When Writing Makes You Uncomfortable

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Photo Credit: Blake Cheek on Unsplash

I’ve been publishing less lately, despite the fact I’m still writing daily. I’ve found myself wrestling with these two longer political posts off and on, for the last few days. In addition to that, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time working on a lengthy narrative from my personal life that I’ve wanted to write for sometime now. And to tell you the truth, all three of them are giving me hell.

It’s rare a story takes me more than a maximum of two hours to write, edit and post. I typically write 500 word pieces, usually something I thought of on a whim. A title that literally spoke to me, an idea I can’t get out of my head, a story from my past or thoughts on writing or on Medium itself — that I feel will provide value to others.

I can’t quite figure out what it is about these posts I’m struggling with. It’s not in producing the words for them, I’ve had no trouble putting words to the page. It’s not even that I’m unhappy with them — something just feels off. While the obvious issue with the two political posts are they’re simply outside my niche’ or usual subject matter, it feels like more than that.

While I’m definitely outside of my writing comfort zone when it comes to politics, the words have flowed pretty freely. Perhaps they’re just not the right words or I’m simply overthinking it. One of these stories, I’ve actually posted twice already recently — before quickly sending it back to my draft box. That is not a common practice for me. I typically let my posts live or die where they’re accessible to my readers and the general public. If one doesn’t do well, I forget about it and move on. No big deal. So what is it about these three posts I’m struggling with?

I’m going to take my best educated guess, as it pertains to the three posts in my draft box that’re beginning to collect dust. It’s easy to just slap together a 500 word free thought post involving no research or fact checking. If I get a minor detail of a story from my past wrong in a post, it goes mainly unnoticed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed — but people take their politics mighty seriously here in America. God forbid I get a single fact or date wrong, I’ll be berated by maniacs and fanatics who live to argue politics with people over the internet.

The second post I’m referring to, while politically charged, involves less facts — as it’s more of a political opinion piece with a compelling spin to it. However, the opinions are strong, to put it delicately. I’m almost certain those opinions will piss more than a few people off — which doesn’t bother me in the least — as long as I know it’s my genuine opinion and not one I conjured up solely with the intent of provoking outrage. While the opinions in the post are my genuine beliefs, still, I struggle to get it ready for public consumption.

The third post is a long form narrative that I’ve already written 1200 words of and I feel like I haven’t even begun to tell the story — which probably means there’s a whole lot of editing to be done. I may have to restructure it completely, or find a different way to tell it. There’s vital background information that’s imperative to the story. Thankfully though, much of it is compelling and highly entertaining.

Being completely honest, though the post is far from finished, there’s no doubt an internal hesitancy within me to post it. It’s deeply personal and involves criminal activity of blood relatives and loved ones. In fact, though it’s no secret and the relative involved has already been arrested for the events of the night in question — it pertains to a family member of mine who murdered someone a few winters ago. It was an act of self defense — though the courts have not decided such yet — but regardless, a man lost his life and a family member of mine is on trial for his life for it.

Beyond that, there’s no way to tell the story without detailing the very illicit and illegal life this relative of mine lives, which is not something that brings me joy or comfort. However, I have my reasons for why I feel justifiably obligated to tell this story, so I’ll continue writing it.

I wanted to write this to explore why it is I’m having difficulty publishing these particular posts. Mainly because, I think when writing about a specific subject makes you uncomfortable, you’re onto something. There’s a reason behind the uneasiness and I believe it is caused by the potential power and impact we subconsciously know our words could have. Both on us and others. That being said, as writers we also tend to let our irrational fears exaggerate this aspect. We imagine people in our real lives, angrily confronting us about something we’ve written — at least I do.

Despite the fact this has literally happened to me zero times since I began writing here on Medium regularly. I guess that’s why they call it irrational fear.

It’s okay if what you’re writing about makes you uncomfortable, in fact if it doesn’t, may I suggest finding a topic that does? In a way, these three stories have been a breath of fresh air to me, as a writer. I haven’t been nervous about hitting publish on something in quite some time. I feel alive again.

Now excuse me, while I get back to getting those uncomfortable stories ready to publish.

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