Q and A

Dear Dr. Doyle:

What am I allowed to write about?

Signed,

Worried

Dear Worried:

You’re allowed to write about whatever you damned well please.

You just have to be willing to accept the consequences.

In some times and places, those consequences may be political, and they may be severe.  In which case, good luck and may the blessings of whatever deity, if any, you prefer be upon you, because you’ll need them. In other times and places . . . somebody you’ve never met may say unkind things about you on the internet.  Which is no fun, to be sure, but on a scale of zero to “taken outside and shot” is maybe a three.

What should you do if strangers are saying unkind things about you on the internet?  Most of the time — nothing.

If you’ve actually screwed up, apologize.  Then get back to work and do better the next time.

If, upon sober reflection, you decide that you haven’t done anything you’re sorry for — don’t fake it.  Get back to work and don’t waste your energy on an argument that nobody’s going to win.

Remember — if you’re arguing, you aren’t writing.  Let your work make your arguments for you.

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