Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fight Your Censor

Intuition: that tiny voice that speaks from your gut.
Recently, I made a goal of trying to slow down and listen to my gut, listen to that voice that speaks to me about all manner of things that are good or bad for me. What have I found? The voice of intuition is much quieter that that of my writing censor.

My writer's censor is easy to hear. She comes to me loud and clear as I'm working on a first draft. Generally, she throws phases at me like: That's awful! Who would read that? That's stupid. You're not good enough!

It seems her "job" is to stop my headlong progress. It's a battle where the lines are text and I must be armored if I am to win. My censor also is present the next day, when I review my previous day's work. Once again, she gives her thoughts, none of which are positive, most are not even helpful. Sometimes she almost dares me to throw my the work away and start over.

As writers we all have that voice in our ear - the one that tells us to stop writing, that our words are not worthy. But as writers, we also have a story to tell. That story is in you, and your job is to get it down on paper. So in thinking about goals for 2013, perhaps one could be to listen to the story in you, armor yourself against your censor and get the words on paper. There will be plenty of time later to refine your work during the editing process. Fight back.


D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook


Magdalena Ball said...

I agree Jean, and this is particularly of issue for those of us who edit and critique other people's work. The censor (call it 'critical judge') can be a very valuable and useful tool, but it must be continually pushed away in the drafting stage.

Heidiwriter said...

It is hard to keep that inner censor at bay sometimes, but I agree with Magdalena. Keep it quiet by promising it can come out and play during the final revisions!

Margaret Fieland said...

Jean, you're right on with this. Sit on Inner Editor. Slap her down and keep on writing.

Karen Cioffi said...

Jean, I think all us writers can relate to our inner critique. I find myself always editing and judging as I'm writing. And, as Maggie mentioned, this 'critical judge' rears its head when editing clients' work also. Peggy has the right idea - sit on your inner editor - only let her out when necessary!

J.Q. Rose said...

I find it very freeing to just free write. Lock up that little voice and head straight into ten minutes of writing about whatever you want. You'll be surprised at what you will come up with. And so nice to know there will be no nagging!!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Jean I agree. It's important to just get it down and quiet the internal censor. When the censor won't quiet, then I don't read what I have written for at least a week.

Using Psychology to Write Characters

By Mindy Lawrence One of the first writers I fell in love with was Edgar Allan Poe. His gothic horror latched on to my mind. I was powerless...