Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I did it twice. For the year and two months that I have been blogging, I have censored myself twice in two different posts. It has nothing to do with bad language (there is a time and a place for everything - and I have dropped a few, #**$&%%##!%%^!!, once in a while.) My censoring has to do with content.

Now, I can admit that I have done sexual content before (in good taste). I have also done a little violent content (nothing too gruesome). Yet I have written posts where I had created a story, a full story with each element furthering the plot and explaining something in-depth, only to edit a section out.

My question to everyone today is this. How much of your personal life do you post?

This has been bugging me since two Fridays ago when I posted my “Things still go bump in the night.” I had a section in the beginning that explained why I did not tell anyone about hearing the strange music. It explained why I had the courage to push myself into going up into the scary furnace room and attic that I still have nightmares about even now.

I edited it out. It was not to make the post shorter. That would be too easy an answer and I would just be deluding myself. Yet it also was not because I might have been embarrassed about the section. I’m not embarrassed by it.

But would it have embarrassed other people?

It is possible. And while I usually like put in as much detail as I can into a story, I suppose my evil curses, a.k.a my good-nature and conscience, will not allow me to do this.

Damn it!

Do you believe this is a failing for a person who wants to become a good writer? Do you believe such censoring is a handicap that will cripple a person to the point that they will never push the boundaries of their writing into those places where they must tread to create a telling story? Or do you believe that there is a time and a place for everything?


  1. I think if you are investing yourself fully in something... its personal, whether you are writing about yourself or not.

    also, your "evil curses" are a part of who you are. I wouldn't worry too much about second thoughts. Its human and keeps life interesting.

    and how much about myself do i blog? sometimes not so much! but its a different sort of blog (not sure what it is sometimes.) and that i'm struggling with employment bores the crap out of me and i would never inflict that on a reader!

  2. I do censor myself, believe it or not, for love of readers. :)

    BUT, if I'm writing fiction not for the blog, I try to dig deep as possible. Like Hemingway said, "Write one true sentence." Isn't that what we want to read? The nitty gritty.

  3. THere are things I don't blog about that are personal...maybe I just don't want everyone to have every little piece of me, or maybe it's something I don't want to think about anymore myself, or maybe it would embarrass someone else, or maybe it would just be too revealing a thing to post about...etc etc etc!

    ....in my writing, some secrets are revealed, but who would know those things that are mine and are only my characters or when they blur together?

    What i have learned is if it makes me feel uncomfortable, I probably shouldn't put it there, or at least think twice about it - because there's a reason for that hesitation.

    In other words, What Angie Said *laugh*

  4. I think everybody self-censors; some to a greater degree than others. It may seem that I don't, but I certainly do. I do, on occasion, amaze myself with what I do put out there, though :-)

    My opinion: As long as you're willing to give nothing but truth within a piece, what you leave out of the piece is up to you.

  5. I believe that it is up to me, how much I want to reveal about myself in my writing here or otherwise. We are all different and we have different needs, concerning the art of expression, whether it is by writing, painting, creating music or dance. Therefore only we know how far we dare to go.
    I think you should not let the notion "of what others think", hold you back. Writing is art in which you should feel uninhibited.
    With that said though, you are the one that has to be comfortable with what you put out for others to read. If what they think (or might think) bothers you, you probably have not reach a certain comfort zone yet.;))
    I do not believe that censoring yourself will hold you back in any way or prevent you from evolving in your writing. We do censor ourselves in other aspect of our life at all times. It only shows sensitivity and concern about those around us.;)

  6. Thanks for the two-cents everyone. I just wanted to get other opinions on how I should handle this topic in the future. I usually know how much to post, but sometimes when I am writing fiction I just let myself go and put in the nitty-gritty. Then I see the double-standard on my blog and wonder if I am hurting my writing here by censoring too much.

  7. It's different writing fiction than it is writing a personal non-fiction piece. The censorship is for a different reason - and, for my two cents, I don't think anyone has a right to judge what the author is willing to bring in or leave out from their life. Just because we're writers doesn't mean we leave off our right to privacy.

    In fiction, you have the character, who is a buffer for anything you might have used from life... you can choose to divulge the similiarities or not, all that really counts is that the fiction resonated.

    I generally post things about one section of my life - the writing part. I do diverge into things about being a parent or other things that draw my attention, and as I get more comfortable with my core group of blogging buddies, I tend to divulge other things that are a bit personal... at the same time, though, I don't use my children's names, don't mention where exactly I live - I'm mindful that it's an open forum and you never really know who is reading it... and too, I've tried to stay away from telling stories that involve other people because you never know what's going to upset someone.

    Great post, Michelle.

  8. It's an interesting question. I wonder ... how would our writing change if we had no readers?

    Anything I write, personal or otherwise, has to focus on the subject. For me, that regulates how personal the writing can be.

    Great question ... I'll have to consider it a bit more!

    Small Footprints

  9. You asked about Kitchen Bouquet in my recipe today. Here's some linkage: http://www.recipezaar.com/library/getentry.zsp?id=641

  10. This is hard. There have been a couple of times where I have told a story to give an example of something on my blog (like the guy who didn't think we need to be inclusive about holidays) and I try to hide the identity either by gender or other details. But if the actual person saw it, he would recognize himself. So if I think there is a chance the person involved would read the blog, I would leave it out so as not to hurt or humiliate that person. Same if I thought other people would recognize the person.

  11. Censoring yourself is a commom occurence. I have learned to play it slow and easy when working on a talk or an article. All of these are for specific audiences and any extra is either left out or taken out.
    Kitchen Bouquet is some magical stuff.

  12. Great insights! I do have to consider the type of blog this is, or isn't, and what topics I post. I think this might be the reason I've been asking myself this question. I write about everything and nothing here, which leaves me open to self-doubt on what is the right avenue to take.

    *Thanks for the link about Kitchen Bouquet!*

  13. My question to everyone today is this. How much of your personal life do you post?

    I can't give you a percentage, but it's significant. I draw the line at things that may hurt others, directly or indirectly, though. Example: I keep most of the negative thoughts about my ex-wives to myself. I also tend not to discuss various past indiscretions and/or illicit behaviors on MY part, but not ALL of 'em.

    Or do you believe that there is a time and a place for everything?

    In a word: yes.

  14. don't censor, ever... pretend it's ALL fiction, cuz only YOU know, fur shur :O lol

  15. Laughingwolf: I will do that! ;-)


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