Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Audrey and Edna

My writing self has two sides.

Audrey the Author wants to chase butterflies, scale cliffs, climb trees, splash in the rivers, and lie on her stomach for hours watching the bugs crawl through the grass. She wants to explore dark forests and treacherous caves, fight dragons, outwit demons, sail straight into the fiercest storm, and take on everything in this whole wide world all at once.

Behind her follows Edna the Editor, very cross and worried. She means well. "Stay out of the water, dear, you'll get your socks muddy." "You've never even been on a space-ship, dear, how can you possibly write a story about one?" "GET OUT OF THAT TREE, YOU'LL BREAK YOUR NECK!!!"

Edna is very good at what she does. I do like to have her over my shoulder when I'm revising. She knows all the rules, she doesn't miss a thing. But the trouble is, she wants to hang around while I'm drafting new material.

"That was a terrible sentence, dear. Don't use passive voice. Watch the adverbs. Oh, my, my, my! You're telling and not showing."

The problem gets worse if I've been critiquing other writers' work:

"You told Jodi just yesterday that her prose was too wordy, and now look what you've done in this paragraph! Let's not be a hypocrite, dear."

Audrey the Author, unable to get out a single word without Edna the Editor passing judgment, goes off to sulk in her room. And I'm left with no inspiration.

I must learn to send Edna off to do the shopping while Audrey and I sneak off to the woods to play.

What do you do to escape the internal editor?


  1. This was a great post! What do I do with my internal editor. So far, she doesn't bug me much. Maybe because I'm in the editing process with my book and don't use that creative side right now as much. When I do write, I let her get her opinion in when I'm done for the day. That way she doesn't feel ignored! LOL

    Hey, come by my blog to enter my contest and become a follower! I'd really love that.

  2. Internal editor...never thought of that term before! I wish my internal editor knew grammar rules because my creative girl can't remember any of them. She's too busy day-dreaming.

    To shut mine off I honestly have to ignore her. After a while she gets bored and leaves. But I have also noticed she is easy to call back when I indulge in self-imposed criticism. Keeping myself positive and on task is the best deterrent for the unwanted critic.

  3. Thanks for the comments! I think you've got the key there, Lisa - editing is important, but when we're creating we have to think positive! I'd like to learn to be a more positive editor, in fact. Be able to say, this is great! I loved this, loved that, but I want more here and less there. It's already so good, lets make it better!

    And Melissa, congrats on getting to the editing phase! My favorite part.

  4. I have to banish too. It usually means that I just have to plow through about 500 words before my internal editor begins to settle down.

  5. I have no answers! I'm terrible at this. My internal editor rules my life lately. I haven't done any creative writing in awhile. I've turned to non-fiction for a moment so my analytical side can have her say, then maybe she'll be quiet long enough for me to write something else!!

  6. Duct Tape.... lots and lots of duct tape. I think you just need to ship Edna off on a vacation until it is editing season again. Make it something she would enjoy.... um maybe send her to a library.

  7. Thanks for the hint, Amber. I can distract my internal editor by letting her write book reviews!



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