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Conflict: Scary and So Necessary for Writers

conflict at work | content writing blog

I’ve never been the type of person who enjoyed conflict. At the slightest hint that things were getting tense, I’d feel my stomach churn and a hot lump rise in my throat. I felt a sense of intense dread that I wouldn’t escape that conflict alive. My fight or flight instinct has always worked overtime.

As a writer, it took me a long time to learn that conflict is incredibly necessary and that it takes a number of different forms. Conflict is not always shouting, finger pointing and bruised egos (and frankly, if you want to keep a good relationship with your colleagues, you should try to avoid this type of behavior). But the opposite of conflict is not always being agreeable.

What a “yes” world would look like

I’m one of those people who always used to cite the phrase, “Can’t we all just get along?” The honest answer, "No, we can’t." A world where no conflict existed would be very dull. Imagine, as a writer, coming to work and completing tasks every day without ever being challenged. The idea of that is so at-odds with the passion of being a writer that it’s ridiculous.

Anyone who loves their work is going to be faced with naysayers. Artists, doctors, teachers and yes, writers, will often find themselves having to defend their work and way of thinking. This is a good thing. It forces us to look critically at the work we produce and question whether it’s good enough. And this, in turn, helps us grow our skills.

The ugly face of conflict

As I mentioned already, conflict is not always typified by active aggression. In fact, if you want conflict to be a positive experience, rather than just fighting, try to avoid letting your temper get the better of you. I’ve noticed in my 3-year journey at Wix that conflict comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes a conflict ignites when one party disagrees with the other party and simply isn't willing to accept what the other person is saying, even if that means there is discomfort or frustration. In other words, conflict can arise when people stand their ground. But that's okay!

One of the most important lessons I learned from our Head of Content is: Don’t accept the status quo when you know things can be better. You never have to be complacent. Simply put: Refuse to take no for an answer.

I can almost hear the readers of this article saying, “But doesn’t that just make you argumentative?” Well yes, it probably does. But so what? Getting into conflict means pushing others out of their comfort zone. And that’s not always a feeling people like, but doing so earns you a lot of respect and has positive results in the long term.

For me, conflict includes asking the questions: why, why not and so what.

DESIGNER: I didn’t put your text into the wireframe.

ME: Why?

DESIGNER: I can’t make it fit.

ME: Why not?

DESIGNER: Because it’s too long.

ME: So what?

DESIGNER: Can’t you shorten it?

ME: No, all of the info is valuable for the user.

DESIGNER: Can we discuss what design will work better?

ME: (Smiling) Now we’re talking!

The beautiful result of conflict

At the start, conflict often looks ugly. But the results it can yield are amazing. We always tell Wix writers to get into conflict because we know that it pushes them to work better, smarter and feel more empowered once the conflict has been resolved. And for the other party? It does the same. Conflict makes you rework what you thought was good or adequate, pushing you to excellence and giving you the confidence to defend your work. Conflict is an amazing way to keep your passion alive.

A side note: We also know when to disagree and commit. There are some conflicts that don’t end with both people changing their opinions. If you really believe that the text you’ve written reflects the brand well and is in the best interest of the user, commit to it.

These days, the idea of getting into conflict thrills me. And frankly, people expect me to do it. Others know that if I’m challenging them and creating conflict, it’s because I see that they haven’t yet reached their full potential and can do much more.

If you’re reading this and we haven’t met yet, I hope we’ll cross paths someday and have a beautiful conflict that leaves us both feeling smarter and more empowered.

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By Naama Oren, Superverbalist

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