Writing with Your Gut, the Inner Editor, and Fear

One of those lessons I have to relearn and keep reminding myself of is that I need to write with my gut and my heart. When I try to write with my head, I get bogged down worrying about word choices or how marketable this might be or it’s too silly, ect. The Inner Editor gets a hold on me and my writing suffers. When I write with my gut, I tap into the deep well of imagination and sometimes I can fly. It’s the kind of magic that surrounds NaNoWriMo. Giving yourself permission to suck and to write crazy things actually produces better writing. Sure, it’s going to need editing, but it’s much more alive than something written with the Inner Editor nagging away, sterilizing and second-guessing everything you do.

My Inner Editor has been particularly good at making me afraid lately. I can’t remember the last time I was as nervous about a story as I am with Erik’s Tale. I’m taking something with a history and a legacy and making it my own and the Inner Editor says, “Do you really think you’re good enough for this?” And I doubt. The Inner Editor says, “People are going to laugh at you for this, you know.” And I doubt. The Inner Editor says, “That’s even if they bother to care about it. You know no one actually cares about this but you, and you’re wasting your time, right?” And I doubt some more.

Usually I will gleefully share what I’m working on with everyone and anyone. During NaNo I was all, “Air pirates and magic and steampunk! Whee!” When I was working on Through the Fire I smiled and said, “Demons! And war in Hell, oh and it’s a love story too!” With Erik’s Tale? I look down and go *mumble mumble*. And it’s not that I don’t love my crazy little story. I absolutely adore it. I talked one of my beta reader’s ears off about the plot and characters (and I have suckered her into looking at the background material so she knows what I’m working from for my version). I have a huge amount of passion for this story, but I’m afraid of what everyone else will think.

So I’m trying to get over my fear of talking about Erik’s Tale, and training myself to ignore the Inner Editor while I’m in the wilds of the first draft. The first draft is all about the gut and the heart, the passion I have for the story that made me want to write it in the first place. Fear has no place here.


Writing with Your Gut, the Inner Editor, and Fear — 1 Comment

  1. Tell it, sister. The gut knows. The head is the watchtower where the prison guards hang out.

    As the aforementioned beta, I’m gonna say: watch this space. This is some wicked stuff.