"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Art of the Rant...How to Get it Right!






"Shout, shout, let it all out. These are the things I can do without!"--Tears for Fears

There's no doubt about it.
Unless you qualify for sainthood, or have had a life that resembles a fairy tale, someone or something somewhere has pissed you off, caused you to say a silent prayer and count to 10...It happens to the best of us. The worst happens.
We start our day off with positive meditations, divine inspirations, then someone has the nerve
to disturb our "nirvana."  Are you feeling me here?

It could be the "jerk" that cuts you off in traffic.
A supervisor who is less than Super!
An opportunistic relative.
A client who is clueless.
A previous partner who gives us the "pink slip."
Someone who is insensitive with their words.
"Don't it make yo' brown eyes blue?"

I've been there. Done that. And I feel your pain.
And like the typical writer, you want to pen your thoughts for others to read, and as a form of release.

But, there's a right and a wrong way to do it, Charlie Brown. And here's why...

A rant that is not properly executed can make the writer look bitter, immature, unprofessional or even silly.
How do I know? Because I've read them!

Still with their ability to unravel our reputation, rants remain a popular read for the following reasons:

  •  Others like to know that they are not alone in their misery.
  • People can relate.
  • Some rants are very entertaining and even enlightening.
  • They sometimes express what others wish they had the ability or courage to say.
  • It can cause us to appreciate the beauty inherent in our 1st Amendment rights.
I believe that a good rant is like a good bottle of wine: it should be stimulating, tasteful, and allow you to relieve stress.

Accordingly, here are a few dos and don'ts you'll want to observe to make your next rant resonate with readers. 

DOS
  • Keep it clean. Rants that are laced with profanity and put-downs rarely appeal to readers.
  • In the words of Elvis Presley, "Don't be cruel." Observe tasteful boundaries. Especially when dealing with clients and relatives.
  • Remember that once it hits the Internet, it's pretty permanent. So before you "vent" make sure to sleep on your thoughts for a day or two. If you still feel the same way, then it may be worth taking the risk.
  • Make rants relevant to your readership.  For example, a blog on writing may "discuss" rejections from editors, or gripes with social media, or a bad experience with a book signing.
  • When possible, apply humor. It typically makes folks more receptive.
  • Give us some take-away value. What can we learn? Perhaps you decided to "take the high road" despite being ticked off. Or there's a universal lesson we can apply, or a mishap we can avoid.
  • Make rants reasonable. In other words, don't complain about the world being overcrowded, or the fact that babies cry too much. Duh?

DON'TS

  • Don't forget that your rants can have consequences. To you and to othersHere's a case in point. Some years ago, a teacher got fired for expressing his views about the "ghetto parents" at the school he taught, through his personal Blog. Some might argue that it was his right to express his opinion; still the people within his school's community didn't take too kindly to it. Their "vents" and complaints caused him to ultimately lose his job. Be forewarned. The hide you save may be your own!  
  • Unless your Blog is purposed for rants and controversial commentary, don't overdo it. "All things in moderation." A person who "always" rants is typically perceived as either angry, or limited in his conversational skills. You're better than that.
  • Don't post public rants for things that should be dealt with in person.

With the holidays coming along, and family gatherings, I can feel a few rants "brewing" already. :-)
How about you?

There you have it, folks.
Your turn.
Agree or disagree?
Voice your views on the rant...

8 comments:

  1. Wise advice. I have sent some solid rants to my local paper that have been published because I used your protocol.

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 21, 2014 at 5:47 AM

      Good to hear, Linda. Thanks for stopping by and starting us off. :-)

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  2. Excellent points. I have to wonder too, if they would be good guidelines to follow in our speech as well. (Although to do that might be more easily said than done! :) Thanks for your always timely and savvy advice.

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  3. I don't think that rants are in alignment with the topics I usually blog about.

    However I do believe that possible 'nirvana disturbances' might contain a treasure of potential frustration that can help getting new ideas and inspiration.

    For example it might provide Inspiration for things like Comedy Writing, Funny Greeting Card ideas, or maybe even for Songwriting etc. etc.

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  4. Okay...I can see that. Thanks for the feedback, H.P.

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  5. You are spot on with your "do's" and "don'ts" for ranting, Jen. Love the 'hide you save may be your own'. Cool off before you spout off is my motto! Great post.

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    Replies
    1. I dig that motto, Sue. Much thanks for chiming in. :-)

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