October Theme: Writing With Responsibility

The theme for this month will be writing with responsibility.

That includes:

Taking responsibility for your words.  Managing your writing and the words that you use.  Learning from mistakes and looking for ways to improve your writing.  Accepting responsibility for the impact of your words and  writing on other people and the wider world.

I’m still mind-mapping the list of possibilities to write about within this heading.  To help inform the process is there anything else that you’d like me to cover as part of this theme?

Photo Credit: Community Art - Responsibility by roland on flickr

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  1. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Sounds intriguing, Joanna. Brings to mind the concept of “trigger words” - words that provoke a strong emotional response, usually negative. “Consultant”, for instance, strikes a few of my clients as a negative trigger word, so they want to avoid it in their promotional materials.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Trust Me

  2. Rick Mahn · · Reply

    Interesting theme for October - I’m looking forward to reading all the great work that will be generated from this.

    Brad - trigger words… this is so true. Makes me think a bit more about how a person phrases things to better tune what people hear. Interesting…

    Rick Mahns last blog post..Happiness CCLVII

  3. Brad, I’m feeling a bit intrigued by it too and not entirely sure where it’s going to take me! But then again, many times that turns out to be the case.

    Trigger words are interesting. I hadn’t realised that “consultant” would have such negative connotations - what do they tend to go for instead?

    Rick, hello. I’m glad this theme sounds of interest.

    One of the ideas I want to explore is “the meaning of the communication is the response you get” which is linked to the point that you make - about adjusting our words to match what will resonate with others, or to avoid phrases that will sound discordant… why? because of the positive intention we’re aiming for, and our desire to find the words that will be the most powerful and effective way to do that.

    Thanks for getting my mind whirring already!

    Joannas last blog post..October Theme: Writing With Responsibility

  4. Ulla Hennig · · Reply

    “Taking responsibility for your words” - this means for me, taking responsibility for my blog. What do I want it to be? A means of communication? A means of presenting myself? A means of information? A means of bringing joy to other people? It is my blog, so I have to answer those questions. And I have to stick to it. There are so many blogging tips on the web - how to increase traffic, how to earn money with blogs - but it is my decision whether I follow those tips or whether I say, I prefer bringing joy to people to earning money.
    Just my 2cents,

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..Silence and Peace

  5. Jim Murdoch · · Reply

    Responsibility smacks of accountability to me. If you write anything then you should be willing to defend your words whether it simply be your choice of words or what those words say. I find this is something that poets especially have an issue with, people questioning their word usage and one should know better than to back a wild animal or a poet into a corner.

    I hate people who say, “Well, if you don’t get it then it’s your problem,” as if all the responsibility for meaning lies with the reader. It’s a joint venture this reading lark: readers need writers and writers need readers. We have to work together.

    Jim Murdochs last blog post..Funny Strange

  6. Karen Swim · · Reply

    Joanna, this sounds like it will be another great theme month. I love the comments so far and would add we’re responsible for accuracy. In any form of writing we need to report facts and opinions responsibly. Information is swiftly passed along which makes it even more important to source facts and identify what is your opinion, theory or philosophy.

    Karen Swims last blog post..Shadow Box Your Way to Success

  7. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk · · Reply

    I agree with Ulla, I’m not aiming to get more traffic or to make money from my blog. I write because that’s my way of living deeply and sharing it with other people. Responsibility flows naturally from my purpose.

    Jean Browman-Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space

  8. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Joanna, Rick … “Consultant” seems to be a trigger word here because people associate it with ideas such as “outsider”, “ivory tower” and “expensive” — words that are themselves trigger words. That plays right into the idea of meaning being in the eye of the beholder, not the eye of the author.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Trust Me

  9. Ricardo Bueno · · Reply

    I think that this is an excellent point to reflect on and can cover a lot of ground. Sometimes we forget to realize that what we write, remains printed on the worldwide web for people to see, forever!

    So what you say about yourself, and your business, should always reflect the brand image that you’re trying to convey across any and all social networks. Don’t you think?

  10. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk · · Reply

    I’ve been thinking of this topic some more. Because I’m trying to encourage conversations I spend as much time writing comments on other people’s blogs as I do writing my own posts. In my case that’s part of being responsible.

    Jean Browman-Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space

  11. Jamie Simmerman · · Reply

    Hmm. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Can’t wait to see what you have planned.

    Jamie Simmermans last blog post..Pick Another Pen Men Brain: Charlie Pabst

  12. Cath Lawson · · Reply

    Hi Joanna - Great topic. One thing I’d like to see you cover is the importance of thinking what keywords you could be searched for.

    When I blogged about Barbie blogging, I got a heap of searches for little girls who wanted to look like Barbie. And I don’t think my post was suitable for them to be reading.

  13. SpaceAgeSage -- Lori · · Reply

    Writing and responsibility — I believe the communicator is responsible for the communication.
    This means it is my job to factor in:

    Clarity — using words, images, and ideas that are as vividly impacting as possible.

    Dialogue — as a blogger, I want to open the door to readers to comment.

    Giving — give of myself to leave the reader with something they can take away — a smile, a new thought, a motivation.

