Thursday, May 26, 2011

Telling that little voice to "Shut up!"

When I was younger, I was so oblivious to how bad of a writer I was. I bubbled with how great I thought my writing and stories were, and so confident about them. I've improved a ton on my writing as I've gotten older, but with improving writing, so comes the knowledge of what is good and what isn't. As I go along in my WIP now, sometimes that little voice pops up, "This doesn't make any sense. No one would want to read this. Sure you got the idea, but the execution is horrible."

I hope think that the voice is partially wrong. "It's a first-draft," I say to the degrading voice. "I know it has flaws, but I'll improve it come editing! Just SHUT UP and let me write!"

I really think at this point, it's all I can do. Just telling that voice to shut up. In the book on writing by Gail Carson Levine, Writing Magic, she talked about having this voice in her head, too. And considering she wrote my favorite childhood novel Ella Enchanted I'm not taking this as a bad sign. I'm taking it, in a way, as a good sign. That first, I can recognize the weak points in my writing and improve them. And second, that the mean voice isn't always right. It's just being critical at times with no purpose to it.

Do you get this same little voice in your head? What do you do about it?


  1. Eek! Yes, I do get that mean voice in my head sometimes. LOL. It's the inner editor in all of us.

    I had a friend once who bought a gremlin doll (from that 80's movie) and used that to symbolize his inner editor. Everytime he worked on the first draft, he tucked it in a drawer. Then, when time came to edit, he propped it beside the computer.

    It's a love hate relationship, to be sure! No worries! You'll find your balance. Sounds like you're well on your way already to understanding how to work with that pesky yet necessary troll. ;)

  2. Yes! During the creative phase you MUST mute the voice! Otherwise you will squelch your creativity. I've heard someone say the first go around on a novel is "what you want to say". The next phase is getting it "the way you want to say it". Keep at it; sounds like you're on the right track.

  3. Yes, definitely. And often the voice is right. But the only way to get to the good stuff is through the bad stuff, it's not like there's a secret way round it. So whether it's good or bad I still have to get to the end before I can fix it.


  4. For every negative voice, every bad thing your inner editor says, there's also your positive voice, the voice of your creativity. Each has its place and time. :)

  5. Yeah, that voice is like one of those mean girls from Jr. High who won't let you join their clique. Time to silence the bitch and tell her to go do something productive. Like pick out your outfit for your first book signing.