My inner editor looks like me only a little older, she is future me yelling at present me for all the mistakes I will make when I start writing.
On the plus side, my inner editor knows her stuff. She knows how to catch mistakes and detach herself well enough to catch most plot holes and inconsistencies.
On the minus side, I do this to myself every day; I am constantly berating and bullying myself–my past self–for the mistakes I made. Sometimes they’re yesterday’s mistakes but mostly they’re mistakes I made YEARS ago that probably no one remembers or even cares about anymore. No one but me.
So my inner editor is a reflection of one of my worst habits, which is self-bullying.
I love writing. I love it so much I don’t care if I’m “good” or “bad” at it. I think if you love something and it gives you joy you should do it regardless of what standards the “industry,” society, or whoever else you value holds you to. So why do I constantly tell myself this isn’t good or that isn’t good or something similar? Why do I do that so much that approaching my keyboard and the blank page becomes daunting and I get no enjoyment from the thing that used to keep me going during really tough bouts of depression?
It’s irrational and it’s mean. And I’ve often found that I have been meaner to myself than anyone else has been. So why do I do that?
I think partly because I’m not mindful enough, I’d rather think about all the things I have to do and get mildly anxious about not having enough time to do all the things than actually doing all the things. Because I’m scared that when the thing is done it won’t be good.
But if the thing isn’t good I can fix it because it’s MY thing and I have that power. So why do I still behave so irrationally?
Years of doing it and I don’t know how to stop? A little nervousness and discomfort is healthy?
You can’t have happy without suffering but this is definitely unnecessary suffering.
One of the things I like about National Novel Writing Month is that the pace keeps you so busy you don’t have time to indulge in those negative thoughts. Especially if you have things to do outside of writing, like raising another human being or paying the bills.
While your inner editor is a good thing to have on hand it definitely has its place and editing/revising is different from creating content. Yes you can edit as you create and sometimes that’s the best thing to do but other times it can slow you down and discourage you. You have to find a happy medium and it’s really hard to do that sometimes because feelings and desires.
I try my best to ignore my inner editor or tell her, “Hey, that’s cool, I’ll get to it later.” And when she screams at me to do it now I slam a door in her face. I don’t know if that’s the healthiest way to cope with my self-bullying because those thoughts always come back but it’s something that works for now.
The things I try to keep telling myself when I feel like I can’t do it anymore are:
YOU WANT TO WRITE.
YOU LIKE YOUR STORY, YOU WANT TO TELL IT.
YOU ARE HAVING FUN.
IT’S GOING TO GET BETTER.
Now go write!