Taming the Inner Editor

1130414_sxc.huI used to wrestle with an inner editor that wanted to check over my work at all times. Every couple of sentences, it would interrupt and insists on making changes. It took awhile to stop it. I realized that all it did was slow me down and prevent me from writing.

Turning off the inner editor wasn’t easy. It wanted to be on the job at all times. Now I tell it to take a hike until I’m done. I let it know that we’ll have that dialog later, but while I write—it needs to stand on the sidelines to allow stories to develop. If it tries to sneak in, I remind it to wait.

How did I tune out the editor and push forward? It’s all in the mind. Changing my frame of mind was the first step. There’s always a first draft and a first draft has permission to be awful. So I just write. I get it all out, because I know I’ll be able to go back and make changes.

I also discovered that taking a break was smart. There were times when I needed to step away from the keyboard, but felt guilty. Then I relaxed. If I need to go for a walk. I go. I find something else to do; and I make sure that I have a small pad in case ideas develop.

And finally, I learned that one of the best ways to retain momentum is to finish writing—for the day—in the middle of a sentence. I’d read about it, but never tried it until recently. The next day, my mind was fresh, and I wrote without hesitation. Although I remembered the direction the story was heading, something better showed up on the pages.

Now that I am working with my inner editor, I’m writing everyday.

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