How to put your (inner) editor in time out

As much as I would like to fire my editor, I can’t. She lives in my head.

My inner editor is, at times, necessary and appropriate.  I need filters for my mouth – particularly when someone is wearing (mumble mumble mumble… my editor made me delete this part).


I need filters for my brain sometimes – particularly when I’m tempted by the steady stream of garbage and vitriol that is never more than a click away

(Netflix and TMZ, I’m talking about you.)

I even need my inner editor (filter) for my writing – particularly when my kids do something totally embarrassing or when I’m ticked off at my husband.

(I do my best not to air dirty laundry.)


putting your inner editor in time out

I don’t always need filters.

When I’m brainstorming ideas, I want them all on the paper in their raw unfiltered form.

When I’m writing a rough draft, I need to get all the idea out before I start fiddling with the words.

When I’m obsessing and trying to be perfect, I just need to let it go.

Sometimes, I need to put my editor in time out.

inner editor in time out

Five ideas that work for me?

1. Just. Hit. Publish.   Honestly, the world will not come to an end if it isn’t perfect. Even professional publications (the ones with full time paid editors) have the occasional typo or incorrect fact or weirdly phrased paragraph.

In three years of blogging, I’ve never had my former English teachers email me with something along the lines of “I taught you better.”  Besides, you can always go back and “fix” it after you hit publish.

2. Free write.  For well over a year, I participated faithfully in the Five Minute Friday community. It helped me turn my editor off.

The upfront premise is that you write for five minutes and then publish. No heavy editing. No long laborious editing. Just write and push publish. There were times I pushed publish on something I KNEW was not my best work. But it was ok because… it was just five minutes. At least I got points for being authentic and real.

3. Separate write and edit.  Instead of spending 30 minutes writing and then 30 minutes editing the same thing, write for twice as long one day and then edit the next.

If that seems impossibly short to you, try the five minute thing. You can get an amazing number of words written in a short time when you turn off the editor.

4. Change tools.  Personally, I can’t shut my editor off if I’m writing in my blog’s publishing tools. But when I write off-line, my fingers can fly. It’s a small change that pays off in big ways.

5. Do it daily.  Commit to writing every day, even when you don’t publish. Commit to writing daily, even when you don’t think you have anything to say. Commit to writing every day, even when you don’t think you have time.

Every day, no matter what, put your editor in time out for five solid minutes and write for the love of writing.

sometimes i need to put my editor in time out

Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I have found the write in one session and edit in another session to work well. I think it is tough to proofread your own work without stepping away for a while. A little separation helps give a fresh perspective, indeed!
    Mo recently posted..The Three Best Things You Can Do For Your ChildrenMy Profile

  2. A Quote from Jonathan Franzen
    “Every good writer I know needs to go into some deep, quiet place to do work that is fully imagined. And what the Internet brings is lots of vulgar data. It is the antithesis of the imagination. It leaves nothing to the imagination.”


    Your graphics (5 ideas to put …) are awesome!

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