It isn’t a question of doing more work. It’s more
of your own internal critic that goes, “You could do
better than that. Take thehigher road, not the easy route.”
Lately I have become almost obsessed with doing better. Everything I’ve learned about writing the last two years has clicked – almost audibly – in my head and meshed together in a canvas of information. And I get it. I understand it all and I know how to apply it to my writing.
This determination, this focus to become better has taken over my writing – demanded my energy be spent pushing myself to not only visit, but to actually write inside my fear zones. These fears are different for every writer. More than likely you are aware of these in your own writing. And more than likely your internal editor has been nagging you about them.
I used to think I didn’t have an internal editor and couldn’t understand why it took some people 30 minutes to write a single page. “Just get on with it and write the darn thing,” I thought. Then I realized that it’s not that I don’t have an internal editor, I just knew how to ignore him. This worked great while I was flying through my rough drafts, but during revisions and rewrites when it was time to invite him back into my office, I continued to lock the door. I simply ignored what I knew was there – I wasn’t digging deep enough and I wasn’t working hard enough. I instead focused on the stuff that was (I hesitate to use this word) easy and skipped the work that would make my books great.
How many times have you heard fellow writers tell you to ignore that internal editor? If you’ve ever been to a workshop on time management, you probably have. This concept serves a specific and necessary function when it comes to getting our stories, in their purest forms, onto the page. But there comes a time when we must listen to our internal editors. We must comply to that sneaky little voice that tells us that this scene could be stronger or that our favorite subplot really serves no purpose to the book. Be careful to not confuse this with the berating voice of doubt that questions your very ability as a writer. Simply allow your internal editor to push you to work harder, to face your fears and to be your best
I’ve been listening to mine and I find myself with an incredible desire to push myself farther than ever before to make myself the best writer I can be. I have to admit that it terrifies me. I worry that my best won’t be good enough. I’m concerned that while I understand what I need to do to strengthen my writing that I won’t know precisely how to do it, or worse, that I’ll (bite your tongue) do it wrong. Until I try though, I’ll never know.
Robyn Ratliff has been a member of RWA since 1996. She currently serves as President and Webmaster to her RWA Chapter, San Antonio Romance Authors. She writes historicals set in Victorian England and is currently dividing her time between writing her next book and Agent Quest.
Copyright © 2007. Robyn DeHart. All Rights Reserved.