What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You--Join "Women Who Write"
Updated: Jan 24
A friend of mine got called out for using a word on a blog post that was deemed derogatory. It’s a shame, because my friend is one of the loveliest people out there and she would never want to offend anyone. But she didn’t know.
She wrote about being “gypped” out of something. I don’t remember the exact reason it was used, but it was an innocent, innocuous statement, perhaps about a child not getting the TV time she thought she deserved, or a mom losing her space on the school pickup line. After she published, someone wrote her to tell her that she, of Romani descent, was insulted by the use of the word “gypped,” which is considered disrespectful, related to thieving gypsies. Who knew? She didn’t. I didn’t. Now we know.
Wouldn’t it be nice if--before going live with a blog post or a social media post--you could get another set or two of eyeballs on your piece...to offer objective, impartial, timely analysis of what you wrote and either give it a thumbs up, or provide suggestions for improvement?
I have been thinking about my sweet friend and what could have been done to remedy her plight.
To that end, last night I launched “Women Who Write,” a Facebook page where you can go to get a second opinion on your work. Before you hit “publish” or “send.”
So, like it, join it, use it. Help me build this community of volunteers. I hope it will be a safe, supportive place for women to go to “try” something they want to say. Before they put it “out there” into a universe that could be judgmental.
I have sent invitations to a bunch of my writer friends--some even professional copywriters--who, I hope, will weigh in from time to time. We don’t always agree (Hello, Oxford comma) but I anticipate lively discussion to get to a consensus.
To be sure, I have helpful friends who edit what I write. After it's posted. Then I play the "oh-I-hope-I-can-fix-that-before-anyone-else-notices game." As it happens, this occurs much more frequently than I would like. I have smart friends; I'm sure they will find something wrong with this post as well. None of us is the end-all, know-all expert, but we all can offer opinions on the way a piece comes across. The beautiful part is that we can offer that perception from different perspectives.
If my friend had posted her blog in “Women Who Write” would the slur have been caught? I don’t know, because, again, who knew...but tapping the collective mind of a group may have saved her.
So, let’s give it a shot. It's not only about the words deemed politically incorrect. Post a paragraph. Post a sentence. Question sentence structure. It's all fair game. The exact format of the page will develop as people use it. I think it’s a good idea, but the jury is still out. I have great visions of it being a really useful tool, mostly for laymen writers.
Who will be the first brave participant to post something?