You may notice that I am swearing more in my blog posts, because I totally am! And what a relief. Let me tell you why. I am pretty sure you can relate to this self-censoring bullcrap I am about to share with you.
As a person, I swear occasionally. I don’t drop the F-bomb every other sentence, but there are moments when I do. Not out of anger (unless I banged my toe against the sharp corners of my bed, then yes, F-bomb blitzkrieg accompanied by tearful moans). Swearing isn’t really my way of venting. I swear, well, because it’s fun. It adds humour to the message I am trying to convey. The sharp, snappy add-on–the verbal lunch of the collective frustrations of mankind all packed into one word. Shit Fuck. It’s really funny. Not to mention sometimes it can be the best punchline ever. Or at least, it adds spice to your punchline.
But most importantly, it’s part of my vocabulary and part of the language of my creative self-expression. In short, I just swear.
I know a lot of writers out there will say, but swearing! A lot of spiritual wayfarers will also cover their ears and go, but swearing! It lowers the quality of your writing. It shows that you don’t have the proper vocabulary to express your ideas in an elegant way. Or it lowers your soul’s vibrations. It lowers your class.
I’m not saying those things don’t happen, but I think what it comes down to is your intentions behind these, uh, “foul languages”.
When it comes to writing, I have to live with my inner critic. Don’t we all!? And well, my inner critic is superbly critical of me, since it’s her job to be mean. Sometimes I find myself staring at the phrases like “fucking hell” or “shit bomb” and fighting an internal war as I suspend my index finger over the backspace button. Yes, I worry about the quality of my writing…I worry about not sounding intellectual enough…I worry about coming across as too crass or mundane…I worry about how I project myself forward through my writing. Would my language offend somebody? Would it be too much? Would it be enough? Would this be what I truly want to send off to internet-land for it to exist forever and ever and ever?
Who cares. It’s your writing. You can do whatever you want.
But. What if–?
Man. So much trouble just over a few tiny swear words. On top of that, I worry about “not sounding eloquent enough” or “Am I pumping out enough quirky figurative languages to express my personality?” or “Is this humour appropriate…would people get my goofy fun-feels?” And if you go deeper into my mental control centre, you will see a frantic Asian girl pulling her hair out and grinding her teeth: Personal branding. Unique voice. Creative expression. Must. Have. Everything. Image. View counts. Numbers. More blogger problems.
So much SHIT going on in my head over one blog post!! What ends up happening is nearly always a lifeless piece of writing carved from a perfectly shaped word-marble into a perfectly shaped representation of my ideas devoid of any personality whatsoever. It’s not that bad, but it’s kind of that bad. I look at all my blog posts: the ones that I write in the spur of a moment, in a flash of creative outburst, like the ones I feel like writing fifteen minutes before I go to bed…the ones in which I really let go and just immerse in the moment, a singular moment in which I am creating something. I am shaping my ideas into form, into words. That’s all I am doing.
Those are, surprisingly and not surprisingly, the blog posts that get the most likes and view counts. Those blog posts are some of my best work. Interesting, right? Not really. I think people respond to authenticity. They respond to your raw spirit because they can feel it in your writing. When you don’t swim in the whirlpool of your self-consciousness, the words that pour out of you are the true genuine stuff. They bend and shine and ripple. They are an organic creation of who you are as a person and embody the ideas that you have the way a flower embodies its special scent. It just is. It’s just you, your words, in a blog post, uncensored, untouched by unrealistic (or realistic?) expectations and far from the reach of your inner critic. Nope, your inner critic totally did not get a chance to wreak havoc across your creative landscape that day. Hip hip hooray. I guess my Muse keeps it away.
Self-censoring is tiring. And self-editing. (Now now, a good dose of editing is never a bad thing. I’m talking about editing your words until they’re not your own anymore.) Just let the words flow. At least in your first draft, don’t change the words you have chosen. Stop worrying about if it’s too easy or not complex enough to convey your sophisticated ideas. When your ideas call for that kind of language, trust me, those are the words that will flow in your creative river of consciousness. The language that you learned will always be there at your disposal, but certain ideas or expressions call for certain language…like it’ll be weird if you bust out a hardcore hip hop twerk move as soon as orchestral swan lake starts itself with the strings, right?
I mean, who knows, that could be your jam, but I’m just saying certain music carry certain moods, and those moods will in turn inspire and pull out dance moves that match those vibes. This is exactly like writing. Sometimes you have to trust your creative process and tell your inner critic or your rational brain to STFU (a.k.a. shut the fuck up).
You have to let the words flow, and
as they are.