Monday, September 17, 2018

Bad Inner Editor. Sit. Stay.

Recently, a writer friend of mine was lamenting the fact that she can't seem to get out of her own way with the book she's working on.  She's written pages and pages and pages only to scrap them and write more pages.  And I think it's driving her batty.  This one book - the culmination of a trilogy - is undoing her.

I get it.  She wants the book to be perfect.  Or if not perfect, at least a bit better than her last book (which was excellent by the way, but we're all always trying to make the next book better than the last).  But I think her inner editor is hamstringing her. 

You know the inner editor.  She's a bitch.  Always with the 'this sucks, start over' and never with the 'this is awesome, keep going'. 

Oh, she's a bitch, but she does keep us honest, nipping at our heels like a Border Collie.  So, I'm not saying get rid of her entirely.  But there are times when the bitch needs a muzzle.  Especially when she's keeping us from getting the book written. 

I struggle with her all the time.  All.  The.  Time.  She's being particularly vocal right now, as a matter of fact.  "You're doing this wrong," she says.  "You need to scrap this and start over."  "You need to rewrite this scene, and if you do, then you need to rework that scene and, by the way, if you do that, you'll need to go back and fix the part of Sleeping Ugly that refers to..."  Ugh. 

Whack that inner editor on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.  She's not being helpful right now.  Let her out of her kennel after the book is written, when it's time for editing and that bad dog has learned to sit and stay.   

I'd ask if you struggle with your inner editor, but that's a given.  So, how do you get your inner editor to behave? 


  1. Lord but I remember those delimmas. Then I did NaNoWriMo. I'm competitive enough that the idea of letting my inner editor stop me from getting to 50K kept me from going back each day to reread, rewrite, edit, revise. In subsequent NaNos, I honed it. When I'm writing for myself, I can start and push through to the finish without rewriting. I save that for the first draft read-through and subsequent rewrites.

    That said, writing for HQN put a crimp in my process. I have to write three chapter, plot the rest and send it off. It comes back and I have to rewrite, which often necessitates reworking the plot. And I am soooo NOT a plotter to begin with. *sigh*

    At this point, it's not silencing my inner editor, it's convincing my live editor that I'm right. LOLOL And speaking of... *HUGE SIGH* Time to hit the stupid proposal. No more putting it off. I think I need wine...or tequila. The coffee ain't gonna cut it.

  2. Whenever my inner editor tells me to scrap something, I take a break. Go for a walk. Refuse to read that scene for a day or two. And when I finally get back to it, the scene isn't half as bad as the editor said. A little tweeking, and I'm off and writing again.

    But -- I will scrap scenes from a trunk novel I'm trying to resurrect. Sometimes all I keep is the outline. Sometimes it goes right back into the trunk. There's too much new stuff rattling around in my head. :-)

  3. I just make notes on the potential problem areas in a list and tell myself I'll address it all after the first draft. Some good ideas here!