The dread “Internal Editor”

Anyone who writes for a living, or has ever had to do a writing assignment for school, has no doubt come face to face with their “Internal Editor”. That nagging little butt-in-ski that is always reading over your shoulder, giving negative criticism and shooting down just about any idea you come up with. It is an absolute menace. Especially when a deadline is involved.

Mine is especially so. It is very much like the little red monster from the TMNT movie that almost gets the best of Raphael. And it likes to ask all sorts of questions. Its specialty is asking how an idea is relevant to the story, and whether it will even have any point farther down the line. But mostly, it likes to ask over and over again “Do you honestly think anyone is even going to read this?” Or, “That sounds stupid, you should change it.”

Too often it has been a losing battle for me. Like I said in my previous post, I’m attempting NaNoWriMo again this year and my internal editor has insisted on accompanying me.  I’m writing longhand in a composition notebook and have just now made it to page three. (In fairness, I only started on Monday.) And sure enough, my internal editor has been hard at work trying to sabotage me.

I’ve tried cajoling it, ignoring it, trying to distract it with other things like music. I just haven’t had a huge lot of luck. But I keep trying to muddle on. Otherwise the little beastie wins.

So tell me. How do you deal with your internal editor? What ways help you to make it just shut up and mind its own business until its proper time?


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