Transcending the Censor

Writing isn’t so difficult.  But getting the mental censor out of the way can be.  I love Dorothy Parker’s way of expressing it.  “I hate writing, but I love having written.”  This presents the dilemma that many of us feel.  As a full time writer I have to get over it.  When I sit down with a deadline, whether I love the subject matter or not, I’ve still got to get the job done.  Writing is like any other job.  Have you ever heard of anyone getting bricklayer’s block?  Or what about nurse’s block or CEO’s block?  You have to just get past the obstacles and get on with it. 


When you get a spark of inspiration for an idea, it’s accompanied with an energy – call it enthusiasm, creativity or whatever.  It rises up inside and you feel revved up and ready to run to the page.  But the mind butts in and the inner dialogue starts like this:   Censor:  “Do you really want to put that on the page?”  Your muse:  “Yes, it’s a great idea.”  Censor:  “Are you sure about that?”   Muse:  “Well yes.  It feels right.  I’m energized.  I love the idea.”  Censor:  “Oh you do do you.  But you know that’s been done before.”  Muse:  “But not like I intend to do it.”   Censor:  “Well you won’t do it as well.”   Muse:  “You think not?”  (Here the muse begins to listen to the censor even before putting a word on the page.)  Censor:  You might as well forget it.  Besides I’m tired.  I’d rather watch TV.”  Muse: “Well, maybe you’re right.  I can do it later.  I’m feeling tired too.”  And the spark of inspiration is lost to inertia and eternity.


What if the next time this happens you simply ignore the censor?  It will continue to chatter and give you all kinds of ideas that will probably not be constructive.  Let it chatter.  Sit down and just write.  Stick to your purpose and write on.  In the process the chatter will fade out and the creative ideas will flow in.  The censor can come in later when you’re ready to edit and rewrite, but not now.  Not yet.  If you don’t sit down and put words on the page, you’ll not have anything to work with later.  Just realize this is a natural part of the process.  By creating a routine where you make space for writing, the words will come and writing will transform into a sort of meditation.


Happy writing!

Copyright, Debra Moffitt, 2009.



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