So I’ve been thinking a lot about cuss words. Is it really that bad to use swear words when writing? Some people feel that being vulgar when you write is somewhat cop-out: That using curse words is an indication of a limited vocabulary. I don’t think so.
For me, cursing is not really about expressing anger or anything like that. It can be used that way, however, vulgarities can add personality to a writer’s voice. Now, I’m not saying drop an F-bomb every other word.
And when I mean cuss words, I’m not necessarily talking about the big scary ones: the A-word, B-word, C-word, D-word, F-Word, S-word, etc. (Please don’t ask me what the C-word is, if you don’t know, you don’t need to know) I’m not talking about those words. I’m referring to language that, in general, is less than pretty.
For example, in a travel entry for my travel writing class, I talked about whoring myself out to the airlines by taking all different ones during my holiday travels. My professor said that publishers may not like that word whoring, and I ought to have another word handy. And that may be true for a certain demographic of travel readers, but I’m not writing for middle-aged ladies.
I suppose some people just don’t like cuss words when they are reading. I guess. And I can see how swear words can become problematic if aren’t used correctly. It truly is a balancing act. But coarse language comes as a package deal with my writing. I don’t really use curse words that much. I prefer to liken my style to the usage of rough and blunt language instead.
See, I have an extreme dislike for flowery language. When I started writing, I started with poetry. I remember reading the flowery language and thinking it was beautiful. Yet I could never write like that. If I try to write about caressing breezes and foam dancing on ocean waves, it doesn’t sound authentic. Does it sound like me, to you?
Part of finding my voice as a writer just meant accepting that flowery language, when I use it, sounds fake. That’s why I like to use coarse language when I write.
Now, what about you? If you wanna curse, go ahead and curse. Just make sure it sounds authentic and it’s absolutely necessary. Curse words must fit the overall tone of the narrator or character. Thats it!