12 reasons writers censor their writing

Should writers avoid certain topics and language to avoid offending their readers, or does that take the spice out of the craft? One writer weighs in.

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At the very worst, writing can be bland without a strong voice to hold it together. We may have self-censored to the point that the public will reject the product because it’s boring. This is not good for personal or business writing.

Why do writers self-censor?

Like any form of editing, what you choose to leave in or out is deliberate. Even if you are in the wrong, have the courage to acknowledge it. Don’t bury the story, but respond and take responsibility. Own whatever you choose to publish.

Here are some of the reasons why I feel writers self-censor.

1. To not offend.

I think this is No. 1. We are so afraid to offend anyone that we dull the impact of our words. This is a real turn off for readers who cannot get emotionally involved with the story.

2. To remain anonymous.

A writer may self-censor to hide names or locations. If the information comes from an informant, this would be to protect him. Or maybe you want to make it harder for a reader to physically stalk you. This is something you should consider, especially if you blog.

3. To avoid a misunderstanding.

I often worry about the conclusions someone might draw from my writing. But as the author, you have little control over how someone interprets your work.

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