My Inner Editor: Lesson Learned

In one of the support forums I frequent, we’re posting our daily totals for NaNoWriMo. We include the daily total, the grand total, the first and last word, and then most authors include their favorite lines from that days work. I never do. I can’t, for one very good reason. My inner editor.


My inner editor gets shut off while I’m writing. I’m lucky that way. Sure, she might make a few comments as I’m getting warmed up in the morning, but then, once I’m in the zone, I can’t hear her. I don’t even realize I’m typing. I don’t feel my fingers hitting the keyboard. I don’t see the words on the screen. Eventually I’m pulled out of the zone by a need for coffee, an aching back, or the sounds of my son waking up.


Last night, and also on the second day, when I posted my totals right before bed, I was like, “Okay, today I’ll included a line.” And so I went back to search for a good line. Mistake. Big, BIG mistake. Thirty minutes later, my husband was wondering where I was, why I wasn’t in bed. My inner editor had taken over. She wanted to fix typos. She messed with my plot. She even started to run spell-check!


I normally take 6-10 months to write a first draft, and it’s because of my inner editor. She insists on reading what I wrote the day before and fixing all the mistakes before I can get started on each days writing. I probably spend as much time editing each day as I do writing.


Sure, there are some advantages to that. It creates a cleaner, easier to read draft. Other advantages… um… Gosh, I don’t think there are any others. I’m starting to think maybe I need to write all my projects this way, and worry about editing only when I’m finished. I usually end up scrapping about a third of it during revisions anyway, which means all the time I spent editing that third was wasted.


NaNO, what a good teacher you are!


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