If you are a writer, you know about the voice inside your head that talks non-stop while you try and work on your writing. It may give you advice on how to fix what you just wrote. It may tell you you're no good at writing and that you should take up a different hobby. It may just distract you.

This voice is your Inner Editor. Here are four ways to control your Inner Editor and keep it from distracting you as you write.

No more words

Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer

1. Draw a picture.

What does your Inner Editor look like? When it talks to you, is it tall or short? Skinny or fat? Mean or condescending? Is it a boy or a girl? Picture your inner editor and draw exactly what he or she looks like on a piece of paper.

Then put a piece of duct tape over his or her mouth. Your Inner Editor needs to be quiet while you're writing!

2. Put your Inner Editor away!

Now that you have a picture of your Inner Editor, you need to put it somewhere where you can't hear it.

It's going to be hard for it to talk with that duct tape over its mouth, but just to be safe, put the picture in a spot far away from your writing area. Some good spots to put it is in a junk drawer, under your bed, at the bottom of your hamper, or, better yet, in a safe with a combination lock.

Wherever you put it, make sure it's no where near your computer or your writing desk.

3. Write.

Ahh . . . You hear that silence? Isn't it so much easier to concentrate and write now that your Inner Editor is silent?

Sit down at your writing desk or computer and write. Work on a current project or a completely new one. If you can still hear your Inner Editor, you haven't hidden it well enough. Make sure he or she is completely hidden before you write.

4. Edit.

Congratulations! You were able to write without your Inner Editor bothering you! Now it's time to edit. You've written a story, poem, report, or something else without your Inner Editor telling you what to do.

Now that you need to edit what you just wrote, go get your Inner Editor out from under your bed or wherever you put it, rip the duct tape off of its mouth, and let it jabber away.

Now that it's time to edit, you could use its help!

Do you have problems taming your inner editor? What do you do to stop it from distracting you from writing?


Draw a picture of your Inner Editor, put the duct tape on its mouth, take a picture of it, and hide it. Then free write for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, feel free to bring your Inner Editor back out for revisions. Post your free write in the comments section, and if you want, upload your picture of your Inner Editor.

Have fun!

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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