By Connie Mann
I don’t know about you, but my internal editor is a sneaky little trickster. She knows up all smiles, acting warm and friendly, like she’s trying to help, but before I know it, she’s got me questioning everything I know about absolutely everything—from the story I’m working on to my very existence. Sound familiar?
Don’t get me wrong. I need her. You need her. She’s the one who nags you when a scene just doesn’t feel right and she won’t let you rest until you figure out what’s wrong with it.
But if you give her free reign during the creative, get-words-on-the-page part of the writing process, she can effectively paralyze you and keep you from gaining any forward momentum.
What’s a frustrated writer to do? Here are a few tricks I use to fake her out so I can get my story written. Then, and only then, do I let her voice her opinions, ask questions and make suggestions.
1 – Stealth Mode
Over the years, I’ve learned that she’s not really an early-morning girl. Probably because I’m not one either. So, if I get up stupid early and stumble to my computer with my coffee cup, I can get a bunch of words on the page without her input. Because she’s not up yet. She won’t start nattering in my ear for at least an hour or two.
Try sneaking in and out of your story at different times of the day to throw her off balance. And then let those words fly.
2 – Negotiate
If she shows up unannounced, pouring doubt into your ear while you’re trying to write, negotiate. Tell her that once this first draft is done, you will be willing to listen to her every word. That usually works to keep her quiet. Pouty, but quiet.
3 – Sneak Attacks
Speed is your friend while you’re writing the first draft. If you set a timer for a word sprint, you’ll be so focused on the story and getting those words down that even if she says something, you’ll be too busy writing to hear it. Deadlines work the same way. If I know I have exactly one hour to write before work, I can completely tune her out while my mental clock ticks away.
4 – Defy Her
She’s always going to have opinions. Some good. Some not. But you get to decide which ones to listen to. And when you’re going to listen. When she’s being particularly negative or nitpicky, ignore her.
Whatever you do, keep writing. Writer’s do what they do despite all the opposition, from inside and out. Happy writing!
What strategies help you shut down your internal editor?
Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and the author of the Safe Harbor romantic suspense series, as well as Angel Falls and Trapped. DEADLY MELODY, Book 3 in the series, just released in May. When she’s not dreaming up plot lines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on Central Florida’s waterways, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She’s also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries break the poverty cycle. She and her hubby love traveling and spending time on the water with their grown children and extended family. (Hubby says they are good at fishing, but lousy at catching.) Visit Connie online at www.conniemann.com Social Media links Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConnieMannAuthor?ref=hl#!/ConnieMannAuthor Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/captconniemann/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4024072.Connie_Mann
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