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THAT DREADED CENSOR.... would love your advice!

Let me warn you. This post is gonna be all about me ranting about the dreaded censor... if you're a serious writer, you know what I'm talking about.

As one of my writing friends, Robert Masello puts it, 'before you can really get any book rolling, much less done, there's a fearsome beast you've just got to get past. It guards the gateway to any book, and snarls so fiercely that many writers pick up their heels and run for it. This beast represents a big problem, one that you have just got to come to terms with, because if you don't, your book will suffer for it. You'll be writing the whole thing while trying to look over your own shoulder, and that, I can tell you, is a surefire way to run smack into a tree.'
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Let me interject here. I've been trying really hard to keep the censor at bay. I've read the best way to write an auto-biography or memoir is to just write, to just let it all flow, then go back later for minor revisions and rewrites. That is the time to tweak the words, the sections, the pages into a real work of heart.
At times, it's so hard writing the story of your life. For the memories you share, are your memories, not necessarily the same memories of those you're writing about. You are writing your story.
I am writing my story. The way I saw things. The way I felt. How I survived. How I overcame. Some may not think I had much to overcome, but they weren't walking in my shoes at the time. How could they know? It's why I'm writing the book I'm writing.
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Let me share more from my friend, Robert.

'The censor is the nasty little voice that keeps whispering in your ear, "You can't say that.You'll hurt Harriet's feelings, " or "Better not include that scene, Uncle Ben will know who you're talking about," or "Sex? You're going to include sex? Your mother is going to be reading this book!"

The censor is the one that keeps pushing you away from your own experience, your own true feelings, in a futile attempt to render everything you write, so neutral, so unrecognizable, so foreign to your own real perceptions that not a soul you know, living or dead, could possibly take offense.
Am I prepared to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? - As I felt it, as I lived it, as I remember it?'
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The dreaded censor.
Writing a memoir is hard work.

I walk a fine line. A very fine line.
Do I write my book as I remember things, as I felt them?
Or do I write my book with the dreaded censor on my shoulder?

I struggle with this every day. Every day.
What are some of your thoughts out there? I welcome your views.

How would you write your memoir, if you were writing one?

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Writing a memoir is really bearing your soul for the whole world to see.
A memoir should be the truth, at least what you believe to be true.
If you change, omit or re-work something then you are denying the perceived truth for the sake of others feelings and the memoir stops being about memories and becomes a piece on illusions.
This is what I found when I began my book about my experiences just before I went to Vietnam.
How much of myself and how I truly felt did I want to reveal?
Who's toes were I going to step on and how hard was I going to step.
After struggling with the self-censorship issue for several years i decided to scrap that project.
I took events in my life and those of others around me as separate events and made up an alternative story line to those events.
Fictionalizing allowed me to not only tell my story, more or less, but also write an adventure/action piece in the genre of Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy.
Besides, with fiction, you get to make up what ever you want and not hurt anyones feelings.
I wish you luck in your endeavor.
Bonnie,

I know what you are talking about and wish you luck. I am working on two books and I constantly write articles. The content of them I edit myself but it is a matter of changing the details of what I am saying rather than censorship. I know with writing for newspapers which I would like to do someday that they may alter the article or column to meet their criteria. I like to be in control of what I say and not someone else. This is why I personally decide on what I am going to say and the details of how I am going to say it.

I wish you luck.
I refuse to censor. Lucky me. I do fiction but I've had independent publishers turn down manuscripts because of a minor bit of profanity when it was necessary to characterization. I was doing historical fiction and the famouse cowboy artist was a main character. He was vulgar in the extreme. I finally went to BookSurge and I'm so happy with them my book is BUFFALOED. A fun thing about art fraud in the early 1900s.
I write fiction, but I still worry about writing certain things, such as sex or sex crimes, thinking, my boss will read this and think I'm a pervert, or my mom will read this and be upset that I even think of such things. I have included everything I wanted and thought was necessary in my novel, but give myself permission to be embarrassed about those things I am uncomfortable with my mom, or my old aunt, or my boss, reading. Once I decided it was okay to be embarrassed about some things, I felt much better and had no problem including what I wanted in my work.
Were I writing another one, I would do as I did the first time. Bring the writer to the writing table, leave the editor and censor out of the loop, and bring the editor in when the writing is complete. The censor? Did not consult this miserable curmudgeon. Also, I kept in mind that how things REALLY happend is BOORING, so I forgot about real and wrote to the feelings and memories bringing in fiction as a steady application: the best way to tell the truth is through fiction. A story must be crafted despite what type or genre it is. The craft must stay at the forefront the entire time. With this in place, the rest follows naturally. Hope this helps!

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