Have you ever been tempted just to say what you mean? Come out with a statement of truth or solution to a problem without couching it in polite terms? Ignore the temptation to give away your idea to get buy-in? I’m on a campaign in my life to say what I mean.
I dream of a meeting room full of people who actually say what they mean. Where ideas are thrown out without fear, considered and discussed honestly without concern that you will offend the person who made the suggestion. Where “I don’t know yet, let’s work on that.” would not be a statement of failure. Where input is sought, a decision is made and then well-communicated to all interested parties.
I’m not talking about petty insults or mean-spirited comments. I think it’s important to respect the feelings and opinions of those around you, especially those who are brave enough to speak up. I’m talking about open communication to achieve goals.
One of my biggest frustrations in life is that we are trained from a young age to be truthful then life experience tells us to manipulate. I am just as guilty as those around me. I see problems that I don’t bring up because I believe the powers-that-be are not ready to hear my contribution. I work harder than needed to work around a barrier that could be lifted if I wasn’t worried about pointing a finger at a problem.
I’m part of the problem because I know saying what I want to say is career limiting. But, not saying anything is happiness limiting, and I like my happiness more.
So I am working on my bravery to find polite ways to say what I mean. To just come out with a problem I see and move towards a solution. Respect does not have to limit truth and I’m worth it.
In real life conflict is frustrating and the truth can be scary. But in our writing conflict can be a fun place to play. Explore how “saying what you mean” could effect the life of one of your characters.
Put your character in a situation where they have an opinion or a piece of information to communicate. Play with how their revelation effects their lives. Don’t be constrained by my rant above, your character may not share my hopes and fears.
Does the truth set them free, or do they land in the fire? Does your character choose to tell the truth in a reasoned way or do they loose their cool and just spout-off? How do others react to their revelation?
Aim to write 500 words.
If you are at a loss for a situation try this one: Your office re-uses printer paper; when you print a draft that you no longer need it gets turned over and re-used. (How very green.) Most of the time this is fine, your work isn’t confidential within the office. One day as you wait for a print-job you notice your name in bold across the back of the page. You read the page and realize it is a draft of what looks like a confidential re-organization project. By the end of the day everyone has seen at least a page or two of the plan and the department manager calls a meeting where he berates everyone for “stealing and distributing” a confidential document. It is clear to you that the document was not stolen, but he (or whoever printed the draft for him) made a mistake and re-cycled this sensitive document. – Good luck.