Editing and censorship are two things that concern me as a writer. Here at WordPress our writing and blogging is not checked by an editor, there are no facts checkers. There is no one to make sure we fit within some established editorial guidelines, or send us back for rewrites if we go off the rails. We make our own editorial policy. We are our own editor and editorial staff. Any censorship does not come from authorities above, but from within.
If you have been following April’s Perspective for a while, you have stuck with me though some lean writing times. These lean times are often called writer’s block. This particular block was more thinking about what I want to write about and what I don’t want to write about, rather than an inability to think of anything to write about.
There have been many emotional things in the news. Politics, terrorists, violence of all kinds have created anger, frustration, and fear. With thoughts dominated by events and emotions I find it hard to know what to say. I try to take the reporter’s position of neutrality. I don’t want to be in the middle of every issue. Yet, I can not always avoid the urge to editorialize.
I have had personal concerns in addition to these worldly concerns. I am not sure which family members may be reading, and less sure about what their reactions will be if they are reading. On one hand, I long to share what I think with my family. On the other hand, I fear to be found wanting as a writer, and maybe even as a person. I fear that if I show too much of myself no one will be reading.
Writing has always been a way to explore my feelings. In a moment, I may rant and rave, and express extreme positions. Upon reflection, my feelings become more clear, and my words become refined as I learn what it is I really feel, and what I really wish to convey. This is editing. Editing is finding the best way to make an opinion clear for writer and reader. Editing is rooting out errors and perfecting the writing.
It is censorship to avoid writing something due to a fear of rejection. It is censorship to avoid writing, because you fear the ire of those who disagree. Censorship due to fear is the worst kind. It is not censorship by the government. It is not censorship by management, and higher-ups. It is self censorship.
Newspapers, magazines, news organizations of all kinds have people who do editorials. Editorials are a respected form of expression. People get paid for editorials, and base entire careers upon editorials. Editorials are collected in books, re-read, and studied. Not everyone is going to agree with an editorial. If someone does not disagree with an editorial, does it mean everyone is in agreement. If that is the case, don’t bother. Editorials are designed to provoke thought and discussion. Self-censorship halts both thought and discussion.
These are the thoughts I have had while not writing. These are the thoughts I have seen other writers and bloggers struggling with. I hope long time readers of my blog notice more fearless writing. I hope all of you will be more fearless writers.