Exploring Things That Are Difficult to Write About – A Guide

things that are difficult to write about

As writers, we often find ourselves tackling subjects that are challenging, uncomfortable, and even taboo. Writing about difficult topics can stir up powerful emotions and lead to a range of challenges, from writer’s block to potential criticism or backlash.

However, these topics are often crucial to explore and address, whether in journalism, personal essays, or fiction. In this guide, we will delve into the techniques, strategies, and resources to help writers navigate these challenges successfully.

From overcoming writer’s block to handling complex subjects and sensitive issues with care, we will provide practical tips and creative inspiration to help you tackle even the most difficult writing challenges.

Whether you are a seasoned writer looking to explore new terrain or a beginner seeking guidance, this guide is for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Writing about difficult subjects can be challenging, but it is often essential.
  • Overcoming writer’s block and finding inspiration is key to successful writing.
  • Research, empathy, and responsible representation are crucial when handling sensitive or controversial topics.
  • Techniques for simplifying complex ideas and conveying emotions through writing can enhance understanding and impact.
  • Finding your voice and engaging readers through storytelling and relatable characters or scenarios can create compelling writing.

Overcoming Writer’s Block and Finding Inspiration

Writer’s block can be a frustrating hurdle to overcome, especially when writing about difficult subjects. However, there are strategies to help you break through and find inspiration for challenging topics. Here are some tips:

Tip #1: Freewrite

If you’re struggling to get started, try freewriting. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write continuously without worrying about grammar, spelling, or structure. The goal is to get your ideas flowing without any restrictions. Freewriting can help you uncover new ideas or perspectives on difficult topics.

Tip #2: Change Your Environment

Sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for writer’s block. If you usually write at home, try going to a coffee shop, park, or library. The new environment can stimulate your creativity and help you see things from a different perspective.

Tip #3: Take a Break

When you’re feeling stuck, taking a break can be a valuable way to refresh your mind. Go for a walk, do some yoga, or meditate. Physical activity can help alleviate stress and increase blood flow to your brain, giving you a fresh perspective when you return to your writing.

Tip #4: Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a structured approach to generating ideas. Start with a central idea or keyword related to your difficult subject and write down as many related words or phrases as possible. Then, use these ideas to create an outline or mind map for your writing.

Tip #5: Research Other Writers

Reading the work of other writers who tackle difficult subjects can be inspiring and motivating. It can also give you a sense of what works and what doesn’t in writing about challenging topics. Look for writers who specialize in your subject matter and study their techniques and style.

In summary, overcoming writer’s block and finding inspiration for difficult writing is possible with these strategies. Try freewriting, change your environment, take a break, brainstorm, and research other writers. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.

Tackling Sensitive Topics with Care

tackling sensitive topics in writing

Writing about sensitive or controversial topics can be a daunting task for writers. It is essential to approach these subjects with care and sensitivity to avoid causing harm or reinforcing harmful stereotypes.

One tip for writing about controversial issues is to conduct thorough research and gain a deep understanding of various perspectives related to the topic. This research can help writers develop a nuanced and informed perspective, which can be reflected in their writing.

Another strategy is to be empathetic and respectful when addressing sensitive topics. Writers should strive to avoid language that is offensive or dismissive of the experiences of others. Instead, they should aim to be inclusive and acknowledge the diverse experiences of people related to the topic at hand.

“Writers should strive to avoid language that is offensive or dismissive of the experiences of others.”

It can also be useful to consult with individuals who have firsthand experience with the subject matter. For example, if writing about mental health issues, reach out to individuals who have dealt with these issues to gain a better understanding of their experiences and perspectives.

When writing about sensitive topics, it is also important to be aware of potential criticism and backlash. However, a writer’s responsibility is to communicate their ideas authentically and respectfully, rather than avoiding difficult subjects altogether.

Ultimately, writers should approach sensitive topics with care, empathy, and a commitment to responsible representation. By doing so, they can create impactful writing that contributes positively to the discourse surrounding these challenging issues.

