore on Flickr, a picture of a doorway to this gallery

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  1. Scott McIntyre · · Reply

    This sounds as if it will be a very thought provoking theme, Joanna.

    Straight off, one might think that writing with respect for your reader is the main goal.

    But, on a deeper level, I believe that this can only come about when you first respect yourself as a writer.

    In life, they say you can only truly show respect for others when you have respect for yourself.

    I’m not entirely sure what respecting oneself as a writer entails…

    Perhaps, it is maintaining consistency in the core values you express…

    For a blogger this might mean not ‘selling’ out on your original focus once you have gained loyal readers.

    It should definitely be an interesting few weeks of writing, Joanna.

  2. Hi Joanna:

    I am a new reader, but read the most recent RSS feeds and enjoyed them. I like the idea of your theme this month; it will be thought provoking.

    It makes me wonder about something I have been thinking through — permission. When do I have permission from my readers to broach certain topics. There seems to be an unwritten contract between a blogger and his/her audience on what will be discussed and what will not be discussed. If you have thoughts on this, I’d like to hear what you think.


  3. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Hi Joanna, A superb topic yet again! How about writing with respect when your task is to criticize or argue a point? In this political season (in the U.S.), people are squaring off on a whole range of issues and it might be timely to discuss respect.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Do They Recognize You? - Guest Post by Drew McLellan

  4. SpaceAgeSage · · Reply

    Writing with respect for writing comes to mind. I’ve learned much from Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, and you Joanna about how anyone can be a writer. We don’t need to see writers as anguished poets or on a pedestal. We are all writers. The process of writing itself is wise, wonderful, and fun.

    SpaceAgeSages last blog post..Having more experience doesn’t equal wisdom

  5. Karen Swim · · Reply

    Joanna, this sounds like a great theme. It is the perfect warm up as I prepare for a season of queries and participation in NaNoWriMo in November. My pencils are sharpened and I am eager to let the learning begin. ;-)

    Karen Swims last blog post..Guest Post Today at Word Sell

  6. A recent development that drives me nuts is the tendency to use the informal address in commercial communications. This is particularly for letters and emails and not so much for other forms of writing. It is however a topic that needs to be addressed. I would call it ‘proper form of address’ like Dear Sir, Dear Mr.XYZ etc.

    rummusers last blog post..The Internet,Senior Citizens and Relationships.

  7. Ulla Hennig · · Reply

    Writing with respect - a very interesting theme! Writing with respect for you as a writer could mean: Don’t change your way of writing because it doesn’t seem to follow the newest trend; don’t write something you don’t stand for; don’t pretend to know more than you really do.

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..The Early Bird and the Gold

  8. Ah Joanna, what a wonderful theme! Sort of the values of Aloha and Ho‘ohanohano for me: When we write with respect for our Aloha (both our own and that of others - our readers in this context) we practice Ho‘ohanohano, conducting ourselves with distinction borne of valuing dignity and respect.

    Rich, rich writing to come this month, and so in tune with your Ho‘ohana! Sweet anticipation indeed.

    Rosa Says last blog post..Ho‘ohana: Redefine the word “work” and make it yours.

  9. Scott, I’m with you - you can only respect others when you have respect for yourself. In writing terms I think that means your language patterns, your experience, and absolutely your core values.

    Lots of applications to blogging too - and one of the reasons I write to themes. It helps me keep my focus.


  10. Don, good to meet you and thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

    Permission is a very interesting dimension to this - I’ll see what I can come up with for you.


  11. Brad, thanks for the challenge! That’s a good point and a big issue. I’ll see what I can do with it.


  12. SpaceAgeSage, what a wonderful thing for you to say. I’m so smiling at being in the company of those heroines!

    And I love this: the process of writing itself is wise, wonderful and fun.

    I focus on writing rather than writers for just these reasons - it’s open to anyone and everyone, and is worthy of our honour and respect, always.


  13. Karen, you’re such a wonderful enthusiast. You make me feel good about all my themes! I’m most intrigued and excited that you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo - can’t wait to hear more


  14. Rummuser, that’s a good point, although probably one that people have very different opinions about. I’ll see if I can find a way to cover this one too, thanks


  15. Ulla, those are very good ways of defining and explaining writing with respect. It’s a way of both respecting your reader and yourself. It’s also closely linked to writing with values - like the conversation at JJL about value based citizen publishing today


  16. Rosa, I’m looking forward to this theme too as a way of getting back to my core values. I can see many of the values of aloha in this theme - including writing with hospitality - respect for reader, writer and the space inbetween - the first post I wrote for you!


  17. Wendi Kelly · · Reply

    I am looking forward to this series. I think that writing respectfully allows for different viewpoints and being open to other ways of thinking than your own. Being willing to see things from a fresh perspective and to embrace each others uniqueness.

    I enjoy the fact that not everyone will agree with all things and that when we are open and respectful, we can come together and learn and grow from our interactions with each other as a global community.

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..Changing Colors

  18. Wendi, that’s a wonderfully positive way to look at respect and what happens when we leave that room for others. You’ve given me some ideas for a post to write around this, so thank you


  19. [...] was my first inner response to this suggestion from Brad Shorr: How about writing with respect when your task is to criticize or argue a point? In this political [...]

  20. Eric Peterson · · Reply


    Great theme this month! I think “authenticity” in our writing and blogging is very important in showing respect to our readers! Readers want real conversation with real people, so I think it’s important that writers show respect to readers through their authenticity!

    I can’t wait to see what’s in store this month.

    Eric Petersons last blog post..Sarah Palin and Sarcastic Leadership

  21. Eric, I agree with you. As a reader I can forgive many things if a blogger is authentic. It shows their respect for me as a reader - and also respect for themselves


  22. Joyful Jubilant Learning · · Reply

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find Out What It Means To Me…

    A large part of what I’ve learned about citizen publishing as writer, blogger, editor and publisher stems from my experience as a reader (and consumer) of other people’s work. I thought it might be useful to share some reader perspectives…

  23. [...] been thinking about language in relation to the theme of respect, and wondering whether the principle of ‘respect for your readers’ should influence the [...]

  24. [...] of the issues that came up in the initial post on ‘respect’ was the question of permission.  Don asked: When do I have permission from my readers to broach [...]

  25. [...] This is a contribution to this month’s theme of writing with respect. [...]

  26. [...] it’s the last day of September already, which means it’s time to bring the theme of writing with respect to a close.  There are still a lot of ideas I’d like to explore based on the discussions [...]

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