December 14, 2015

The Editor Within

By Leigh Ann Thomas

I have this person who lives inside my head. She stands a couple of inches tall, wears a blue cardigan, sports a tight hair-bun, and has a pair of reading glasses perched on her nose.

Her name is Edith. Edith the Editor.

She’s quite annoying. In fact, she’s been known to hold me hostage. No, dear. That’s not the correct verb tense. Hmm…are you sure that’s what you meant to say? My heavens, are you familiar with the word, “punctuation?”

Listening to Edith’s chatter while I work is like writing with a weighted pen—or with a finger glued to the backspace key on my laptop.

Creativity stalls, my stress-level sky rockets, and the page stays half-empty.

Not good.

We all have an internal editor—maybe yours is named Earl. As wide as he is tall, Earl muscles his way through your first draft attempt, placing a choke-hold on your writing pulse.

Enough already. The time has come to send Edith and Earl on an errand. We’ll tell them there’s a cup of coffee and a book waiting (containing a hidden error) with their name on it. That should keep them busy—long enough for us to attack the page without interruption.

When we send our internal editors packing, and give ourselves time to write unencumbered, we cover more ground and allow creativity to soar.

This is the time to plow through—the time to get the words out. To open the floodgates and let them flow at will. To not worry about every dot and tittle, but to get the “big picture” in print.

After a mad-dash writing session, I love to look back at the screen and be surprised: Hmm…I like that direction, and that thought-process. Needs a little tweaking, but…I did it!

Triumph over the page. Success over  revision-itis.

And then? We stick our head out the back door and call to Edith and Earl. “Okay, guys! You can come in now. Have at it…”

Wow. I think Edith just stuck out a pointy-toed shoe and tripped Earl. They are so enthusiastic about their work…

How do you handle your internal editor?
Leigh Ann Thomas loves to pen devotional material, church worship drama, and short stories with a twist. Her story, “The Pursuit,” was chosen a runner-up in the Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest 2015. She is the author of Time Out: A Quiet-time Devotional for Busy Moms (Barbour, Xulon Press) and Go Ye Therefore: Dramas for Today’s Church (New Hope). She is a contributing author in several devotionals and a columnist for Her blog, Heart Undivided, encourages others to live full lives in Christ. Leigh Ann and her husband live in North Carolina and are thankful for three daughters, two sons-in-law and two amazing grandsons. Her social media links are: Blog: Heart Undivided

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