Writing About Complex Subjects

how to write about complex subjects

Writing about complex subjects requires a thoughtful approach to simplify the message. It is essential to break down complex ideas and present them in a clear and engaging way. Here are some tips on how to handle difficult subject matter in writing.

Define Your Purpose

Before beginning to write, determine the purpose of your piece. Are you attempting to provide an in-depth analysis, or are you simplifying complex ideas for a broader audience? This will help you tailor your writing style to the intended reader.

Organize Your Thoughts

Structure your ideas coherently. Use a plan or an outline to organize your writing. This approach will help you present your thoughts and ideas in a logical, easy-to-follow sequence. When explaining complex subjects, it’s important to start with a simple concept and build on it as your piece progresses.

Include Relevant Examples

Explain complex concepts with relevant, real-world examples. This approach will help readers grasp difficult ideas more easily and relate them to their lived experiences. Use vivid descriptions and storytelling to make your writing more engaging and memorable for your readers.

Use Simple Language

Avoid jargon and technical terms that may confuse your audience. Keep your language simple and easy to understand. Explain any terms or concepts that may not be familiar to your readers. Consider using metaphors or analogies to illustrate complex ideas and make them more straightforward.

The Benefits of Simplifying Your WritingThe Risks of Overcomplicating Your Writing
Appealing to a broader audienceReaders losing interest in your writing
Increased readability and comprehensionMisunderstanding or misinterpreting your message
Building trust with your readersComing across as pretentious or condescending

Simplifying complex subjects in your writing can benefit your readers and strengthen your message. However, overcomplicating your writing can have the opposite effect, leading to a loss of readership and trust in your credibility. It’s essential to strike a balance and tailor your writing to your intended audience.

“The greater the complexity, the more rigorous the approach should be.”

– James Dyson

Writing about complex subjects requires a diligent approach. By following these tips, you can present complex ideas in an engaging, comprehensible way.

Expressing Difficult Emotions Through Writing

techniques for writing about difficult emotions

Writing about difficult emotions can be a challenging but impactful experience for both the writer and reader. Emotions such as grief, trauma, and heartbreak can be overwhelming and complex, making it difficult to put them into words that truly convey their intensity. However, with the right techniques and strategies, it is possible to effectively express difficult emotions through writing.

One effective technique for writing about emotions is the use of descriptive language. Choosing specific words and phrases that capture the essence of the emotion can help the reader understand and connect with the writer’s experience. For example, instead of simply saying “I felt sad,” the writer could describe their emotions in more detail, such as “I felt a heavy weight in my chest, my eyes were swollen from crying, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat or sleep.”

Another powerful technique for expressing difficult emotions is the use of metaphors. Comparing the emotion to a tangible object or experience can help provide a clearer understanding of what the writer is feeling. For example, someone experiencing grief might compare it to a never-ending storm, while another individual might describe their anxiety as a constant knot in their stomach.

“Writing is an escape from a world that crowds me. I like being alone in a room. It’s almost a form of meditation- an investigation of my own life. It has nothing to do with ‘I’ve got to get a plot or ‘I’ve got to get this character through.'”

-John Irving

Storytelling is also a valuable tool for expressing difficult emotions through writing. When readers can connect with a character or scenario, they are more likely to empathize with the emotions being conveyed. Creating vivid scenes and engaging characters can help bring the emotional experience to life and make it more relatable for the reader.

When writing about sensitive emotions, it is also important to take care of yourself. It can be emotionally taxing to delve into difficult experiences, so taking breaks when necessary and seeking support from loved ones can help with the writing process. Additionally, journaling or other forms of self-reflection can be helpful in processing emotions and gaining a better understanding of them.

Overall, expressing difficult emotions through writing is a powerful tool for healing and connection. By utilizing techniques such as descriptive language, metaphors, and storytelling, writers can effectively convey the intensity of their emotions in a way that resonates with readers.

