Nov 052008

The Internet Review of Science Fiction has published this wonderful article by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold. It says everything I’ve ever tried to convince writers about writing without stopping to edit, all nicely wrapped up in an article — with a list of ways to silence that nasty internal editor.

Here’s another exercise to unlock your unconscious and stifle that editor, taught to me by a very good friend:

Sit down at your computer or blank sheet of paper and write anything and everything that comes to mind. It’s called ‘free writing’, similar to free association. Just let your mind wander and let your fingers follow it. The result will be nonsense, garbage — but that’s okay. That’s what you’re going for. I think part of mine went something like ‘fall down no wold too far’ or some such garbage. Do that until you are firmly inside your mind — fifteen minutes is probably a good target, if you need one.

Once that is out of your system, get another blank page and start to write. Just write. It can be your current work in progress or something completely different.

Many people who tried this exercise were completely amazed — all that style they were trying so hard to consciously develop just flowed onto the page.

That’s the power of your subconscious. Gag that infernal editor and throw him in the basement, only letting him out for revisions and edits. After all, who’s in charge here — you or him? Don’t let him stifle your creativity. Make him work for *you*.

  6 Responses to “Fast Writing, or Silencing the Inner Editor”

  1. Just_Me, the exercise is to free your inner writer from the chains of your inner editor. I somehow have a feeling you don’t have that problem. 🙂

    Good luck!

  2. Write everything that comes to mind? You’re cruel.

    Do you really want me to juggle another novel in the mix?

    If I ever run out of ideas, I may try this. Otherwise… no.

  3. Thanks, folks. I wasn’t ignoring you – honest. I’ve now figured out how to get automatic messages when someone leaves a comment.

    Hmm. If people are actually going to read this, I’d better keep it up better!

    And thanks for the PPT, Jenny Jill!

  4. Great post, thanks for the link to that excellent article. You might be interested in a free timed-writing program I developed called write attack.

  5. Great idea, and timely for NANOWRIMO.

  6. I saw your query. I have created a PPT for Internet Safety. Feel free to pass it on. Directed more at parents, it still gives some ideas. I have been doing some work with seniors – and intend writing about this issue. Meantime…I hope this helps!

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