Writing without filters


The Selfie-Obsessed Generation

You extend your arm, phone in hand. The sea sparkles azure behind you. Christmas hasn’t been kind. You angle your body. Better. You move your jaw forward enough to disguise the double chin, but not enough to look like a Neanderthal. Got it. You scrutinise your screen and thumb through the filters. Perfect.

Now, what to say? Lips pursed, you type and delete two status updates before settling on the right one. Welcome to the world of self-editing.

If you messed up in years gone by, the damage was limited to the people who witnessed your faux pas and, thankfully, memories grew fuzzy. In the information age, anything you put out there is permanent and visible for all the world to see. So, we edit ourselves with greater care.

We’re experts at capturing beautiful moments. We create mouth-watering meals, plate them perfectly, and take just-so photos. This makes us more beautiful people, at least in Instagram’s eyes. It also makes us rotten writers.

Writers and artists can’t afford to use filters

Writers need to see the world as it really is – not the warm and fuzzy photo-filtered place we’d like it to be.

The temptation is to gloss over the unpleasant parts of life. I get it. Sometimes life has hard edges and beauty provides relief. We need to retrain our eyes, though, to see everything. It keeps our stories and us honest. You need to see the cracked heels. Smell the urine stench of a litter-strewn alleyway. Hear the snorting guffaw. Feel the pain of the bikini wax. Taste the sour milk.

Sometimes the unbeautiful sparks the best stories.

What do you think?

 by Donna Radley

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