Fire the internal editor for the first draft

robert de niro quoteAmateur Writer Mistake #3 — I went back to re-read the stuff from the day before. I thought it would help inspire me to continue forward and pick up where I left off. Selfishly, I wanted to recycle that dopamine hit from the day before. (You know, the one where you look back on your effort with pride, pat yourself on the back and bask in your own brilliance?) So I broke the rule and re-read. BAD idea. It’s the first draft and I know better. BAH! Yesterday’s brilliance is today’s folly and my inner editor was horrified. “Half as long! Half as long!!!! What is this meandering? Your character has changed his personality far too much! This stinks to high heaven!” (My inner editor shouts and isn’t the least bit kind.) I want to go back and re-write rather than move forward. Disappointed and overwhelmed with self-doubt, I consider quitting. The defeatist says, “what is the point of this?! I’m wasting my time! I’m going to make tons of mistakes.” (like I do in Life…uh oh…hello darkness my old friend….) And then, imaginary friends, the writing stops. I’ve paralyzed myself with doubts and negativity. Logically, I know how the process works: Write it all out in a rush, go back and refine, then refine some more, and polish it. Next, pass it to someone else so they can rip it to shreds. Then fix it and refine it. On and on it goes until maybe, it’s as good as it’s gonna get and you send it out into the cosmos. If you’re lucky, someone reads it. Then you might be allowed to crawl into someone’s head and run amuck providing new experiences and imagery forming a temporary connection. Is that the pay-off, the temporary connection? (*mind explodes*) Well, let’s not think too long about that right now. There are stories to be told, ideas to be shaped and sentences to be sculpted. Here comes the dopamine!

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