You know that voice in your head that tells you you’re an idiot and that all your writing is crap? Stop listening to her! Unless she’s being reasonable, of course. But in general, she’s not. (Let’s be honest, she’s a bit of a bitch.) She’s always going on about the statistics of getting published and how your story doesn’t make any sense. Fortunately, I have found a good way of shutting that irritating voice up…
Write really frickin’ fast!
Write as fast as you can, preferably when you’re still a bit sleepy or a little bit tipsy. Basically, write when your ‘negative inner monologue’ isn’t awake. And do not give it the chance to wake up by dawdling/chewing your pen/making a coffee. Don’t worry about how long your sentences are, how the narrative arcs are working or whether it even makes sense! Just get the words down on paper.
Now, you’ve got a couple of thousand words under your belt and your feeling cheerful. Well done! Treat yourself to a walk and that coffee that you’ve been craving – smug grin is optional. Have a little break from your work, you deserve it.
An hour or so later your going to come back to your writing and find some bad news. I’m afraid… half of what you’ve written is rambling rubbish. However, the other half is wonderful, natural, straight-from-the-heart storytelling! You’ve got down exactly what you wanted to say before you’ve even had breakfast, and it’s half-decent. That’s an accomplishment in any writer’s day!
All you have to do now is chop away the ‘still half asleep’ bits and keep the ‘amazingly creative’ bits. Obviously, I’m making that sound easier than it is but that’s where that bitch Janice comes in. (I find it helps if you can name your nasty writing voice.) Call your ‘nagging inner voice’ back to work and get editing.
I’ve been advised to do this ‘writing fast, editing later’ technique myself and it’s worked. Time after time, I’ve spent hours editing and rewriting things before I’ve even finished the page. At the end of the day, I’ll ask someone to read it and they will immediately pick out all the mess and mistakes. Then, I’ll spend an hour scribbling down a chapter just to get it done, the same person will read it and say it’s the best thing I’ve ever written!
So, don’t ignore [insert name of relentless inner voice here] completely but don’t let them interrupt your writing time either!
PS. Sorry if your name is Janice…