My in-laws are here (I'll pause to absorb the sympathy I know you're all shooting my way). They are very nice people. However, they drive me crazy. The reasons are many and various and should not be elaborated upon in a public forum - but I'm sure many of you can relate. So I have spent the last four days censoring myself.
Not an easy task! I'm extremely vocal, and equally blunt. Not having any children, I rarely need to watch what I say. But I'm 180 degrees from most of my in-laws opinions. It is fruitless to engage them in discussion on many of these issues, or argue with them about their complete lack of logic in their approach to many things, which drives me equally crazy. So I sit. Quietly. Biting - both metaphorically and in some cases physically - my lips. Luckily by Saturday night I discovered that a strong vodka tonic improves my tolerance substantially.
Thinking about my frustration led me to realize self-censorship has insidiously crept into my writing as well. Or at least, the threat of it, which I find harrowing enough. A few of my crit partners are less than enamored with one of my supporting characters in my WIP (Guys, this isn't a complaing - please keep your opinions coming!). The whole point of receiving critiques is to get feedback other than blatant self back patting. And goodness knows my partners have helped me catch some glaring characterization problems in the past, for which I am quite grateful. But over the past week, as the crits rolled in (along with more rejection letters, which decimated my confidence levels and opened me up to more doubt), they got to me. Every other time they'd complained about this character I considered it, then moved on, 100% sure of my choice in the character arc. This week I got stuck. Wondered if I should go back and redo the entire thing. Wondered if I should remove the secondary character, since my word count is inching higher than it should at this point. Stalled as I begin the next chapter where she is featured, unsure of how to progress. Why? I'd censored myself due to fear of fallout down the line.
I know better! Let the words flow. Write what you want, what you feel, and worry about it making marketing sense later. How many times have I ranted these words to other people? Doubt is a toxic emotion which only leads to a host of other problems down the line. So I'm kicking off the week (now in-law free!) with a vow the only thing I'll censor is my own doubt.