One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve done more of my own writing over the past few months is the benefit of turning down the volume of my inner editor while you’re writing and having more than one pair of eyes going over what you’ve written even before it goes to your editor. I know many of you already employ critique groups or beta readers or both, but the usefulness of more than one pair of eyes has been made more than clear by my recent experiences of reading my own work.
While working on STUCK WITH A STIFF with D.D., I’ve tried to keep my internal editor in check while writing so I don’t end up overriding the creative side of the process. That is not easy. I’m the sort of person who can take ten minutes playing with a sentence until I think it sounds right and conveys exactly what I want it to convey to anyone reading it. In the past, I’ve found it nearly impossible to continue writing if I’m not completely satisfied with the sentence that I’m working on. Needless to say, that can bring the writing process to a screeching halt. It’s also not a tendency that can easily be turned off. However, with some gentle prodding from my co-author, I have managed to (for the most part) muffle my inner editor and just write.
This brings me back to the extra pair of eyes. Over the past several weeks, I have been intensely busy, and, as a result, my writing schedule has been somewhat irregular. At one point, I was kept away from my writing for more than a week. When I came back and began reading what I had written with fresh eyes, issues popped off the page that I would have caught in a second if I happened to be reading someone else’s work. In this case, the extra pair of eyes were my own more than a week removed from when I’d written what I was reading. I’m also not ashamed to say that D.D. has found some issues while proofreading what I’ve written. I’m quickly learning that writing as a team has more usefulness than just bouncing ideas off one another about where you want to go creatively.
I’ve actually asked a few editing clients if anyone has proofread their stories before sending them to me. Some have actually said no. Let’s just say that, in those cases, it was a rhetorical question. The answer was clear before the question was posed. While it’s necessary to tame your inner editor in order to let your writing voice flow unencumbered onto the page/screen, it’s just as important to make sure that your muffled inner (and outer) editor(s) be given time to voice her/his/their opinion(s) on the subject after the creative portion of the process has ended.