How Do You Write About A Difficult Topic?

by bdhesse

Different people respond differently to tough situations. But writing about a tough situation also leads to different responses. For me, I tend to barrel through them. I begin writing and don’t stop until I’m done. I avoid writing them until I can’t not write them anymore, and then I do them all at once. I hate editing them though. I hate editing in general, but those scenes are the hardest. I don’t want to have to read them, it was hard enough writing them.
I’ve heard John Green say that he cried all through the writing of The Fault in Our Stars. And I’ve read a quote along the lines of “if you don’t cry while writing emotional scenes, then they won’t have the proper depth.” But I’m not prone to crying. I express my emotions differently. So how do I know that my emotional bits have the intended impact? I don’t know, but I’m not sure it really matters.
How do you write about difficult topics? What’s your process? What do you think is necessary to get your message across? How do you know when you have enough depth?

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