The Internal Editor (I.E. for short) can be a rather tough cookie for us writers. "She" can be loud, obnoxious and noisy and tends to be a blabbermouth. Now, of course, I reference I.E. as a she because "she" is a part of me.
I am sure there are those who appear to have no internal editor and just write like they think, talk, react- giving little thought to grammar, punctuation, tense, sentence structure, etc. I'm sure they have an internal editor hidden somewhere, but perhaps not nearly as mouthy or prominent as others. Perhaps he/she hasn't grown into the behemoth most of us writers have grown to know, love and hate.
Our internal editors are helpful when it comes to revisions, but when writing a first draft of a novel- sometimes not so much. It depends on how we balance out the logic with the fantasy of what we write. Sometimes our I.E. is so locked in on corrections and perfection that it overpowers our ability to write what's in our heart.
"Writer's Block" sometimes settles in as our Internal cautions us that we need to "fix" everything before we can move on. Other times, our characters give up even trying to tell their story because they have to fight and scream over Internal's constant criticisms about what's been told so far, or how it's written and how wrong we are.
Everyone's method of getting their stories down is different. I've found, that for me, it works best when I bind and gag my I.E., toss her in the closet and slip her a little nourishment from time to time so that she doesn't die completely while I type my little heart out.
I'm not ashamed of her by any means. She's a hard worker and points out the things I need to fix, polish, edit, reword, rework, etc.... but there comes a point where I can't think for all the sputtering nonsense she overflows with while I'm in the middle of a first draft.
She drowns out the heart of my story and makes me doubt myself and my ability to write. I have to make her leave for a while because I can't concentrate on what my characters are telling me or follow their lead if I keep listening to her and going back to change this or that.
Do you listen to your Internal Editor while you write your first draft? Or do you lock him/her away until you reach The End?
Is there any way to balance writing and internal editing? Can you do both with success simultaneously? Can they work together in harmony or does there need to some boundary line- a division- between the two?
This has been a recent topic of discussion on fellow writer, Devon Matthews' blog. Feel free to join in the discussion here or there.
What works best for you? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.