Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That Blasted Inner Editor & His Friends, The Nasty Critics

*Do you have voices in your head?

I do.

Sometimes they're nice. Sometimes they make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes they offer up great story ideas. But then....sometimes they're just down right mean.

I'm trying to put aside time every day to write. So far I've been doing pretty good. Except for yesterday when I lay down to close my eyes for 20 minutes and got up quite a bit later when my oldest son came home from school. Whoops. This early morning schedule is hard for me to get used to.

Well, anyways, sometimes as I think about my writing and the time I'm using to work on it....the voices start. (It's those Nasty Critical Voices. Blech.)

They say I'll never figure this novel-writing thing out.

They say my novel is a mess (Ok. They are right about that one....)

They say I won't fix it.

They point out such and such and how good they are.

They laugh at me for spending so much time with my kids or crafting or...whatever. And tell me if I were a Real Writer I would center my life around my writing. (Um...self-centered much? Eh, voices?)

They say I am wasting my time.

They say I have wasted my time. Oodles of time. Time I'll never get back.

And sometimes I listen. I hate the idea of wasting my time! And the idea that I will work and work and work and never figure out how to do this thing that I love. Blech. Gloomy thoughts, right?

Other times the voice is my Inner Editor. The one that makes it hard to write a cruddy first draft. Or she makes it difficult when I decide to change a scene and need to start from scratch....she tells me, "This stinks." (She's blunt like that.)

You know the type, right? She's lurking there in the back of your head and points out all the dumb lines and repetitive statements that dribble out onto your computer screen. Oh! The Inner Editor and The Nasty Critics are surely best friends.

So, you know what I do?

I yell at those voices in my head. Yep. Cuz I'm crazy like that. And...well...ok. I guess I don't really yell. It's more like I give the voices a good telling to. worries. Heh heh...I don't talk to them out loud., I'm not that nuts....

Ok. So anyways, I tell myself that I can do this. (I know... simple right?'s the equivalent of shouting "You are, too!" back at someone insulting you....)

And then I think about all that I love about my novel. There is a lot I love. The magic. The strange and original creatures. The whole magic system. My main character. And the girl he longs to be friends with. And the funny lines I've come up with when I've let myself go wild.

And I remind myself of the great critiques and comments I've gotten from friends and writers and people I hardly know. I think about how a big time agent likes the beginning of this novel (that's all she's read) and that she wants to see the whole book when it's done.(how long is she willing to wait? Um...yeah. Like she's actually waiting for it! Ha! It's nice to pretend.....Dang it. Look at that. I let the inner voices type on my blog sometimes, too.)

And I make myself get back to work. Even if I don't know what I'm going to write about. I sit down in front of my laptop and I read the chapter I'm revising and I see things I can change and make better. And inevitably, I come away from my writing time happy and excited about what I came up with. It's such a thrill to get down on paper the visions and thoughts swimming through my head. And to have spontaneous ideas erupt from my fingers, ideas I am are so so so happy with! And to see the scenes and chapters coming together. To see things falling into place. Yeah. This writing thing is awesome.

As for the Inner Editor....sometimes I have a hard time with her.

So, how about you? How do you silence those inner voices that bring you down? How do you muffle your inner editor? And this doesn't apply to just writing. We all have those inner voices that tell us we stink, right? How do you get them to shut their pie hole and move on? I'd love to hear!

* Forgive me if this post only kind of makes sense....I have a sick baby and a loud 4 year old nearby....maybe that's the solution, eh? A loud four year old could surely drown out the negative voices any day....of course. Then there's the problem of any kind of creative thought being possible...


  1. I have these too. Sometimes I take them out to the paintball range in my head and leave them unarmed. Then I feel lots better.

    1. LOL! Brilliant. I think I'll give the paintball range idea a shot next time they start giving me trouble. :)

  2. Someone reminded me the other day that Dr. Suess didn't get published until he was 56. That gives me lots of time--and hope--to get this right!

    1. Yes....I love hearing stories like that. But....56?! Ack! I hope we don't have to wait that long. And will not have to wait that long! You just need to get your stories out there chickadee!

  3. You are amazing! i love how you can just.. write! if your novel is 1/2 as funny/cool/amazing and your blog, you are set! :)
    P.S. i have voices in my head too, so your not the only one

    1. Veronica! You have got to be the cutest/sweetest/bestest girl ever. Thanks for the sweet comment.

      And it's nice to hear I'm not alone.

      Maybe our voices should hang out together sometime and leave us alone! :)

  4. Hmm... The "reply" button won't work.. .stupid technology :)
    I agree with you. My voice in my head is dying for some company! :)

  5. It's okay, I yell at my inner voices, too. Like, yell. :-) The only way I've been able to turn off the internal editor during first drafts is to...let her talk. The less attention I pay to my insecurities the quieter they seem. Thanks for the post! I'm hoppin' over from Alex's blog, btw. :-)