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How to Write: Week 22: Self-Censorship & Intention: Sunday (Philosophy)

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    Self-censorship can drive off a muse as fast as any personally taken critique.  If you hold yourself back from saying something necessary you risk clogging your creative juices.  Even if you never share the piece, the not expressing can do a lot of damage.
    Remember, you are never obligated to share a piece with anyone, but your duty as an artist is to express yourself honestly and completely.
    If you have written something which might hurt someone don’t actively seek that person, but don’t be coaxed into withholding your expression by the fear of someone finding it.  Parents and significant others are notorious for snooping.
    Be upfront and honest about asking them not to snoop or if they see your work not to overreact.  You are an artist with complex feelings, you need to have the freedom to express the feelings so you can release the tension associated with them.  You are also not responsible for their reaction to your work.  If you wrote honestly with no intention of hurting them then the person or audience was offended that is not your fault, although more often than not you will be blamed.  it is often easier to remove the piece from public consumption than fight against the masses.  Do this without judgment and without remorse.  You have enough problems without alienating everyone.  As long as you honestly expressed yourself without hurtful intention you have done right.
    Just like self-censorship is something only you know if you are doing for sure, intention is all based in your heart and mind.  You know if your intentions are purely based on expression or for hurtful purposes.  You can say you wrote something with balance in mind and convince everyone around you, but if you are untruthful, you will know it and it will hurt your creativity.
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Azriel Johnson is an inkspatter analyst by day and a serial writer by night. He runs a small, not money losing publishing press and a weekly open mic with monthly features called Writing Knights Press.

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