5 topics I’m afraid to write about

My unabridged list is too long and unwieldy to share–even with myself–but after a minimal amount of thinking, here are five topics I’m afraid to write about:

1.  This one.

Seriously.  Anytime I sit down and stare at a blank page, I am terrified.  What if this time, NOTHING COMES OUT?  It could happen.  It happened yesterday, as a matter of fact, and there is absolutely no guarantee that today will be any different.

2.  Things I don’t know much about.

This is an alarmingly large category.  I really wish I had started a blog a few years ago when I knew everything.

3.  Really Big Topics.

Some people seem to get a thrill from tackling the big topics:  abortion, gun control, peace in the Middle East, that sort of thing.  Not me.  The other day, Scott Berkun prompted us Daily Post-ers to write about capital punishment, and that was the beginning of my writer’s block.  It’s not that I don’t have an opinion.  I do, and maybe that is all that’s necessary to start spewing, but I am always second-guessing myself.  These debates have been raging for decades; what could I possibly add to the conversation that would turn the tide?

4.  Cats.

As topic for any sort of discourse, pets dwell at the bottom of the barrel–right on top of the weather.  I used to read Jon Carrell on a regular basis back when I had a two-hour commute, and every time he wrote a column on his cat I thought, “This poor guy had no idea what to write today.”  On the other hand, I enjoy reading posts about pets when they are particularly amusing and well-written, and I do have quite a few seriously deranged pet stories once I screw up the courage.  You may be dubious.  Here’s something to whet your palate:  Guess which dead pet I allowed my five-year-old to sleep with?

5.  Love.

This is a freaking intense topic.  And complicated.  Jim Goldberg made me create a book about love one time and it was absolute garbage.  An embarrassment.  Probably the worst thing I’ve ever written and photographed.  I think it is nearly impossible to try to capture love without seeming annoying or cloying.  Or cynical.  Love has been watered down for the masses into a Hallmark-y mess.  Love is not just the doey-eyed rantings of horny teenagers.  But still, I am a great believer.  And I am thankful that there are books out there like The Year of Magical Thinking and The Age of Grief that start to get it right.  I’m just not ready for the big time yet.

Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

8 thoughts on “5 topics I’m afraid to write about”

  1. That’s a good list. For me, I would add writing about Newt Gingrich. I have trouble remembering how to spell his last name and also, I wouldn’t want him to get mad at me. He seems like a guy who could cause you a lot of trouble if he got mad at you. Plus, what if he gets elected President?


  2. I had a severe case of writer’s block the other day. Thankfully this Post-A-Day thingie is helping me push through. My main problem is I’m inclined to write about things that require collecting a lot of knowledge. Then I end up getting overwhelmed. It’s all my own doing!


  3. Great list! Big topics scare the crap out of me – mostly because I dread getting replies that urge me to debate the validity of my position. My opinion is my opinion, I’ve spent a lot of time deciding why it’s mine, and just because someone else thinks they’ve got a better grasp of the world doesn’t mean I give a crap, or even want to talk it through. I grew up a staunch liberal in a very conservative area, and had my fill or irritating debates pretty early in life.

    So what was the pet? Can’t wait to find out…


    1. That sounds a bit familiar! How I survived high school with my political views more or less intact I have no idea. My classmates called me “commie!” There were many perks to growing up in the mid-West, but rational and engaging political discourse was not one of them.
      As for the pet…stay tuned:)


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