The Inner (evil?) Editors

This is disturbing.

That. Yeah, right there. That’s horrible.

What exactly possessed you to do this?

This has to be illegal.

Geez, Isabella. Who was the terrible liar who told you to write? Who told you you COULD write???

*  *  *  *  *  *

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Image is from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

Friends, meet the the critic that lives inside my head. He (she?) makes his (her?) appearance whenever I’m in the process of creating something: be it a story, a character, a painting, a cake for my neighbor, a new blog post, etc.

They’re really a rather feisty editor. When I type ‘writer’ in my biography on twitter, they whisper, lie. When I click on the Microsoft Word icon, they snort.  When I come up with a solution that will fill my plot-holes, they scoff a little too loud; so loud that I sneak a peek at random bystanders, hoping they did hear my nasty critic with all of its annoying noises.

Now, I thought I was the only one a little bit off, but after doing some “reasearch” (i.e. studying other writers’ blogs, reading up on my favorite authors, etc.) it turns out the “inner editor” is a common critic that every writer deals with. In fact, one of the first tips I received while reviewing NaNoWriMo was this:

“Say Goodbye to your Inner Editor.”

Now, there is a time and a place for that Inner Editor. People employ him/her (or, if your critic is like mine, a picky woman with a very manly voice) in roughly two different ways:

1. Use them after your first draft is penned out. Let em’ loose. Let the critic scowl, edit & revise (because editing and revising are two different things), and rip your manscript to pieces. It’ll hurt. But you’ll end up agreeing with them, and soon your beautiful little (or not so little) story will be ready for another pair of eyes to see, so their inner editor can go crazy on your work.

Gotta love the writing process. This first option is the one that works best for me.

2. Use that Inner Editor every few scenes or chapters. Write a little. Take a break. Come back and edit. A sort of Edit As You Go method.

For me, it’s not a good idea to edit WHILE I write. I’m talking about writing a sentence, re-reading eight times, only to decide that it needs to start with a preposition instead of the subject, or it’s too long, too short, too…

DON’T DO THIS. It will only slow you down and drive you insane. If you must, go back and edit every few paragraphs. But don’t scrutinize every sentence to the point where you can’t even get a page done in a reasonable amount of time (and REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME varies from author to author).

Just write. That’s what you are: a writer. So break out the notebook and sharpen up those pencils. Double click the Microsoft Word icon with all the confidence in the world. Put the inner-critic on hold for a while. Tell him (or her with the masculine voice) to sit down while you finish your piece. There’ll be time for the Editor. But now is the time for the writer (YOU! 🙂 )

How do you deal with your inner editor (or are you one of those gifted writers who doesn’t own one)? Do you critique your work as you go, or once your entire piece is finished? Feel free to answer in the comments!

Isabella Stines spent most of her childhood diving into books and breaking the rules by reading past her bed time. Still an avid reader, she spends more of her time as a student and musician in addition to writing, fueling her creativity with Ramen noodles and sweet tea. Stines is currently working on her first trilogy.

You can find Isabella on Pinterest ( http://pinterest.com/isabellastines/ ) and tweet with her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IsabellaStines

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4 thoughts on “The Inner (evil?) Editors

  1. My inner editor is an It, well, at least the one that hangs over my shoulder as I write my first draft, claws digging into my back. It’s voice is kind of like Golem’s: cloying and annoying with an evil undertone. The sole purpose of It is to get me to stop writing because, obviously, my writing sucks. If I can get through the first draft, then It gets banished to the dark regions of my brain and the true editors step forward to help me revise and edit. If it weren’t for deadlines like NaNoWriMo and writing courses, It would probably be successful in keeping me from writing. At least it was for a good many years. I think the key is to get that first draft done, regardless of how sloppy and nonsensical it might be. Just write and you’ve won the first battle.

    • Absolutely! Pounding out the first draft is the hardest but the most important thing. You just have to force yourself to sit down and finish it, and that can be tough! I once heard a quote (I wish I could remember who said it!) that said “There are no great writers, there are only great re-writers…”. I love that, it’s so true! Thanks for sharing and for the follow.

  2. I just write! I don’t even worry about typos. I figure I will edit after my first draft is complete. I do however make some notes when I write so I remember to redo a scene or sentence.
    I also want to thank you for following my blog, A Beginners Writing Journey. So far I am enjoying your posts. I look forward to reading more :).

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