    Be authentic — don’t irresponsibly mess with the readers’ minds by manipulating their emotions for my own gain or ego.

    Own up to flub ups — We all make mistakes, so admit them when necessary to honor the readers’ trust.


    SpaceAgeSage — Loris last blog post..Fall’s memories, melancholy, and magic

  14. Jeanne Dininni · · Reply


    In addition to all the things already mentioned, to me, writing with responsibility includes being true to our values. When our writing lines up with our values, we demonstrate responsibility not only to our readers, but also to ourselves.

    Great topic!

  15. Ulla, that’s a great connection you’re making from our intention - to bring joy - with your own responsibility for achieving it. There’s so many different ways you can experiment and play with how you do it, but the responsibility element is about keeping the focus on that overall intention, and making sure you get there.

    Jim, I agree with you, it’s a joint endeavour, and we need to be willing to be held accountable for our words. Mind ou, I’m not sure I want to get into any disputes with wild poets…

    Karen, that’s a good point, and particularly relevant on the internet where information travels so fast, and is often so wildly inaccurate.

    So many great ideas here!

  16. Jean, I keep on coming back to purpose and intention too. (In fact I think all the themes flow back to or from intention and purpose… but exploring them from different angles makes it easier for me to write)

    Brad, thanks for the clarification. “Consultants” tend to be expensive over here too!

    Ricardo, I know. I’m often surprised that people forget this point - they dismiss the importance of writing in this digital age whereas our words now linger for ever… and we need to take care with - and responsibility for - our words whether it’s a blog post, an article, a photo, a comment or a message on Twitter. Definitely.

    Jean, taking time with comments is a key part of blogging - in my definition anyway. I’m sure you’ll agree with this but we need to take as much care with our comments as we do any other forms of writing - because those words stay for ever, and can have a powerful impact for good or for ill.

  17. Jamie, I’m currently working out how to factor in all the brilliant ideas everyone’s been coming up with!

    Cath - that’s a very interesting idea. Might need to pick your brains a bit further though…

    Lori - what a great list - I think that’s just about a post in itself… Thanks :-)

    Jeanne, I know it might strange to have a plan through to December 09… but it does seem to work out for me that way :-)

  18. Jeanne Dininni · · Reply

    I think it’s wonderful, Joanna!

  19. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk · · Reply

    “Jean, taking time with comments is a key part of blogging - in my definition anyway. I’m sure you’ll agree with this but we need to take as much care with our comments as we do any other forms of writing - because those words stay for ever, and can have a powerful impact for good or for ill.”

    Of course, that’s why I take so much time writing my comments. I’m assuming we try to align all of our words with our intentions and purpose. For me writing is a sacred activity.

    Jean Browman-Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space

  20. Debbie Yost · · Reply

    I’m very excited about this month’s theme. Can’t wait to see what you have to share.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Rice a Roni!

  21. Jeanne, I’m sorry I missed part of your comment before - being true to your values is a very important dimension. Sticking with that internal compass will help us to write truthfully and honestly and to be willing to be held accountable for what we write.

    Jean, that’s the alignment I’m trying to get and I guess to help others towards too. I think I do make that assumption about everyone who comments here… but across the whole of the blogosphere… I’m not so sure.

    Debbie, I’m glad it resonates. I was a bit worried it might seem too serious! Hope you’re having a good trip

  22. Although it won’t be easy to deal with the responsibilities, but it’s still our duty and don’t even tried to rely on other people to help you here…

    And, remember that it does take courage and determination dealing with responsibility!

    wilsons last blog post..Your Children Are Allergy with Egg Products?

  23. [...] for all your thoughtful responses to the opening post on writing with respect. Much food for thought there and I’ll start exploring the theme ‘properly’ once I [...]

  24. Jeanne Dininni · · Reply

    No problem, Joanna! No matter how much one may love it, replying to all those comments can be quite a job — and every so often one is bound to miss something!

  25. Wilson, good point about courage and determination. I’m sure courage will run as a current through the conversations this month.

  26. what are you spreading? « Levite Chronicles · · Reply

    [...] Joanna Young wrote the other day about her theme for October. She’s going to be talking about writing with responsibility. She regularly addresses themes on her site, and many have been helpful. This one, however, has [...]

  27. [...] This is a contribution to the theme of writing with responsibility. [...]

  28. I find it really hard to get my head around ‘writing responsibly’. I inevitably start thinking about writing courageously instead.

    kazaris last blog post..Blogging courageous

  29. Kazari, hello and welcome :-)

    I’m finding this quite a challenging concept too - but I’m learning from the exploration of it. I think there is definitely an interaction with courageous writing, especially when we need to make hard decisions about what to leave in (and out).

    Thanks for helping me to make that connection too.

  30. [...] post was written by Jon Swanson from Levite Chronicles in response to the writing with responsibility theme.  It started as an e-mail response, but I wanted to share it with you here, and Jon kindly [...]

  31. [...] It’s also a contribution (of sorts) to the theme of writing with responsibility. [...]

  32. [...] piece is a the final contribution to writing with responsibility.  It’s also the 500th post at Confident Writing!  Seems like a good one for that [...]

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