Today was supposed to be a guest post, but due to unresolved creative differences, the post swap will not take place. I feel like the parent who promised the kids a Disneyland trip and took them to the shoe store instead. So, instead of reading another writer’s words (spinning on the Teacup ride at Disneyland), you’re gazing at another post by me (browsing the rows of shoes on display.) Which do you like better – the wedges or flats?
The events of the last day or so have prompted me to do some thinking about writing. As writers, we are faced with being true to ourselves, while taking care that our words are inspired by joy – not hate or negativity. Even with care, it’s possible that our words may offend someone. When the offense is brought to our attention, with no alternative presented, we are forced to evaluate them and decide:
1) Do we modify or remove the offending material to satisfy the reader? or
2) Should we keep the material unchanged to retain the integrity of the message?
I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that my potential guest post contained elements that the other person did not want on their blog. I do respect their boundaries, and recognize that we all have different opinions about what is acceptable. I tried to find a suitable alternative for the photo, but that was rejected also. Based on the nature of the photo, an acceptable version doesn’t exist. I did not agree with the second issue, nor could I find a viable substitution. So that is where the rock and hard place come together.
Because I chose my creative message over censorship, I am now seen as “not wanting to compromise.” According to Webster (my trusty dictionary) compromise means “a settlement in which each side gives up some demands or makes concessions.”
Being that the person’s demands for change were never once modified, the only chance for resolution was my full compliance. That is NOT compromise. I’ve been married for fourteen years – I know all about compromise. It feels like a night in Vegas after you win $50 and then gamble it away a couple hours later. You lose what you gained, but had some fun in the process.
The benefit of this experience is that I have learned a few things:
- Clarify any post rules/restrictions BEFORE accepting a guest
- Communicate my standards to a guest before agreeing to host them
- Allow a full week to swap and review posts to determine if they are a fit, and give time for any needed revisions
- If differences cannot be resolved, it’s okay to walk away. I don’t have to make changes I’m not comfortable with just because I already announced an upcoming guest.
Sandwiched between the rock (staying true to myself) and the hard place (others’ values) isn’t an enviable place to be. But I’d rather be a solid mass, confident in my own words, than the air moving freely in between without any ties to the words I write.