The inner writer vs the inner editor


Before NaNoWriMo, I talked a lot about the inner editor and where she could go. The inner editor is always at war with the inner writer, even if there’s a temporary cease-fire in place. I haven’t finished my November NaNo novel yet (my goal was this Sunday, but I’m thinking that was wildly optimistic, with a week-long family trip next week, then Christmas, and all the things needed to get ready for both), and I have a novel in the queue for editing, and decided to do a clean-up edit on The Hoard of the Doges. Crazy.

So, now the inner writer and editor are warring again. I know a lot of people can write and edit at the same time. I’ve done it, but I don’t do it well. They’re two different hats, and I find it extremely hard to move from one to the other in the same day. I will probably need to conquer this to some degree, or set aside editing and writing days, but that’s in the future. Right now, I need to get the two sides working together.

The novel-in-waiting is a new genre for me, my Young Adult dystopian sci-fi fantasy. It’s written in a different style than my other books, and it is much more epic in scope, with many more characters, many more settings, many more complications. (Life on another planet after an alien take-over can be hell, let me tell you!) Where I have been able to hold all the threads together in my head and in notes for the others, this one may have a few loose strands. (I may have a few loose screws!)

I have been pondering farming the editing of this one out. Where I’ve had beta readers who’ve acted as my content editors before, I haven’t worked with a professional editor on a full edit before. I’m not totally sure about it, to be honest. I’ve spent a lot of money this year getting the three books produced and marketed, so money is definitely a consideration. (Thankfully, I’ve made money, too, and the expenses are tax deductible. But still, it’s cash out of pocket.)

Either way, I need to do an edit before I’m ready for an editor, and I think that’s going to end up being my beach reading next week. It’s never the physical, paper edit that’s the problem, it’s moving all those edits into the document on the computer that makes me feel like I’m going blind. But I hope that getting that done and getting back into the first book of my new world will let me know (yes, I’m waiting for some deep moment of inspiration/revelation…) the next step. I’ve already pushed my production date back some, so I have some breathing room.


Meanwhile, the inner writer needs to get her butt in gear and write. These last couple of weeks have been crazy with travel, migraines, basketball games and engagements (okay, one engagement…but it was exciting!). Not to mention Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the trip. We get back the night of the 23rd… So I’m panicking just a bit about our big Christmas Eve dinner. All of that is not very conducive to creative writing, I’ve found. But I’m so close to being done (maybe 15,000 words) that I just hate to have it hanging out there.

And then there’s the republishing edit of The Hoard of the Doges. I found some proofing errors (UGH) and am making a few small changes while I’m in there. Not a big deal, but it’s not a fast one, either, and I definitely want that done by the end of Saturday so I don’t have to lug 2 computers with me on the plane. (I use a pc based editing program, but usually use a Mac.)

Okay, I know. First World problems. Working in the third world with my non-profit, I realize that none of this is going to cause any sort of crisis, other than in my mind and stress level. And Christmas is supposed to be about family and love and peace and joy, and I definitely want to get in (and stay in) that spirit. And usually I do well under pressure (as long as migraines don’t get me), so I think I’ll be all right.

Well, honestly, whatever happens, I’ll be all right. Maybe the key is, especially during this season, to accept that whatever I get done is enough. Whatever I don’t get done will get done eventually. And I need to put on some good Christmas carols and do some deep breathing, making sure my priorities are in order.

How about you? Are you spending the 12 days before Christmas in peaceful spirit, or are you in full blown panic mode? If you’re a writer, are you going to write/edit during the second half of the month, or just enjoy a restful, restorative vacation?

countdown to christmas copy



Filed under Writing

4 responses to “The inner writer vs the inner editor

  1. I think it’s great you have goals. We have to keep the goals there so we don’t meander in a creative field. I do know sometimes those goals can collide at a time that is unrealistic to accomplish. For ex: since you asked. I had surgery on my foot. Great, I will have to sit down and be forced to be at my computer and get a lot done. It was unlike any surgery I had ever had and instead of pain pills for 2-3 days I needed them for 10. Then it was time to go back to work even though I couldn’t walk. They have devices to help with that. So my NanoWriMo goal and finishing up edits on my first novel stretched out a bit. But I’m ok with that. Like you said:
    “Whatever I don’t get done will get done eventually. And I need to put on some good Christmas carols and do some deep breathing, making sure my priorities are in order.”
    So thanks for reminding me, I’m not the only one who makes unrealistic goals and sometimes has to stretch the date. The great thing is we don’t stop writing or making those goals. We learn to loosen the belt of those goals much like we do when we eat Holliday meals. On the next day, we get back to the normal pace.

    • Ah! Excellent analogy with the belt loosening! (Esp since I was just making my Christmas meals shopping list!) Good luck with your foot – I had plantar fasciitis for about 8 mos and it is really frustrating since it’s not like you can stay off your feet ALL the time. Hope things are better now!

  2. Jennings,

    Would you like to be interviewed on

    It’s free of charge and I have an opening next week. I’d love for you to say yes=)

    Thor Stonewell

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