Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Self Censoring

This isn't the post I was originally writing. That was going to be a thought on the way the amount of free stuff on the internet has effectively made not getting paid the default setting of writers the world over. But then I realised that it would probably come across as me whinging about people not giving me enough money, which wasn't really my intention, but would probably make me look bad anyway. (Incidentally, should anyone feel the uncontrollable urge to give me money at this point, I'm not arguing. No, I didn't think so.)

It's amazing the things we self censor. I almost deleted the bit in brackets there. I'm also struggling with the short story I mentioned a few days ago because I'm having a hard time writing it the way round that works while still squaring it with my feelings on hunting with dogs (which are that it is A: generally a rather cruel approach to pest control, and that B: it is particularly annoying when it scares my cat first thing in the morning). The problem seems to be the constant feeling that somebody reading it will react rather badly to it, leading me to alter things as I go.

Which is, of course, rather stupid. Practically everything that has ever been written will have been disliked or disagreed with by someone. Attempting to please everyone quickly degenerates into trying not to displease anyone, which in turn becomes writing nothing. But at the same time we are told to write with our audience in mind. So at what point does one become the other? Should we agonize over the potential for our writing/blogging/other work to annoy the audience? Have you ever started writing something and then changed your mind because of the reaction you suspected you'd get? Should I stop being such a weed about the whole thing?

(It occurs to me that, in my last few short stories, I've probably managed to offend security guards, personnel managers, recruitment people, practically everyone with a love of either Shelley or Wodehouse, pub landlords, actors and reality TV contestants. And you know what? I'm not going to apologise. I'm not. I'm absolutely... oh all right, sorry. But not about the reality TV.)

2 comments:

Thomas said...

Sometimes I need to self censor, I tend to be agressively opinionated.

Jodie said...

Absolutely find that I want to self-censor quite a bit of the time. I'm trying to get over it though, the posts I think may be objectionable seem to be the most popular.