“To pontificate is to talk in a dogmatic and pompous manner. To pontificate properly, you need to be a know-it-all with very strong opinions and the urge to share them.” (source: vocabulary.com)
I have way too many “strong opinions.” And as a blogger it’s tempting to write about whatever has me fired up at the moment.
The only problem with doing that is that it’s rarely helpful to readers.
It may be good social media fodder that attracts lots comments, but this isn’t Facebook. One of the reasons I quit Facebook was to distance myself from all those hyper-opinionated people who just want to argue.
Instead, the reason I blog is to help my readers. I want to document my journey and “show my work” so I can inspire and empower other entrepreneurs.
And one of the best ways I know to help people is to “demonstrate” how to do things. At least, that’s how I learn. I need to “see” someone do something so I know it’s possible.
By the way, there are many ways to “see” things.
For example, when I read Peter Bowerman’s story of how he made over $100/hr as a freelance writer in his book The Well-Fed Writer I “saw” the business model and how it could work for me too.
After I went to rehab and started attending 12-Step meetings I heard people share about what it was like as an addict, what happened and what it’s like now. This helped me “see” how living clean and sober was possible.
That’s because I heard real-life stories of how people did something. They weren’t “pontificating” about things. They were talking about concrete realities.
I need to remember this because as a writer it’s tempting to pontificate about things instead of demonstrating how to do them.
For example, right now I’m making the transition from freelancer to entrepreneur. For the last five years I’ve been self-employed and now I’m working on becoming an actual business owner.
It’s a tough journey. I’m learning a lot but it feels like the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know! So it’s also humbling.
But if I start telling you “This is how to build a $1 million business,” I would just be pontificating because I haven’t done it yet.
Once I do, I can demonstrate and show you how I did. It doesn’t mean that’s how you’ll do it, but at least it’ll be lessons learned from reality instead of theory.
I can, however, show you how to make a full-time living as a freelance copywriter.
I can demonstrate how to get clients, how to structure your discovery calls and how to build a website that ranks well online (I’m on Page One for ‘direct response copywriter’).
For a while I thought I’d just write about how to make a living as a freelancer. But that’s not where my heart is right now. I’m so focused, and excited, about building a business so that’s what I want to write about!
But I have to be careful not to pontificate. Instead, I can share real life lessons that I learn from the successes and failures as I continue on this journey.
My posts may not sound as “authoritative” as others but at least they’ll be honest. And I feel like we could all benefit from more honest writing… especially in the area of “how to make money online and build a business.”
So that’s my plan…I want to demonstrate vs pontificate.