Tuesday, 6 July 2010

AlphaThoughts: Pesky Editor

So.  It seems my internal editor became irritated with me for exposing its workings in my last post.  Since then, it has resolutely declared all my ideas for blog posts as rubbish and prevented me from putting fingers to keys.  Which brings me to the first way of thwarting that pesky little (or in this case big and intrusive) voice.

It’s the simplest way of controlling your editor…but also probably one of the hardest.  It is to do as I did above, and as I’m doing by writing this post to break my editor-imposed blog silence.  When your writing comes up against a wall, you acknowledge your editor.  You say, ‘It’s not that I’m not a good writer.  It’s not that my ideas are bad.  It’s just that my editor wants everything to be perfect – and the world isn’t like that.  I recognise you editor.  I respect that you have some incredibly important functions in my writing life.  But for now, with all due respect, butt out.’

My editor is screaming at me at this moment, as I have written this whole post without allowing myself to correct anything (except typos).  It’s saying bits of this sound unrefined, other bits sound pompous, and I really should double-check my grammar etc etc etc.  But I am ignoring it.

I’m not saying we should all write without ever going back and correcting ourselves.  All novelists that I’ve heard of go through a fairly long editing process, and you can be sure that those who don’t pay close attention to their editor as they’re writing the first draft.  Most blogs would probably be nigh on unreadable if we all just threw down haphazard willy-nilly witterings.  But if it’s getting in the way – that’s when you need to step in and say, ‘Enough’.  You can let the editor have its day once your ideas are all down on paper.

You will probably find that you like things that you’ve written while consciously ignoring your editor.  I find it can free up my writing when I’m feeling blocked.  I quite like some of the sentences and phrases I’ve come up with above, and this post has taken me all of five minutes (before pretty picture addition).

And those bits I don’t like?  This once, I’m not going to change them.  Editor – back in your box.

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