When to Tell Your Inner Editor to Shut Up!

We’re not supposed to tell people to shut up. We’re supposed to be polite and considerate.

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Icon Design by Creative Freedom
All copyright for Shimmer Icons belongs to Creative Freedom Ltd.

I’m here to tell you that sometimes we need to tell our inner editor to shut up.

I’m not saying we don’t need to edit our work. On the contrary, I even wrote this post,Ā 7 Tips for Self-Editing, but there is a time and a place for said editing.

When you’re writing your first draft, I strongly advise you not to edit. Let your ideas flow. If you try to edit now, you may never finish your novel. Or worse yet, you’ll stifle your creativity.

There is another voice, one that may or not be your inner editor. The one that tells you this isn’t any good. Why on earth did you think you could be a writer? You should just give up before anyone discovers you can’t really write.

These, my friends, are the voice of the enemy. Do not believe his lies.

Recently, I heard these words burn through my mind. When you begin to hear the lies, turn to our source of truth. Pray that God’s voice would be the only one you would hear. Ask Jesus to silence everything that is not from Him.

I’ve started doing this every time I sit down to write. It is making a huge difference. We can choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

If you’re trying to write your first novel or first draft of a new project, focus on getting it all out on paper or the computer screen. It’s fine to check and make sure your book is keeping in check with your outline and overall story and character goal, but don’t try to make it perfect.

Have you ever had to tell your inner editor to shut up? Do you have any tips to keep yourself going when you feel like giving up?

14 Replies to “When to Tell Your Inner Editor to Shut Up!”

  1. Ah my inner editor is a hard taskmaster indeed. Thanks for the timely reminder that the trash talk does indeed come from the enemy – I hadn’t thought to pray over my writing before.

    1. Raewyn, (love your name by the way)

      Pray over your writing and I think you’ll be surprised to see the difference. I’m glad for any truth I can help spread. šŸ™‚

  2. I love this! So true! I completely agree about not editing yourself on the first draft–although when I go back on round two, I often think there are parts that were done by an epileptic monkey rather than my awesome self. šŸ™‚

    Great post!

    1. Epileptic monkey made me laugh out loud. Thanks! Honestly, I’ve had to completely re-write parts on my second go round. But at least I had a finished book to re-write, right? šŸ™‚

  3. Unfortunately, I did exactly that….started editing my first draft of my first MS before I finished it….and guess what? Two years later its still not finished and I’ve given up šŸ˜¦

    Can definitely echo your advice Melissa…I only wish someone had said it to me a year ago!


    1. Vikki, I’d encourage you to start a new project w/ duct tape over your inner editor’s mouth. So much of writing is learning from each project and taking that on to the next. November being Nano is the perfect time to jump start a new MS.

      1. Oh definitely Melissa!

        The duct tape is here on the shelf and I have an outline for this years Nano…I’m raring to go!

        Thank you šŸ™‚


  4. It’s difficult to get my inner editor to shut up when I myself work as an editor. During NaNo this year I will have to try my hardest to push this editor to the darkest corner of my mind so I can write in peace!

  5. Melissa, thank you for the reminder to pray before writing. Regarding the editing, I constantly feel the enemy whispering over my shoulder that my writing is never going to be good enough. No matter how much I edit, I feel I need to do it ‘just one more time.’ I thank God for the blessing of a writing partner who encourages and prays for me and my writing. God bless you, Morgan!

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