Fiction Prescription: Gagging the Self-Censor

Yesterday, I had this thought for my W-I-P that slapped up against a hard-and-fast "rule" I'd made for my own writing. "You can't possibly do that," I thought. "It'll be lame and hokey and... well, maybe perfect."

But the "lame-and-hokey" threat held me back, until I realized I was self-censoring. Then I did what I sometimes do when trying something that feels "risky." I created a separate file (I don't know why, but this gives my permission to try something completely different) and started fooling around with this idea in a commitment-phobic, no-strings manner.

Once I decided I had something (which took awhile; the first few attempts were flashing-neon awful) I copied and pasted the new sections into the manuscript. For now, I think they work and work well. Later, when I have a completed manuscript, I'll solicit opinions (from test readers and my editors), and either leave the sections in, edit, or remove them. But what I'm going to try hard not to do is self-censor before an idea even gets the chance to stretch its wings.

So today, I hope you'll try one thing in your writing that you would "never" do and see where it takes you. Try not to allow yourself to judge the effort or think of what anyone else might say. Just create.


Gillian Layne said…
What great advice! I hope your "hokey" idea works out beautifully :) I was worried myself about one of my love scenes, but now I think I'll try it out in it's own little it won't offend the rest of the story....;)
Suzan Harden said…
Love the picture, Colleen!

Yes, you definitely have to let each idea hatch. Whether or not it'll fly is a whole different problem. But you never know if your sitting on that golden egg until it does hatch.
Thanks, Gillian and Suzan! I think the world would be a much more creative and colorful place if we could stifle fear enough to stop putting limits on ourself.

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