It’s Lydia’s turn to discuss the importance of stories! Click here for her post.
I can say with relative confidence that my writing skills have steadily improved over the past two years. I can also safely say that I’m a fast-paced, sometimes sloppy panster at heart. Seriously. Every time I try to outline, I veer off of it in less than a paragraph. I’m not kidding.
Anyway, I’ve noticed that along with increasing skill comes increasing persnicketiness about what I write. This has benefits and drawbacks. I can admit–despite my rushed seat-of-the-pants-writerly-ways–it’s good to slow down and take my time in crafting a novel. It forces me to choose awesome words instead of good ones. BUT, the pressure of picking the RIGHT word the first time often leads me to a stand still. Like literally.
Case in point. My most recent WIP (a middle grade adventure that I actually outlined! Holy shizz!) has been a complete blast to develop. The first four chapters practically wrote themselves. Yet it’s gotten to the point that every time I open the document, I freeze. I can’t decide what words to put on the page. What order do I want to write them? Who do I want to say what? Where do I want to put the description? What description do I want to include?
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!!!
A surge of frustration forces–yes, forces!–me to procrastinate. I look at Facebook, Twitter, online forums. I watch an episode of South Park, The Office, or Family Guy.
Two hours later, I return to the MS and fret some more. Why hasn’t the word count risen? (Duh. Cuz I didn’t write anything. Geez.)
What’s happening? Well, in my effort to “prove” I’m a good writer, I have unleashed the Hell beast otherwise known as the Internal Editor (cue horror movie soundtrack here). Any writerly person is very familiar with this monster. When properly fed and cared for, the internal editor can actually be helpful, even friendly. But when little devil runs amok through a first draft, it’s akin to a disaster.
So, dear friends, I’d love to hear from you what strategies have helped you tame Internal Editor.
I’ll start the dialogue by sharing my strategy:
- I free write. Screw picking great words. Just get the damn scene on the page.
- I re-read what I just wrote…and am pleasantly surprised it’s not as icky as I’d imagined.
- I crit someone’s work.
- I read a book and “take notes” from the pros.
- I take a break. Burn out doesn’t do anybody any good. Just sayin’.
- I try to stop being my own worst enemy and let myself off the hook. It’s impossible to be perfect the first go around, so why set such an unrealistic goal? Right? Right.
Alrighty folks, your turn.
Hell beast, AKA Internal Editor. He also goes by the name Phil.