How To Turn Off Your Inner Editor

By Joe Williams

An inner editor is that voice inside your head that seems to pop up whenever you’re writing just to tell you your writing sucks or you need to go back and change that paragraph or rewrite that entire chapter, etc.

In actuality, your inner editor is just you. And so what you say to yourself is entirely up to you.

When an inner editor reveals itself, uncertainty is present, and therefore you second-guess yourself. A lack of confidence–in your work and yourself–makes this self-defying subconscious appear.

Whatever weight you may be carrying on your shoulders, or the bothersome thoughts running through your head, ignore them and complete your writing piece with the assurance that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re doing it well.

Ideas flourish when minds think soundly, and confidence will enable your mind to think in that manner.

When writers get “stumped” on a word, or can’t finish a paragraph, they often get flustered, which causes the inner editor to appear. And then the writer doesn’t finish the piece with 100 percent confidence (and sometimes the writer doesn’t finish the piece at all).

Self-reliance is another key factor that needs to be present in order to dodge your inner editor.

Maybe you were counting on another person for an interview before you could write your article and now the person hasn’t called you back. Or maybe you were counting on your writing partner for some research, but they didn’t get it done.

No matter, if you go into any writing situation prepared to complete it, regardless of any obstacles, you’ll be better able to turn off your inner editor and get your writing done.

Push on when you think it may not be thorough enough or it’s beginning to ramble, because that’s not portraying confidence in your self and your work, and it will show in the writing.

Use your second draft to make changes.

For now, just get used to the fact that you are your own enemy and the moment you choose to remain confident, you’ll be able to turn off your inner editor and get your writing done.

Tips on How to Stay Confident

  • Come up with a writing affirmation–such as “I am a great writer” or “This piece of fiction is the best I’ve ever written”–and then repeat it to yourself whenever your inner editor pops up.
  • Post the affirmation by your writing area and refer to it whenever you feel your confidence shaking.
  • Use the voice recorder on your cell phone (or a handheld recorder if your phone doesn’t have one) and record yourself  a little pep talk. Play it back to yourself whenever you need a confidence boost.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself reaching your writing goal (whatever it may be). Visualizing yourself attaining your dreams will help give you the confidence you need to continue writing.
  • Ask your friends and/or family to make a list of all the great things about you. Refer back to the list often. (You can also make a list yourself.)
  • Stay focused on the task at-hand. It’s easy to get distracted while writing (this is usually when the inner editor starts popping up), so try to keep focused on just getting the words down and not thinking about or doing anything else until you do.

About the Author: Joe Williams is a rock-n-roll singer/songwriter. He creates original writing daily, and believes it’s important for writers to find their own style.

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