This post, by Tereece M. Clarke, originally appeared on The Freelance Writing Jobs Network site on 9/16/10.
Life is full of difficult, uncomfortable situations. How we deal with those on a personal basis is one thing… how you deal with tough topics as a writer may be completely different. One thing that doesn’t work is avoidance.
Usually at FWJ we have to caution writers about taking on too much work, but the room clears when sensitive subject posts are passed out. Why?
Fear. No one wants to get their name tagged to a controversial subject because they fear they will lose out on future gigs because of it. No one wants to call the woman with breast cancer and talk about the big “C” because they fear they will come across insensitive or nosey. No one wants to offend.
Debra Stang of Confessions of a Word Concubine (love that title by the way) answered a question I posed from a previous post about this very same topic. She had some great words of advice from her own experience:
Perhaps because I’m a medical social worker and get involved in ethical dramas every day, I seem drawn to sensitive topics; for instance, I recently wrote an article for Suite101 about whether a mental illness could ever be considered terminal. I’ve also written articles about abandoning aggressive care for palliative care and about the efficacy of electro-convulsive therapy as a treatment for depression.