Sunday, November 14, 2010

Project to Published: Shutting Down Your Inner Editor (Great for nanowrimo)

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Shutting Down Your Inner Editor

One of the biggest problems I have with myself is my tendency to question how good my last bit of writing was and if I could have made it better. Because of this, I sometimes switch to my 'inner editor' mode and I begin to go back through and edit everything I have written. Now don't get me wrong - editing is vital when it comes to writing, especially when it is a professional career. But on the other hand, switching to your inner editor during the middle of writing is not only counterproductive, but it could completely kill your inspiration of the moment.

Organization is very important when I write. I like outlining and I make it a point to write everyday at the same time, with a word count that I am aiming for. I have goals and I like to stick to them. My inner editor is a part of my organization process, but I only let the editor in me out at a certain time. Personally I prefer to do so after the first draft of my manuscript has been finished. This allows me to write without feeling pressured and I like to think it provides me with a higher quality manuscript in the end because I can go through my own work as a whole. It also allows me to write faster.

I would submit that for anyone, especially a first time writer who is plagued by an inner editor that pops up, it would be best to write out your first draft without pausing for editing. Some might disagree with this, but shutting down your inner editor will prevent you from thinking too much about mistakes and allow you to focus on what is important - writing.

Your inner editor is important but so is getting the writing inside of you out and onto paper. Don't cut yourself short by getting distracted. Think about it - when do you do your best? Is it when you are having fun and not thinking? Or is it when you are constantly stopping, looking back over what you just did and seeing mistakes you might have made? Allow yourself to do your best and in so doing, you will allow your inner editor to do his or her best when it counts - afterward.

Do you ever hit road blocks because of your inner editor?


  1. The inner editor gets the best of me when I'm writing my first draft. I think it takes me longer because of it. I sit and think about the best way to formulate a sentence, or the best word to use. I need to practice just writing it and not worry about whether something is written correctly.

  2. Thanx for the post Emma! I agree with Abby. I am working on my first novel and I find myself stopping every couple of chapters to edit. I am editing as I go and then I loose all of my focus and forget where I was going with my thoughts.
    I too need to just sit and write out the first draft without thinking too much about it!

    Thank you for sharing

    My Bloody Fairy Tale

  3. I think I'm one of the only people who tells my inner editor to chill. I love flying through my MS nonstop. It helps get all the ideas out and I find that I don't have to outline as much to keep up with what my characters are doing, saying, things like that. And, when I do edit, I find that I'm more focused on finding the write words, fixing awkward sentences rather then fixing plot holes. Great post! This is stellar advice =)

  4. Thank you so much for following, and I am following you back. I will have to take a close look around, because I am loving your site here. Looking into your book too. Always love a good read with bite!

  5. good post - like Abby, I suffer from constant 'editor-itis'. i used to print out a new copy of my work all the time to read through and edit. i definitely got bogged down in the editing rather than the writing. seeing lots of things i wanted to change made my doubt my writing. i haven't worked on my ms for a while now. i think i need to just try and write without looking back over it. and not worrying to much about every little thing!

  6. Guilty! Normally I like to go back and edit everything, but I'm trying not to during NaNoWriMo. I haven't got the time for a start! Thanks for the prod.

  7. Yes, all the time! But I read a good tip for self-editing as you go. Don't completely edit out a line you just wrote, but strike through it or highlight it. You never know if you want to use it later and are glad you didn't erase it. I know my first draft for NaNoWriMo isn't my best writing, but it's just getting down the bones and my initial framework.

  8. I think everyone does… now; if possible I finish my first draft then focus on the inner editor mode.
    It doesn’t always work, but it is a goal I have to keep myself moving forward not sideways.

  9. I try not to think about editing when I'm working on first drafts. I just remind myself that this is just the first draft and not to get tangled up!

  10. Great post. I try not to think about editing until I'm done my first draft, but sometimes I get caught up in re-reading everything I wrote.

  11. Guilty as charged and I hate it. I can write for a very long time when I am not concerned about editing content or grammer. When I am in one of these writing moods my creativity just flows and ideas pop up and blossom into thrilling plots twist etc. What usually happens to me is that my husband will pick up a first draft scene (in paper or on word) and without meaning any harm he will comment on an a misspelled word or a run on sentence. I try to ignore his comments, but find that they not only interfere with my immediate writing, but they lead to my inner editor taking over for the next few days. My creativity takes a back seat and I hate my work when this happens.

    Thanks for the informative and encouraging post.