When people tell you what to write about

not in control

When you write professionally, people will tell you what to write about all the time. You are getting paid to produce copy they specifically want. But when you blog and people tell you what to write about, you have the option to completely ignore them. Sure, they might stop reading, but if they don’t like and appreciate what you’re writing about, is it worth it to change your style or your topics, just to suit them? Β 

I have used my own blog as a therapeutic tool to sort through situations that trouble me. In writing, I tend to purge. I get it all out and then can go back and read the progress of sorting out a problem and perhaps changing my own life in a positive and healthy way and, if we are all lucky enough, the life of other readers too.

That is not a constant with me and I do tend to write about other topics.

A couple of years ago I was approached by a friend/reader and told that she was disturbed that I was fixating on a topic. My writing was not about her and wasn’t directed at her. At the time, I thought it had nothing at all to do with her. I listened to her grievances related to my writing anyway. She demanded (demanded, not asked) that I write about something else because she was “worried” about me. Really?Β She was supposed to be a friend, but instead of being a real friend, she opened up the “friend curtain” she had been hiding behind and showed her true self.

A friend might express concern about your subject and ask if you want to lean on them for support, but a friend will never demand that you write about something else, just to make them worry less. A friend doesn’t exhibit co-dependence when it comes to the topics on your blog. A friend that tries to control your writing voice and asks you to change the subject because it’s hurting them, is not in a healthy place. Beware. Your topics could be hitting a nerve that you don’t know you’re hitting and this could be a Red Flag waving to you.

I have another friend that has been reading my work for quite some time. She has seen all of the ups and downs and on occasion she and I have talked about topics I was writing about and why they bothered me. Not once has she ever demanded that I change the subject. Like a friend would, she gives me the creative self expression to make those decisions for myself and in my own time. She has never threatened to stop reading my blog if I didn’t change the subject. She has never once given me unsolicited advice about my topics. When she has expressed concern about my subjects, she does it like a friend would, but she has never tried to take control of my process.

Bloggers are unusual. They are writers, explorers, unique and adventurous. They are not bound by the traditional writing etiquettes that other writers follow. A blogger is just like the Wild West and their own little slice of the Interwebs is theirs to do with how they wish. They can write everyday, or they can stay dormant for months at a time. They can write about their trip to the supermarket, or they can write about serious political issues. They can be sarcastic, funny, genuine, thoughtful, poetic and sometimes they can be clueless, but at least they are out here having a say about something.

To try to control what a blogger writes about is tantamount to trying to make the wind change direction with a hand fan.

The next time someone tells you what to blog about, tell them what your hourly rate will be to write something just for them, and only for them. Remind them that your writing is something you are doing for yourself and they are under absolutely no obligation to read it if it becomes too painful (or boring) for them.

Have you ever been told to change the subject on your blog?

Exactly how did that work out?

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to When people tell you what to write about

  1. This happened to me as well ~ a family member who took umbrage to what I wrote as she recognized herself (even though it wasn’t about her). It’s caused a rift which has yet to mend as I don’t feel I need to apologize for what I write about nor what she wrongly interprets. Keep doing your own thing my friend. We support you! xo


  2. I love this!! The relationship between artist and creation is sacred- requiring no input from others.


    • Yes, it most certainly is. I don;t know if I would ever have the nerve to tell someone to change their topics and it always surprises me when someone tells me to. Now when anyone starts in that direction with me, I just smile and nod, smile and nod and think…wow, you got some issues that I don’t even wanna know about.


  3. Hi,
    I was never told to change my subject, however I understood my potential as a writer when someone else told me. I enjoy writing and I do it for my sake. I write about human rights related issues and people enjoy reading them…their appreciation keeps me going. Like your using my article as reference made me follow your blog..:D



  4. Pingback: Ahh…Resolution Bliss and the Post-Orgasmic sense of Blogging | kimberlyharding -soulhealingart.com

  5. vH says:

    Not exactly what I was expecting to read when I saw the pingback on my piece (thanks for that, by the way), but this is good. It hits hard, somewhere in my mind I know exactly what you’re talking about. Keep it up πŸ™‚



  6. sensoria300 says:

    This is a nice piece. Thanks for reminding me why I blog.


  7. In the beginning, I listened to a couple of people that actually demanded I change my topics, but after a while my own sense of self emerged and that part of me was like WTF? That’s when I stopped listening to the demands and started watching the person making them instead. What I have found to be true is the person really doesn’t like me. There is something about me that shifts them into control freak overdrive. That’s when I use my delete key πŸ™‚

    I love that you come here and read my little ramblings. Since you mention it, I do have a Feral Cat Update in my drafts folder. Maybe I’ll finish that one up this week and get it posted.


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