Not sure how to approach this post, but oh well, I usually just type up crap and hope it all comes out okay. (Hey! that's how I write too ;))
When I was twelve, I wrote a list in my journal of things I'd never ever do. After a really great discussion with my parents who told me if I commit to something now, it'll make it easier to say no when I actually face the decision in front of me. Some of the things on my list were never to drink alcohol, never lie, never cheat, never steal... etc. Some are deeper things I'd rather keep private, but you see my point.
Among that list was "Never use the F-word."
I know it's a common word. People use it all the time, and I'm okay with that... this is for ME. I put the word next to a few other words that kept flying off my tongue and each time I used them, it made me feel like crap. That one word had never touched my lips, and I swore (no pun intended) right then, when I was twelve, that it never would.
And with the exception of accidentally mispronouncing the word "Fudruckers" it never has.
I remember talking with my publisher one day about the limitations I have on my writing, what they expect from me, what they'd like me to push on the content boundaries. There's always that worry in a writer's brain that says, "If I say no, they're going to rip up that contract they just offered me." And yeah... that was DEFINITELY there, lol. But when it came to the question, what aren't you willing to do? And I said "I will never use the F-word." my editor was nothing but understanding and kind and still praised the work I've been giving them.
Because at twelve, I also told myself:
Never to let the popularity of something dictate the choices I make.
Is the F-word popular in entertainment? Yes.
Should that be the reason why I put it in my writing? No.
I recently sat at my computer, and I came to a part in the WIP where I was stuck on a reaction from a character. And I thought, "You know, an effer would be good here." I was going to type it. I kept telling myself it's not me who's saying it, it's my character. I'm not saying it out loud. I'm writing it. But I froze because I knew every time I came to a point in a manuscript when I wanted to use the word, I'd use it without hesitation. It'd fly from my fingers without another thought. And I knew from experience when I write characters, I start talking like them for a while.
I knew it wasn't me saying it, but I couldn't write it.
So instead of typing the four letters, I forced my creative brain to think "What would be a BETTER reaction?"
This is why you won't find it in any of my books. Or any of my future books. Am I pointing a negative finger at the books that do use the word? No. Did they make that commitment to themselves at 12? No.
And I'd like to go back to that list and look at it knowing that despite the negativity I get from being "cleaner" in the use of language in my books (to some people), that I did it because it was the best decision for ME. There are so very few things I don't feel like a failure at, or insecure about, but this is one I'd like to keep at the 100% "I did it!" point. And all I can hope for is to write a decent book, with believable characters, and still be true to myself, without dropping an effer.
Spell for the day: