Sunday, March 27, 2011

The good ol' days

When I first started writing it was very carefree. I wasn't doing it for anyone but myself. I didn't think about adverbs, tense, fluff words or show not tell. Those things didn't matter to me because I didn't know about them. I just wrote.

Now though, writing is so different. Everything I've learned is crowded in my head, shouting rules to me as I write. I get anxious and nervous when I open a word file. Am I over using words? Is my plot on track? What if this part needs to be cut later? It's hard to sit down and write that first draft with no worries. I have to keep reminding myself: Just write. Once that's done go back and edit.

It makes me wish for those early days before I knew anything about writing. So carefree and full of unhindered creativity. It'd be kind of nice to get back to that. I'm not saying unlearn everything I know but forget temporarily until the first draft is done, then the knowledge can come back and I can start working on making the story into something decent.

It makes me wonder: Do all the rules and advice on writing hinder us once we start learning? When we get stressed over proper verb use or let thoughts of editing get in the way are we holding ourselves back? Maybe a little. Maybe when we open that new document we need to lock everything we know in a vault in our mind. Get our butt in the chair and write with no worries or cares about editing. Once that first draft is cranked out, we can open the vault of rules and knowledge. Turn that pile of words into a story that will capture the hearts of readers.


  1. I absolutely agree. The internal editor is a pain in the butt. It really doesn't matter if the first draft is rubbish and breaks the rules. No one is going to read it and we are going to edit it to within and in of it's life.

    Sometimes if I can get myself relaxed enough I can just write. This tends to be when I write in bed before sleeping. Maybe it's about finding a time/place where you can relax the most and the inner editor can't be bothered to come out.

  2. I totally agree!!! I can't worry about the mass of future editing I'm creating for myself when I sit down to write... but I do and it slows me down.

  3. I completely agree with you! The freedom that we had when we first started writing is hard to hold onto once the pressures of learning craft and becoming published come into play. I do think that in order to continue writing and not seize from panic, you have to lock away your inner editor until the actual editing process.

    A great book that really helped me free myself again is "Wild Mind" by Natalie Goldberg. This is exactly what she focuses on, teaching you how to balance out your writer and your editor.

  4. Rules were made to be broken... I think it's important to study grammar (so you internalize it and don't have to think about it), but nobody is always grammatically correct nor should they. And yeah, you can always correct something later.