Getting in the Way of My Own Writing

Worrying about reputation and overscheduling are creating problems for me

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

Defining the Problem

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that when I write something deeply personal, people are affected. It has started to give me pause in what I write because I don’t want to hurt people that are close to me. I have started to play it too emotionally safe.

My Writing Schedule and How That Affects Things

I write to a schedule on Medium. I have to have a piece every day of the week and my topics are pre-defined. That is biting me in the ass a bit. Every day is fine, it’s the topics that are giving me trouble. The truth is, some topics take a lot more work than others. If I’m under the gun I will go for an easy topic and push something out that maybe should have waited or been part of a larger piece.

Fixing It

I don’t quite know what I’m going to do to fix it. The two issues intertwine for me. Safe articles and easier articles together. It’s dropping my quality overall. I feel like I have to take more chances right off the bat. I also have to devote more time to quality, to revision.

The good news is I’ve started the revision process. Yesterday’s piece (on shelter in a survival situation) was revised more than I’ve done for the last few, and I think the prose improved as a result of it. The article was weak though. It needed more meat.

The day before yesterday I did a review of the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. I liked the meat of the piece, I thought my points were decent, but I didn’t do enough revision. Trying to get it out fast. I missed one point where I implied a character died of one thing when she died of a different thing and it was important. I got raked over the coals for it (and rightly so) but was too damned stubborn to admit it for a long time.

Then there’s the openness. I have people in my life who care about me. Their opinion matters to me. Some of them might get hurt by things I say. I don’t want that to happen to them. I don’t really care about things like my reputation. I believe that by being open I am protected from most negativity directed at me from strangers on the internet. People who live in glass houses don’t have skeletons in their closet or something to that effect. I also believe that my reputation will improve if I’m open and honest, since being closed is probably my biggest issue.

The schedule issue is easier to fix

I can always change my schedule. That’s in my power. I might shift around which topics I do on which days, as well as which topics I do overall. I can also try and get a little bit ahead of things, maybe do a few articles in one day, release them as makes sense, so I have more revision time and can still make the schedule. That’s the current plan. Over the next week, I’m going to try and get ahead on my writing. Right now I’m writing articles the day before posting them.

The openness issue is much harder

Openness was never an issue for me. In the beginning, I let fly with whatever was on my mind. My writing was rawer. I did one article recently that was raw on that level, it hurt somebody.

I don’t know if I’m just too gun-shy to completely open up now. I don’t think I am, I think I have lots of it still in me. I will be coming out with pieces that are raw and open and I will just grit my teeth and hope for the best!

I just noticed that I am using I a lot in this piece which brings me to a topic that I’m going to address next week. Self-focus. The short of it is that I’m writing about myself in the hopes that I’m experiencing things that match what other people are experiencing and that maybe at least knowing someone else is having the same problem will help.

Why You Should Care

Well, maybe you like my writing… that’s possible, right? If so this is about how I keep going as a writer and how I’ve made things really challenging for myself.

On the other hand, maybe you are facing a similar set of dilemmas. Maybe you feel my pain, share my struggle. If so, maybe seeing how it works out for me, how I’m working on it, that might help you — even if it’s only to avoid making the same mistakes I am.


Well, there’s not much of a conclusion here. Just a bit of rambling about how I’ve messed myself up. Anyway, I guess if there’s anything it’s don’t overschedule yourself in a way that messes you up and also be fearless.

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