December 4, 2013

Fear of Saying Dumb Things Scares Me to Death

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out). Once a month we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity: Fear of saying dumb things scares me to death

People who don’t know you–and me–judge us by what we say. They have no historic track record to weigh our comments, ideas, thoughts against. When they meet our words posted online–or blurted out in person–all they know of us is by those words.

So when I say something dumb, it really bothers me. Let’s define ‘dumb’ as–

  • stupid, as in uneducated, like a fifth-grade understanding of the world when I’m [supposed to be] an adult
  • not representative of my real thoughts
  • requires more information than has been communicated to truly get meaning.
  • meant to be funny but falls flat (I’ve heard the shortest distance between two people is a good laugh or a smooth trigger pull. Both are fraught with danger.)

Sure, it’s harmless if that ‘something’ is ‘oh, Jacqui must like skydiving’. I won’t stay awake at night worrying about that. But if it’s ‘Jacqui hates ***’, yeah, then I might.

I do this more than I like to admit. I pop out with an idea that sounds brilliant in the safety of my hind brain, but as it rolls off my tongue, I realize if it was any dumber it would have to be watered daily. You know the type. Age has tempered the number of times it happens, but not eradicated their occurrence. Back-pedaling when I see surprise or confusion around me helps, but doesn’t fix.

This is why I like the written word better. True, my thoughts are there for posterity, but I can edit, review, rethink, before pushing send. That helps.

How about you?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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