At last week’s Yosemite conference, Michael Lopp closed out the sessions with an inspiring talk about writing.
One of his three suggestions for what to write about was to rant about something. (The other two, IIRC, were to clearly explain something you know and to express an opinion.)
Ranting is great. It's sure to get the creative juices flowing as your blood boils over thinking about the CIA hijacking Xcode or the state of the health care system in the US or the continued hazards in Fukushima or the wasteful water management practices of California agribusiness in the face of our crisis-level drought. And if you can write about these things, and spread understanding of knowledge that might improve the situation, that’s great. If we didn’t have people writing, blogging, tweeting, talking about these issues, they’d just be swept under the rug. (In fact, many important issues still are largely ignored by the public.)
But often ranting (usually on social media, not so much in long-form writing) ends up just complaining and spreading negativity. Like that crying baby in the airplane a few seats back, or having to wait for the dishwasher repair dude too long, or the bad service you got at the restaurant.
To me, all that seems to do is to amplify the negativity for yourself, and spread negativity to others.
To me it seems like the people who complain a lot are the ones who seem to always have these things happen to them. They guy who rants about babies crying in the movie theatre? It seems to happen to him a lot. It’s like the complaining attracts more negativity.
At Yosemite, one of the presentations — I think it was the one by Jamiee Newberry, who talked about her “31 days 31 people” project of expressing gratitude — reminded us to focus on what’s good, and be grateful as a way to be happier.
So I’m personally going to modify Lopp’s advice to rant, and come up with a type of rant that’s not negative! How about ranting with gratitude?
I’m considering some grateful rants to post in the days or weeks ahead. Stay tuned.