I’ve been a professional writer for a long time, nearly 20 years. I’m old. Old enough to be good at the “Crooners” category in Song Pop. I began my career back when my oldest was born and I was still excited enough about motherhood to actually want to stay home with the kids, so I started freelancing for newspapers and magazines back when print publications paid freelance writers (versus overburdened staffers) to do so.
My first newspaper humor column “Quite Contrary” appeared in a weekly newspaper in Frederick, Maryland. I was paid $25 a column. I won’t bore you with my whole resume, but suffice it to say I went on to bigger publications and eventually fulltime editing jobs. In absolutely zero of the aforementioned paid writing gigs was I able to use profanity. There is no profanity in print unless it’s in Playboy, The New Yorker or Vanity Fair, and a few other magazines and newspapers for which I don't have enough talent to write. So before the Internet, I had to say “heck” and “doggone” a lot.
But I was born to be a cusser. I don’t know whether my parents conceived me on a boat, so I have some kind of hidden sailor gene or whether my upbringing as an upper white trash, mildly wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl was enough to do it. Although I do my best not to use profanity around my four kids, I use it every other chance I get, and in fact founded my blog Pajamas and Coffee back in 2008 mainly so I could pound out potty talk riddled rants while I stayed in my pj’s and drank coffee. I still do that, and it’s pretty fucking awesome.
It’s liberating to use profanity. We are grown-ups. We are not going to be sent to the principal’s office for using a bad word. Plus, as long as you don’t overuse them, curse words can be extremely effective in a sentence. If you were reading a book right now, one of the two following sentences would tell you more about a character. Consider the difference:
“I can’t believe I just lost my job.”
“I can’t believe I just lost that shithole of a fucking job I hated anyway.”
I still write for print magazines and newspapers once in a great while, and they still don’t like the f bomb. I also write for several different websites in addition to my own drop-f-bombs-like-it’s-my-goddamn-job blog. I gotta say, I’ve run into the whole “You are so edgy! Write for us so we will be edgy, too!” thing, and then I write something, and all the cusswords get cut out because someone is afraid of losing advertisers.
I understand this. My blog makes practically no money because I write about pool boy sex fantasies or use the term “Cuntasaurus Rex” all the motherfucking time. I know it is the golden rule that mommy bloggers don’t use foul language on their blogs because advertisers will complain. This is one reason I loathe the term “mommy blogger” and if someone calls me one within earshot, I reserve the right to punch them in the babymaker.
Right now, Splice Today is my favorite place to write. Like Goldilocks in the forest, I have found website porridge that is either too hot or too cold for me, and Splice always feels just right. Also I get paid to use the f bomb. And that? Is a fucking writing career win.
—Mary McCarthy (@marymac) also spews profanity at her non-paying blog Pajamas and Coffee.
I love this. I have often wondered who would ever let me speak my uncensored mind, while putting fat, or even any, stacks in my wallet. It's surely not The Watchtower.
Another blogger once said that my use of the words "bloody" and "hell" discredited me as a search engine marketer and a blogger. Maybe I'll change my ways if that income source ever tanks. Also that golden rule sucks. IMHO having to censor yourself ills the passion for what you're writing. The advertisers could probably be racking up my visits and sales if they just left good writing alone. also? this is what I was referring to in the email i sent you yesterday Mary. self censoring for bloggers.