Keli Gwyn
Six Strategies for Silencing Your Internal Editor

Eagle Eye, the Internal Editor

Is your Internal Editor friend or foe?

It can be both.

When we’re in the midst of revisions, the Internal Editor is our ally. But when we’re pouring forth a rough draft, we don’t need that critical voice hampering our creativity.

An over-eager Internal Editor is one of Twelve Troublemakers that plagues me as a writer. I’m exploring one a week. This is the fourth the series.

Creativity needs free rein.

I’m in the early stages of planning my next book. This past weekend, my wonderfully supportive hubby and resident plotting partner and I spent several hours brainstorming ideas. Watching a story evolve was exciting.

In the near future, I’ll begin writing my first draft. When I do, it will be important to let the words flow freely. There will be plenty of time for editing later, and I’ll gladly welcome the assistance of my Internal Editor.

For now, I have to evict Eagle Eye, not an easy task for a recovering perfectionist like me.

Here are six strategies that can help silence the Internal Editor.

  1. Work fast.
  2. Embrace the joy of creation.
  3. Adopt an “anything goes” philosophy.
  4. Have a goal of getting words on the page.
  5. Resist the urge to read what’s already written.
  6. Remember that there will be time to edit later.

* * *

When do we release the Internal Editor? The answer will vary from one writer to the next.

For those who work best by remaining in the zone, forging ahead is key. For others, like me, who prefer to edit as we go, making an intentional shift from creative mode to editing mode can help.

I write on screen during the day and edit on hard copy in the evening. When I’m at the keyboard, I use the strategies above. When I work on printed pages, I make notes by hand. Separating the tasks this way helps me switch from writing to revising and back again.

I’m the first to admit I don’t have this down. There are days when my Internal Editor casts a critical eye over my story during the creative stage and I have to bind and gag the intruder, shove it outside my office, and shut the door.

* * *

Making Wise Use of Your Internal Editor . . . and a Drawing

How do you silence your Internal Editor while writing your first drafts?

When do you invite your Internal Editor out to play?

One person who leaves a comment and answers one of these questions will win the eagle pictured above. If you don’t have a use for this cute little Folkmanis finger puppet, you could always share it with a child or grandchild.

I’ll hold the drawing Sunday, March 6th and post the winner’s name in the post published the next day, when I’ll introduce the next of the Twelve Troublemakers.

Yammers, the Yakkity Yak from last Monday’s drawing went to Tamika Eason.

Odds of winning vary based on number of entrants.
I’ll ship to U.S. and Canadian addresses only.
Offer void where prohibited.
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Keli Gwyn
Facebook Author Pages

Getting a Facebook author page is a snap.

I set up Keli Gwyn, Author this week, and it took just a few minutes.

Why did I chose to add an author page when I already have a personal page?

I want a place where readers can go to find out information about my book when it’s released. Sure, they could go to my regular Facebook page where I talk about my book on occasion, but there’s a limit to how many “friends” I can have, whereas there’s no limit as to how many can join an author’s page.

Another reason for having an author page is that it’s public. To join the group, all a reader has to do is click “like.” There’s no waiting around for me to approve friend requests.

Having separate pages for my personal and professional sides serves me well.

Readers will be more interested in hearing about my books than about my frequent trips to Taco Bell. (And I do mean frequent. :-)) By keeping my promotional posts on my author page, I won’t bore the non-romance-reader friends on my personal page with information about my guest blogging appearances, book giveaways, and such.

So, I have an author page. Now I need to figure out what to put on it. Time to get creative.

* * *

What types of things do you like to see on an author’s Facebook page?

Have you considered setting up an author page?

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Keli Gwyn
3 Tips for Making Wise Use of Social Networking Time

photobucket image by papaauto

Many of us struggle to make wise use of our online time.

When I wrote my last post, Are You a Social Media Junkie?, I suspected that I’m not alone in my desire to manage this aspect of my writing life.

Social networking is not only fun, but it’s an important part of a writer’s marketing and promotion efforts. We know our web presence will come into play when we’ve sold a book. Even those who might shy away from social networking are strongly encouraged to incorporate it into their day. Some publishers expect it. I’ve had published friends tell me that they’re contractually required to be active on Facebook and Twitter.

As I admitted in my last post, I didn’t have a surefire plan for managing my social networking time, so I went in search of one. There are a plethora of blog posts on this topic, and the same tips come up repeatedly. I’ve put my spin on them in tips 1 and 2. Tip 3 comes from personal experience.

1) Learn

Many bloggers advocate finding out where we’ve been spending our time by keeping a log for one week. In order to gain the most from this exercise, we have to be truthful and specific. Instead of lumping all online time as “social networking,” break it down.

Include categories for writing your blog posts and for reading others’. Make separate entries for the time you spend on Twitter, on Facebook, on Linked In, and other sites you visit. For those who are members of Yahoo! groups, note the time you spend reading your digests and responding to group members.

At the end of the week, take an honest look at your log. Avoid the tendency to judge yourself harshly. The goal here is to use this information to make informed choices in the future and, thereby, gain control over this aspect of your writing life.

2) Limit

Armed with the results of your log, decide how much time you want to spend on each of your social media sites based on how much discretionary time you have in your day. Would half an hour at the beginning of the day and another at the end fit into your plan? Perhaps using social networking as a reward for meeting your word count or writing time goals would work for you.

Once you’ve decided when social networking best fits into your schedule and how long you’ll spend online, set a timer. There are a number of online timers available, or you can use a kitchen timer. The important thing is to stop when the buzzer goes off.

3) Let Go

If you’re like me, you set up a plan and launch into it determined to make it work. In my case, things don’t always work out as planned. I might do great for a few days, and then I’ll blow it, lose momentum, and be tempted to give up.

In order to make my plan work, I have to let go of unrealistic expectations. Sure, I have a plan, but things are going to happen. Rather than viewing my attempt to follow through as a failure and calling it quits, recovering perfectionist me needs to cut myself slack and forge ahead with the plan.

Sometimes, nixing the plan for a day or so is a wise decision. For example, I might write a better-than-average blog post, for which my awesome agent tweets a link, and have a flood of new visitors leaving comments. In that case, I’d want to respond to each person, which would require more than my allotted social networking time. In that case, I’d make a conscious decision to take the time to respond to each new visitor in a private email.

Coming up with a plan for making the most of our social networking time is wise. That’s how we’ll gain mastery over this aspect of our writing life, so it’s a step we need to take.

As Carl W. Buechner said, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

* * *

Do you know how much time you spend on social networking?

Have you set up a plan for visiting your social media sites?

Does perfectionism cause you to forego your plans?

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Keli Gwyn
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