Addressing Taboo Topics in Writing

Strategies for addressing taboo topics in writing

Writing about taboo subjects can be challenging, but it is essential to address these topics to promote understanding and awareness. Here are some strategies to help you tackle taboo topics in your writing:

  1. Research extensively: Before writing about a taboo topic, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research to understand the topic and its complexities. Use reputable sources and consult experts to ensure accuracy and credibility in your writing.
  2. Approach with empathy: When writing about sensitive subjects, it’s essential to approach them with empathy and an open mind. Consider different perspectives and experiences to ensure your writing is respectful and inclusive.
  3. Use responsible language: When discussing taboo topics, it’s crucial to choose your language carefully. Avoid using offensive or derogatory terms and prioritize inclusive language. Think about the impact your words may have on your audience and strive to be respectful at all times.
  4. Consider your audience: When writing about taboo topics, it’s important to consider your audience’s potential reactions and emotions. Think about how you can present the information in a way that your audience can relate to and understand while being respectful of differing viewpoints.
  5. Seek feedback: Consider seeking feedback from individuals who are familiar with the taboo topic you are writing about. Their insight and perspective can help you ensure that your writing is sensitive, respectful, and accurate.

By utilizing these strategies and taking a thoughtful and empathetic approach to writing about taboo topics, you can effectively address these difficult subjects in your writing.

Finding Your Voice in Difficult Writing

Overcoming writer's block image

Developing a unique voice is essential in all forms of writing, including difficult subjects. However, when faced with writer’s block or tackling sensitive topics, finding your voice can feel daunting.

One strategy to overcome writer’s block is to let go of the idea of a “perfect” piece of writing. Instead, focus on putting your authentic thoughts and emotions onto the page. Don’t worry about editing or structure in the first draft. Just write what comes to mind and get your ideas flowing.

Another way to find your voice is to draw on personal experiences. Connect with the emotions and experiences that inspire you to write about difficult subjects. Use your unique perspective to share insights and ideas that no one else can offer.

You can also experiment with different writing styles and techniques. Play with language, metaphor, and storytelling to find the voice that feels most authentic to you. Try writing in different genres or formats to stretch your creativity and explore new ways to express yourself.

Finally, seek inspiration from other writers. Read works that tackle similar subjects and examine their approaches to voice, tone, and style. Join writing communities or workshops and learn from other writers’ experiences with writer’s block and finding their voice.

Overcoming writer’s block and finding your authentic voice takes time and practice. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to develop. Keep writing, experimenting, and exploring new ideas.

Remember: Your voice matters. It’s what makes your writing unique and captivating, especially when dealing with difficult subjects.

Strategies for Researching Difficult Topics

writing challenges keyword

Researching challenging topics is a crucial part of writing about difficult subjects. It helps writers to develop a thorough understanding of the topic and present accurate information to readers. Here are some effective strategies for conducting research on such topics:

1. Use Reliable Sources

When conducting research, it is essential to use reliable and trustworthy sources. These may include academic publications, peer-reviewed journals, and government reports. Avoid relying solely on internet searches, as this can lead to inaccurate or biased information.

2. Conduct In-Depth Interviews

Interviews can be a valuable tool for gaining insights into challenging topics. Reach out to experts in the field or individuals with first-hand experience to get a deeper understanding of the subject.

3. Engage in Field Research

Field research involves firsthand observation and data collection in the real world. This may include visiting relevant locations, attending events, and conducting surveys. It can provide unique and valuable insights into the topic.

4. Fact-Check Your Information

It is crucial to fact-check all information presented in your writing about challenging topics. This includes statistics, quotes, and historical events. Fact-checking can help ensure accuracy and credibility in your writing.

5. Be Aware of Biases

When researching difficult subjects, it is important to be aware of your own biases. This can help you to approach the subject with a more open mind and maintain objectivity in your writing.

Researching challenging topics can be daunting, but by following these strategies, writers can develop a deep understanding of the subject and present accurate, informed information to readers.

Effective Communication and Engaging Readers

tackling sensitive topics in writing

When it comes to writing about difficult subjects, effective communication and engagement are key. It’s essential to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely to connect with readers and ensure your message is conveyed accurately.

