It’s Not Always Easy To Write From Vulnerability

Exposing Your Personal Situations To Scrutiny Isn’t For Everyone

P.G. Barnett
Feb 4, 2020 · 5 min read

In the artistic world of photography, the word exposure is a common and acceptable technical term of the trade. In the world of streaking or flashing, I suppose maybe “exposure” is also adequate, just not as professional.

As a writer, pulling open our trench coats and exposing our innards to the world is something a lot of us would rather not do.

First off, it’s hard to do, really hard to do. For several reasons, none the least being that no one enjoys the feeling of utter and total helplessness after one has pushed the publish button. The tiny veil of protection draped over that gaping wound has just been ripped away.

No one I know enjoys being on the receiving end of downright mean-spirited viciousness, ugly remarks of disdain and disapproval a lot of people are capable of.

And yet, writing from a place of vulnerability paints a full target on the writer for everyone who’s of the mind to shoot.

What’s zany about this type of writing is that an excellent vulnerable writer is perfectly willing to expose themselves to these emotional attacks.

They’ve learned to expect the snarky putdowns, the mansplaining, and the harsh personal criticisms. They’ve learned full well to expect an attack on their gender, their sexual preferences, the color of their skin and their religion.

And yet, they continue to write and publish, ripping open their souls and laying it out on display for the entire world to see.

Why in the h*ll do they do this?

Not all of us are capable of writing in such a fashion. Very few of us have the intestinal fortitude to do it every freaking day. I’ll tell you right now. There is no way in h*ll I can. And I’m always amazed and awed at the powerful messages these writers are capable of sending.

They understand that exposing what’s usually hidden by the curtain, so to speak, will undoubtedly help them. I don’t think any writer who bathes in the water of vulnerability believes it’s a magical cure-all that will reverse a physical or mental predicament.

I don’t know, maybe they do. Perhaps we all should.

I believe miracles happen every day. Don’t you?

I’m certainly not an expert in the field of psychology, in fact, far from it. What I’m talking to you folks about today should in no way be construed as advice.

Besides, most advice is like an a*shole. Everybody has one and most stink. The thing to understand here is that most writers such as these aren’t asking for advice anyway.

Vulnerable writing has sometimes been called “confessional” in nature, but somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. When I think of confession, I envision a church, a booth, and being instructed to say plenty of hail Marys and take a bath in holy water.

What?

Okay, yeah, I was that much of a wild child way back when. Oh, and my family was Protestant, so I’m just spitballing here.

But the point is I don’t believe most writers who write from a place of vulnerability are “confessing” as much as they are “exposing”.

I believe they are exposing things which life, in general, has forced them to hide for so many years. I think they’re revealing demons they’ve fought personal battles with and are just now strong enough to talk about it.

And a lot of trolls out there are sitting around waiting for them, just waiting for one of these types of writers to expose a tiny chink in their armor so they can spew their vitriol.

So they can make themselves feel superior by attempting to squash the ever-loving sh*t out of another Human being. They’re quite happy to attack a Human who is just trying to make some sense out of this insane world of ours.

And they don’t care one bit.

Although the crap most of these troglodytes spew is spiteful and stings the h*ll out of the writer, they take it because they’re used to taking it, and say, “Is that all you got you piece of s*it?”

I have the utmost respect and admiration for a writer who is perfectly willing to open themselves up and let the entire world dance right in. In my mind, they are courageous and brave, sensitive, and caring, and maybe even the most misunderstood type of writers out there.

I know for a very long time I didn’t understand why they wrote from those very personal places, but I think I do now.

If you are a writer attempting to open your soul for the very first time, or you’re one who has many times suffered the indignation of callous attacks on your writing, my hat is off to you.

Peace And Love,

P.G.

Thank You So Much For Reading

Let’s keep in touch: paul@pgbarnett.com

© P.G. Barnett, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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P.G. Barnett

Written by

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +773K people. Follow to join our community.

P.G. Barnett

Written by

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +773K people. Follow to join our community.

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