Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


My internal editor

My fears about writing begin with the first draft. Like a student who thinks, "My teacher will hate this." I think, "My editor won't buy this." But is this the time to be thinking that way? This is the first draft. Teacher nor editor will see the story yet. This is the time to create not to panic.

To stop my super-critical internal editor I pretend that a monkey is my real editor. I blind fold her eyes. I also cover her ears because I read aloud everything I write. I also have a Lego doll that I call Dr. Speller. Dr. Speller sleeps throughout my first draft. If something negative still comes to my mind I put it in brackets. [This is stupid.] In other words, I write everything that comes to my mind. Because, if I stop writing, my brain freezes.

In my second draft the brackets are deleted. In the third draft I wake up Dr. Speller. The monkey stays blindfolded until I feel the story is as good as I can make it. I read it aloud for the monkey to hear it. Tweak it here and there, and off it goes to the real editor.

It still comes back bloody with corrections and suggestions in red ink. But the editor likes it and buys it.


Lauren said...

Carmen, I like how you keep writing-- the brackets-- giving notice to the critical voices seems a perfect way to acknowledge them, but not let them slow you down or even worse, stop you! And the vision of a monkey and Mr. Speller is great-- you are never alone in your studio!

Christy said...

Yes! Delightful, Carmen. I think you are on to something that will help us all. Thank you!

Edie said...

Your Dr. Speller and the monkey are both valuable and tangible ways of dealing with your writing fears! Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like you have a great system to alleviate the fears:)

David LaRochelle said...

I like how you ended your post, Carmen: despite all those fears, in the end, the editor likes your work and buys it. And that wouldn't have happened if you had let your fears take charge.

Mark said...

Funny and insightful post, Carmen. I need to get me a monkey!!!