You Just Shouldn't

If your response to something you dislike or disagree with in your chosen subculture is, “I just can’t with this,” you’re writing in the wrong place.

Non-writers can afford the luxury of being too triggered or disgusted to respond to something. Writers focusing on one particular niche topic may feel free to disregard or shrug off ideas in a different niche than their own. But if an idea in your subculture starts to gain traction—any attention or viability at all—excusing yourself from the conversation with “I just can’t with this” probably means you should excuse yourself from the conversation entirely.

This isn’t a knock against people who have wounds or trauma that make it too difficult for them to address certain subjects. And it may just mean you need to narrow your focus. For example, if you, a fashion blogger, have experienced emotional trauma from fat-shaming such that you can’t write about body image issues, fine: you’re a fashion blogger who doesn’t write about body image. If, on the other hand, you claim to be a fashion blogger who does want to address body issues, but every fifth article you read on the subject makes you shut down for the day, you probably need to stop writing on this subject.

I can hear you thinking now, “Oh sure, invalidate my opinions because of their strong emotional component.” Nope. Your opinions are totally valid. Your status as a writer is not. If you want to have a voice in a certain discussion, you have to be present for the entire discussion. Nice, considerate people—people who already feel kindly-disposed to you and eager to hear your thoughts (that is, the core of your existing audience)—will listen to whatever you have to say, even if you need to duck out of the conversation halfway through. If you want everyone else to pay attention to you, though, you’re going to have to grit your teeth and stay in the conversation, refusing to back down in the face of not only strong, direct opposition but unintentional triggering as well.

If you want to call yourself A Writer, you don’t get a choice about this. Do you think war correspondents with PTSD get to keep their beat as long as they don’t have to see anything too grisly?