Each time I sit down and find something that catches my attention, I stick with it for only as long as the writer can hold my attention. Seriously. Like many other people, I’m not going to spend my time doing anything that doesn’t somehow offer me something in return for my time. It’s a natural process.
More recently, I’ve been cruising the internet looking for articles, blogs, poetry, and just about anything else that I can find to satisfy my curious mind. If I’m reading and the subject doesn’t suit my taste; the piece of work has too many errors; the writer jumps from topic to topic in just as many sentences; or, whatever else the case may be, I’ll wander away to find something more interesting.
I usually read with an open mind. It’s not too hard, at times, to satisfy my curiosity for a few minutes. Give me something worth reading, that shows signs of effort made, and I will be happy to remain with you for a while. Give me a reason to think about what you’ve offered, and I’m likely to speak up and share my opinion on the matter. Many times have I spoken up in the form of a comment, or e-mail, or another simple message, just because the writer attracted my attention and provoked thought.
There have been many times that I’ve offered advice, compliments, or my opinion alone. It’s that second thought, after having written the message that I was thinking while I was reading, that makes me pause a moment to consider whether I want to push that ‘Post Comment’ or the ‘Send Message’ button. While staring at the monitor, arguing with myself, I wonder if what I have taken the time to write will make sense in a helpful manner to anyone else.
Sure, I know that there are times when humor doesn’t pass well through text. I also know that I come off as being arrogant, cocky, just plain rude, or flat out weird; there have been (many) times. I read over what I have typed, scanning for any likely mistakes, while I wonder if what I am about to share with that one person (or the world) will help or simply confuse everyone who reads it.
Then, the third thought pops into my head: It makes sense. It’s well written. It’s likely to be helpful to someone out there. Go ahead and post or send it. So, I push that little button and within a second, I see that the message has been sent or the comment posted. In that moment, I know there is no chance of correcting any mistakes that slipped through; there’s no way to retract what’s been offered; no way to undo what’s been done.
More often than not, I wait; impatiently, but still I wait. A reply comment, a return e-mail, some other type of notice will eventually let me know that the message was received and understood in a manner that helped more than it hindered the situation.
Occasionally I’ll receive an e-mail back. Comments from authors on WordPress are more likely to appear. E-mailing people isn’t difficult, especially when there is only a combination of two buttons that have to be pressed to reply. Still, many people neglect those buttons. Facebook users are very well known for their lack of response to any person whom they don’t know; making it that much more difficult to make friends. — So much for being social.
It’s that third thought; the one that simply says ‘Someone will benefit from it,’ that returns to mind. Even without a response I’m sure that there is (usually) wisdom in whatever I choose to write. Keeping that in mind allows me to press that button and send the message, whether it’s likely to aggravate, irritate, or need a simpler explanation.
Second-guessing shouldn’t be a guessing game. That third thought makes it all worthwhile.