Stop Yelling At Your Inner Editor

Stop Yelling At Your Inner Editor

Stop Yelling At Your Inner Editor
Photo by Michael Dunner

Stop Yelling At Your Inner Editor

Nothing is more annoying than sitting down to write, getting a few words in, and hearing some obscene comments from the inner editor. Doesn't she know you're trying to get words on the page?

Well, yes, she does know. She just wants you to get it right the first time.

"Are you sure that word is the best choice? Do you really think this sentence has the right word flow? Hey, wait a second, you misspelled three words in the last sentence."

You don't need that nagging voice in your head when you're trying to write. You're already battling other forms of resistance, such as procrastination.

You're thinking about that ice cream in the freezer, planning to save it as your reward for writing. Yeah, right! Then it seems every time you start gaining momentum, it's time to get up for another bathroom break. You finally sit back down in front of your computer screen, write for a few agonizing minutes, stare off into space for an indefinite amount of time and then realize you have to get up again. Or you're dying to get your hands on that piece of chocolate you've been saving.

Some days, you'll do anything to keep yourself from writing.

The first step on the road to recovery from the inner editor and all of the emotional damage it causes is to realize that you have the power to be in control.

Don't like what your inner editor is telling you or how she makes you feel? Tell her to take a hike. She doesn't run your life; you do.

You have so much more power than you give yourself credit for. Once you accept that, it's time to move to step two.

Control your thoughts. Take charge of your thoughts. Ban the bad thoughts, the negative ones. They don't belong in your writing sessions. Tell your inner editor to be encouraging or else get out.

Have you ever watched Supernanny with Jo Frost? Back when we watched television programs, I loved watching Supernanny. How Jo was able to get the kids to listen and to be respectful was fascinating to me.

Remember when she was getting them to change their bedtime habits? Some of the kids were relentless about not wanting to go to bed. But every time a kid came out of the bedroom, she hauled him back to his room and put him back in bed. I remember this process lasted for 30 minutes or more in one night.

Teaching our inner editors how to create new habits that will work for us, not against us, will take time. The parents on the show didn't think they had any power when it came to getting their kids to go to bed (or to listen), but they did. They just needed to be consistent and persistent.

Keep telling your inner editor to get out every time she says something that works against you. Be firm and stand your ground. Be persistent. Tell her more than once. Tell her she needs to have something positive to say or she can't say anything at all.

This isn't going to be a quick fix. You'll need to stay on top of her thoughts and comments. It's just like parenting. You teach your child something important and you'll find yourself needing to continually reinforce it. Don't give up. You are in charge.

Eventually, if you stick with it, this will become second nature to you and you will be able to get your writing done without too much negative input from the inner editor. You can do this!

Jody Calkins
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