Taming my Inner Editor-Hater

The other day, an acquaintance of mine sent me one of the coming to Jesus corrective notes, and I never feel good when I receive those.  I was feeling pretty shitty anyway, and then when I read what she wrote, it tapped into my inner hater.  Some people have inner critics but I have an inner hater and when she gets going, she’s a bloody beast.  Even as I felt shitty about the things she said about me, I couldn’t figure out what the hell she was talking about because she called me arrogant.  She also called me phony and hypocritical and condescending, and I think I am guilt of the latter but never of the former two characteristics.  But the thought of seeming arrogant made me want to laugh, but I was too depressed to laugh, so I smirked a little bit.  If only she knew.  If only she knew about my inner hater.

You see, the God’s honest truth is that I am one of the most insecure, sensitive women I know.  I almost wrote “in the world” but that seems vainglorious, to think I’m the most insecure women in the world. That takes effort and skill, or at least notoriety to reach “most” anything status does it not?  I can’t really claim most insecure or self-destructive woman status, but instead of reassuring me that I’m a little bit okay, it sort of pisses me off.  Come on!  Can’t I be special even in my failure?  No, I joke!  That is my dark sense of humor.  I swear.  Maybe.  Sort of.

What makes me so difficult to comprehend is that I hide my feelings so tightly.  My therapist says that I lock my feelings away as if I were running a nuclear containment facility, as if I fear that any tear or show of vulnerability will prove poisonous to those around me.  Okay, so that’s why she’s got the sergeant’s stripes and gets paid to analyze cocky, insecure, smirking writers for a living.  And now that I am chipping away at the fences that guard my inner core, I am feeling like a hurting, frightened, and very vulnerable little girl most of the time.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s not such an auspicious time to admit that I’m all insecure and neurotic about my writing.  Hell, I’m insecure and neurotic about almost everything, but for the first time since I kicked my legal career to the curb like the plague-bearing rodent that it was, I am receiving edits and criticism.  And it’s good, helpful, constructive stuff from the very best writing partner in the world.  See?  It’s not vainglorious to use the modifier “in the world” when you’re talking about someone else, right?  No?  I didn’t think so either.

The thing is, I know this is what I need.  I don’t need for someone to keep telling me I’m brilliant.  Secretly, I swear to God, I think I have talent.  I think I can write the doors off just about anything, and nothing makes me happier than spinning a perfect paragraph.  My shit is raw and real and deep, but it is far from perfect.  The problem is that when I see the words “far from perfect” what I read is “it sucks.”  I suck.  And it doesn’t take me more than a second or two before my inner hater takes that shit and runs with it.  I don’t want to talk about my inner hater too much.  She likes attention but I am going to walk her over to the rocking chair and give her a few coloring books to play with while I work.

Okay.  There.  She is sitting by the window with a black crayon, doing her hating thing.  And I have a plan.  I want to say a few words of encouragement to myself.  It goes like this.

“Keep writing El.  Stay true.  Be real.  I can’t wait to hear what you come up with next.  To get better, you need to keep throwing more and more words on the canvas, and don’t get frustrated when you don’t capture it all exactly right on the first draft.  Treat those edits like scraped knees; roll your sleeves up and get back to work.  You can do this.  It’s lonely and it is hard but you’ve never been afraid of hard work.  What you were afraid of was failure, but fear is crippling.  Love is invigorating.  Love the work you do each day.  It’s going to be okay.  I promise.  I love every word you write, even the words that get deleted.  You know why?  Because I love you. “

14 Comments on “Taming my Inner Editor-Hater

  1. El! Hooray! I’m sitting shotgun on that insecurity bus to vaingloria. You do have great things to say and how you say them doesn’t nearly stack up as high as the fact *that* you say them. Eberhard Faber made erasers for a reason, and I don’t always think they’re for “fixing” mistakes as much as they are for making things *stronger.*

    Consider your craft, your art and your passion in writing as you do your running: it is the exilir that feeds your soul and the action that builds your muscle. Just the fact that you *do* what you love, and that you do it exquisitely at that, is enough for me to wait for the next big thing you crqnk out. But don’t care about the extrinsic… Feed the intrinsic.

    Rock on.

  2. I can relate to this so much, I am terrified to have someone read and edit what I have written for my book proposal for fear they will say, why would anyone care about you Shannon? How is your story so special? Dear lord, that is going to suck! Perhaps that’s why I procrastinate! But you are a great writer and you are not arrogant and you love what you do. And yes, not everything will be perfect all the time, but writing is also subjective…so sometimes it’s ok for you to see it as perfect, because others will as well, maybe just not the person editing. Xo keep going…kisses for your knees. Shannon

    • El is right there are many writers out there with the ability to help if you so desire. And all of us have had that fear of why is your story so damn special, well the answer to that Shannon, El is because it’s special to me, I believe in it, I am the godess of this story, it is amazing and I will succeed, confidence dear ones will get you further than you believe, so BELIEVE!

  3. Thank you so much Shannon! And I can say for certain, my friend, that so many of us care and are willing to help with what you have written for your book proposal, including me. Your still is special . . . it is. xoxo right back to you!!