My Inner Editor is Kind of a Jerk

Note: This piece was originally posted in 2013. It has been edited to better reflect current thoughts.

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, I sat at my desk with drooping eyes trying, somewhat desperately, to write a couple new posts. As I typed, my inner editor stared at the page and repeatedly said, “Nope. That sucks. Try again.” I continued typing, trying as best I could to write something, anything, but nothing worked.

At some point, while frustrated and ready to fling my laptop off the balcony, I texted my husband telling him my inner editor is a pesky, demanding bastard. He replied, “Of course.” 

I’ll admit that sometimes I do like my inner editor because he prevents me posting really stupid stuff. Not all of the time mind you, but most of the time. Other times, he’s an overly critical, cantankerous jackass who I’m convinced is on a mission to destroy all my attempts at writing anything worthwhile.

Several years ago while attending community college, an instructor of mine helped me learn how to silence the inner editor and just write. It was about discipline and training myself to not edit until I have finished writing. It came in handy in the campus newsroom when I had to write 500 word articles on deadline or I had an essay due on Monday morning and I procrastinated until 7 p.m. the night before.

What I ended up realizing is that my inner editor seems to thrive on deadlines, pressure, and procrastination. All the more reason for me to consider him an asshole whose mission is to make my writing life hell.

I don’t want to write only on deadlines. Yes, sometimes it is entertaining to write an essay at 10 p.m. when I have a 10 a.m. class the next day. However, it was much more fun when I was 25. At 36, it seems like unnecessary drama. And quite frankly, when I am tired I have no interest in writing. I just want to go to bed and pass out. That is about the only time I have no problem with my editor. At that point we’re usually on the same page (see what I did there?).

They say writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s true. Battling with one’s inner editor almost daily is likely to send the weak running in fear. Can’t say I blame them. For me, writing is a calling. And frankly, despite the fact my inner editor is a bit of a jerk, I’d still rather be writing than doing something I loathe.