Writing boundaries

How do I write as well as I can while at the same time keeping appropriate boundaries. Of course as a writer, you need to be willing to put yourself out there. But how do you figure out how much to put yourself out there? And how do you know, for example, how something you say will affect how people look at you later on?

Someone recently asked me my opinion on having a blog. He said that because he is an evolving person, he hesitates to write something on his blog today that down the road won’t be him anymore but people will continue to define him in that way because it’s on his blog.

Cat Stevens is someone who evolved, if you can call it that. A supposed peace-loving person, he later became a Moslem anti-Semite.

This is an extreme case but I doubt many people still really define who he is now by who he was in the past. I listen to his music but to me, the person who wrote and performed (actually, still seems to perform sometimes; check out youtube) that music doesn’t exist anymore.

It is definitely not always that simple. I struggle with this I think, literally, all the time. But personally I think a lot of my struggle with this is not actually about this so much as it’s a struggle against my self doubt.

I hesitate sharing my opinion with the world because of the fear I have that it’s not a “good” opinion. Worrying that I don’t have enough information in order to have a legitimate opinion is a big thing for me. Of course this is inhibiting, not necessarily in a good way at all, but it’s hard to get over it.

Another thing that sometimes stops me from expressing my opinions is my worry of the effect it might have. Specifically, if I have an issue with how certain people are acting in the community, I am scared to write about it – even when I would love to and even when I think it’s really, really important – because I am scared of the results.

I wrote a while ago about the poet who writes anything and everything and said she believed it was good to sacrifice anything for “art”. Here I am, today writing about this topic again. As you can see, this doesn’t stop being an issue for me.

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4 thoughts on “Writing boundaries

  1. You’re not alone. This is an issue of ongoing debate amongst writers and within writers. Canadian diarist Evelyn Lau wrote about this topic in her book “Inside Out” and I recently read a book by a woman complaining how her reputation was damaged by Simone de Beauvoir called “A Disgraceful Affair”. Anais Nin was another diarist who sacrificed everything for art. I think all writers struggle with self-exposure, divided loyalty, and fear of reprisal. The sad truth is that the quality of your writing is often affected by how cautious and conventional or daring and naked you chose to be.

  2. Deena

    Thanks so much for writing. It’s such a tough balance! If a balance even exists… Are you aware of writer groups online or that meet in person? I keep wondering if being part of something like that would help me with a lot of different writer-type issues that I deal with all the time.

  3. These groups do exist of course, but there are as many kinds of writers as there are people — which is my way of saying that a lot of them are competitive jerks who have no interest in your ability to succeed.

    Just try to reach out to writers whose work corresponds to your genre. The self-exposure of being a poet or a diarist, is quite unique from the perils of journalism, for example.

  4. Pingback: Writing boundaries « Non-fiction writers

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