Don’t Water It Down

10 Oct

Water glass
When I write something, I usually don’t publish it right away. I sit with it for a little bit, during which time I edit it, and generally try to make it better. And also: I feel afraid and worry. In the uncensored writing of my first draft, did I express any particularly strong opinions? Did I take a stand for or against something? Possibly come off as sarcastic, harsh or worst of all, angry or mean? Say anything that could potentially offend anyone I’ve ever known or could one day meet?

Then, during my process of adding commas and correcting misspellings, I go about diluting strong opinions that slipped in. I soften rough edges. I add very balanced and diplomatic explanations of comments that could be perceived as me being for or against something. I take out parts that seem sarcastic, harsh, angry and/or mean, and replace them with things that make me sound nice, cute, and likeable, so that everyone will like me.

Predictably, what all this watering down does, is weaken my writing. So then, with my stomach twisted into knots, I proceed to go over the piece again and drain the water, adding back what I took out, strengthening my opinions and sharpening up the edges. Because really, I’m not writing to hide who I am behind balanced, diplomatic, couldn’t-possibly-offend-anyone-ever-for-all-time diluted words, and to worry about what other people I may or may not know think of me. I’m writing to show who I am, really. To express what I think and feel. And to actually say something. Which is, a lot of the time, pretty terrifying.

So once my writing is returned to it’s straight up version, I take a deep breath. And then I click Publish.

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One Response to “Don’t Water It Down”

  1. Bikram Yoga Vancouver November 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    This is very lovely! So many truths about writing and the struggle between full disclosure and self-censorship… Sometimes it would be nice to just press publish and never look back wouldn’t it?

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