To engage readers, your writing must be compelling and relatable. You can achieve this by incorporating stories or characters that readers can identify with, drawing them into your world and leaving a lasting impression. Additionally, using descriptive language and metaphors can evoke powerful emotions, helping readers connect with your writing on a deeper level.

However, when tackling sensitive topics in writing, it’s important to remain respectful and considerate of your readers’ perspectives. This requires an empathetic approach, taking the time to understand and appreciate differing viewpoints to avoid alienating your audience.

By utilizing effective communication strategies and engaging readers through relatable content and emotional storytelling, you can create impactful and meaningful writing on even the most difficult subjects.

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E.L. Doctorow


Writing about difficult subjects can be a daunting task for any writer. However, it is essential to tackle these challenging topics to create meaningful and impactful writing. Throughout this guide, we have explored the various writing challenges that arise when addressing difficult subjects. We have also provided topic ideas for difficult writing and strategies to overcome writer’s block, conduct research, and communicate effectively with your audience.

Remember that finding your voice and expressing authentic emotions can make your writing more relatable and compelling. It is also important to approach sensitive topics with care, conducting thorough research and representing different perspectives responsibly.

By utilizing the tools and techniques discussed in this guide, you can successfully write about things that are difficult to write about, and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Keep challenging yourself and embracing new topics, and you will find that your writing flourishes.


What are some strategies for overcoming writer’s block?

To overcome writer’s block, try taking a break and engaging in activities that inspire you. You can also experiment with different writing techniques, create a writing schedule, or seek inspiration from other sources like books, movies, or conversations.

How can I approach sensitive or controversial topics in my writing?

When writing about sensitive or controversial topics, it’s essential to approach them with care and respect. Conduct thorough research, consider different perspectives, and be open to feedback. Use language that is respectful and avoid making generalizations or assumptions.

How can I simplify complex subjects in my writing?

Simplifying complex subjects can be achieved by breaking down the information into smaller, more manageable parts. Use clear and concise language, provide relevant examples, and organize the information in a logical manner. Consider your audience’s level of knowledge and adjust your writing accordingly.

What techniques can I use to convey difficult emotions through writing?

To effectively convey difficult emotions, try using descriptive language to paint a vivid picture for your readers. Metaphors and similes can help create powerful imagery, and storytelling techniques can make emotional connections with your audience. Be authentic and honest in expressing your emotions.

How do I address taboo topics in my writing?

When addressing taboo topics, it’s important to approach them with empathy and responsibility. Conduct thorough research, seek diverse perspectives, and consider the potential impact of your words. Strive for respectful and nuanced representations that challenge stereotypes and promote understanding.

How can I find my unique voice when writing about difficult subjects?

Finding your unique voice involves connecting with your own experiences and emotions. Be authentic, vulnerable, and share personal insights. Experiment with different writing styles and techniques to discover what resonates with you and your audience.

What are some effective research strategies for difficult topics?

When researching difficult topics, utilize reliable sources such as academic journals, reputable websites, and expert interviews. Take notes, organize your findings, and fact-check information to ensure accuracy. It may also be helpful to consult librarians or subject matter experts for guidance.

How can I engage readers and communicate effectively?

To engage readers and communicate effectively, focus on clarity and storytelling. Make your writing relatable by using real-life scenarios or relatable characters. Create a connection with your audience by addressing their concerns, emotions, and interests. Incorporate compelling anecdotes, examples, and dialogue.

Why is it important to write about difficult subjects?

Writing about difficult subjects allows for personal growth, creates opportunities for dialogue, and contributes to social awareness. By addressing challenging topics, you can inspire change, advocate for marginalized communities, and encourage empathy and understanding.

How can I find topic ideas for writing about difficult subjects?

Topic ideas for difficult writing can come from personal experiences, current events, social issues, or research. Stay informed about relevant topics, engage in discussions, and seek inspiration from other forms of media. Reflect on your passions and values to uncover meaningful subjects to explore.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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