Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The October 2021 Insecure Writer's Support Group contemplates boundaries in writing.

It is spooky October, and I have neighbors preparing for Halloween by lavishly decorating lawns and houses, and I have writer friends preparing for NanoWrimo in November. As for me? I'm doing neither of these things. What I am doing is putting up a blog post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Started originally by Alex J. Cavanaugh, best-selling science fiction author and guitar player, this monthly blogfest kicks off on the first Wednesday of every month. You can sign-up HERE if you like.

What is the purpose of the IWSG?: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

When do we post?: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

October 6 question - In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

My answer==> Thus far, I haven't drawn a line with either topics or language. However, that doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. My "boundary" as it were lies in things that I'm not interested in. So if a particular subject is of no interest to me, I won't write about it. And I distinguish this as being different from being "intolerant" of a particular subject or curse word. That's not it at all. It's just some things inspire no passion at all, even if I can summon the passion to speak or write about them in an eloquent matter.

For example, I recently met with a person who had conservative views, and I engaged with him conversationally and for some reason, he was impressed with my knowledge and the passion with which I spoke about politics. He followed up by asking if we could be friends and continue such discussions. The truth of the matter is that I know I'm very eloquent and well-informed, and I can summon the energy to be engaging every once in a while. But I honestly have no interest in talking or building any kind of relationship based on this kind of thing. What some mistake as "passion" in... "But you are so passionate about this particular thing..." is not passion at all. It's just the hallmark of being an intelligent person. That's what intelligence is.

I'd imagine that there are a lot of people who can talk eloquently and intelligently about a thing they have no interest in. A physicist at Los Alamos (for example), could probably say all kinds of things about the effects of radiation on materials under stress within the core of a nuclear reactor, and then follow it up with data and heavy math. But it would be wrong to say..."Oh! You are so PASSIONATE about this! Can we build a relationship around this and talk radiation all of the time!?" They might look at you and say, "Uh...I was answering a question. What I'm really passionate about is cooking, and in particular, Italian pasta dishes? So...yeah... if you want to talk meat sauce...then we totally should...."

For me, (ultimately) politics is boring and frustrating, filled with narcissists, entitled people, and incivility. So, I educate myself out of necessity. But I'm not passionate about it, and I don't want to meet to educate others or to share viewpoints. I've found this kind of thing to be absolutely pointless, as it doesn't move the needle anywhere. I already have one conservative friend that is in close orbit to me, and I've known them for 25 years. The only thing I've managed to do in all of that time with all of my wasted arguments was to convince him that women deserve equal pay to men if they are doing the same job. That's it. And now he takes ownership of that idea as if it originated with him (it did not). I haven't moved him left on anything. He doesn't believe minimum wage should be hiked, he doesn't believe in universal healthcare, he doesn't believe in science (covid isn't real!), he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman!," etc. Whatever. It's all pointless to even chat about this stuff. I think of dinosaurs marching off to their tar pits whenever he is around, and I find that I get way more fulfillment from discussions revolving around Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and nice restaurants.

So yeah...that's where my "fictional line" lies. If I'm not interested in it...then I don't write about it. Plain and simple. It's taken a long time (a lifetime I suppose) to get so laser-focused on what I like and dislike. I imagine there are people out there who struggle with this, and they have my sympathies. It must be terrible to get involved in an activity (like writing) and then discover that you don't like what you are doing and just participated in it because you are a people pleaser. Boundaries are great, and good for the soul. I'm also going to offer another piece of's okay to say no to people wanting you to read stuff. When people find out I'm a reader, they will sometimes say, "Oh! I just finished reading a book. You should read it!" And then they try to assign homework to you via a book they just read. It's okay to say, "No thank you. I have my own book list, and I read from that. However, if you find it fulfilling to assign homework to other people, might I suggest you do it on Facebook? I'm sure that you'll get some likes from people who want to be interested in the same things that you are. I'm just not one of them, but thanks for asking." Your reward for doing this will be that your free time is indeed yours to spend in doing whatever it is you like. You cannot be responsible for another person's happiness. That's just too much of a burden to shoulder in today's world.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. The rift is so big now, it is completely pointless. Politics is the last thing I'd want to talk about except with my wife.

  2. I had an entry about boundaries last week.

  3. I think it's good to set as a boundary not writing about things we're not interested in. We wouldn't do a good job at writing about it. And I try not to talk about politics these days too much.

  4. I hear you. It's so hard when you think you're having a conversation of mutual "hearing" and "speaking" only to find out they could care less where you stand. This year I finally decided to unload some baggage (people I thought were friends) because life is too short to continually put up with it. It was surprisingly easy to walk away since I was the only one trying to nurture the relationships by reaching out to them.

    Passion versus intelligence is a great topic too.

  5. Setting boundaries is something even I've done. I too avoid politics, neither do I write about it nor do I discuss it.

  6. I would hope people wouldn't write what they're not interested in, but I suppose that's naïve of me. It reminds me of this doc I watched. Can't remember which streamer it was on. It was about romance writers, and one of them clearly hated the books she wrote. By the end she had switched genres. I couldn't understand why she wrote romance when she looked down on it (for the money; the doc was about how these writers were making a lot of money at it).

  7. I rarely talk politics...especially with people I've just met. I haven't watched TV news in a long time. Everything is hyped, and I don't need that in my life.

  8. Yeah, I've gotten exhausted trying to have discussions about politics. Especially with people who suggest I should "go home" and that "my kind" have no say. Umm, I'm a Native American living on the same land my tribe occupied for thousands of years so... righty then.

    Blogger is giving me errors...

    Happy IWSG day.