Writing Is a Weird Hobby
Last weekend, I sat down and started writing a fiction scene. I liked doing it and I was inspired to do it by a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It was short and not at all finished project, but it was the start of something I want to keep working on. That night, I posted my link to it on Facebook and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up and immediately deleted the Facebook post, but left the story up.
The reason I deleted the post directing people to the short scene is the same reason pseudonyms (pen names) are used by so many writers. I was proud of the little bit I wrote that night, but I was worried it would upset people who know me. It is so tough to write without fear when you're worried about upsetting the people in your orbit.
There were two parts to this scene I didn't want people I know to read and overanalyze. The first was the main character's nonchalance to being told he was going to die by a doctor. I was afraid this would once again be interpreted as a cry for help and I really didn't want to deal with that shit again from people in my life.
The second was my mention of cancer. There is no way to write anything about a cancer diagnosis without potentially upsetting people who are struggling with the same situation and reacting way different than my main character. I didn't want any of my friends or family to read the scene and think I was making light of something so terrible so I pulled the direct link.
The terrible part about writing as a passion/hobby is being proud of what you write while also having to worry about how people will take it. I pride myself in writing honestly even when it can be uncomfortable. I am proud of almost everything I've ever written because I knew it was always honest when I wrote it. I also know I've written things that might upset people I care about. I can simultaneously be proud of writing how a friendship or relationship fell apart while feeling terrible knowing the other person might read it. I can feel proud of writing a story about a character who feels like a terminal diagnosis is "liberating" while feeling bad about how a real person will view my character's flippant attitude should they read it.
I plan to continue working on the story I started last week. I plan on continuing to write posts on this blog. I know both could be uncomfortable, offensive, or upsetting for readers. There will be people I know who don't like me using (fucking) profanity, or talking about sex, or telling stories with depressed characters, or writing true feelings about our interactions. Since I'm not planning on going by a pseudonym, I guess I just have to accept that as the cost of this incredibly weird hobby of mine.
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Randy Miller is on a quest to move his life along the scale from completely sucking to sucking slightly less to potentially sucking very little. He isn't really sure how he'll do this, but maybe writing about it will help.
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