Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 35: Ignoring My Inner Editor

As I get closer to finishing the last chapter of our book, I find my inner editor rearing her ugly head, and find  myself panicking at the chapters I have already shared with my book partner; thinking they are crap and need to be redone.

Luckily I have been writing long enough to know that usually I am my biggest critic and that my work is not as bad as I think. And, I have also discovered that even if I am right and it really does blow huge chunks, that's what the actual editing process is for.

Editing while writing is completely counterproductive because you use two different sides of your brain for each process. The quest for perfection actually blocks me and causes me to freeze up, not a good thing when you are working on a deadline. But writing nonfiction, especially historical nonfiction like this, means I also have to get my facts straight and get the best possible sources I can by conducting thorough research. The big danger when I am blocked and worried about my writing is that I will just research endlessly. "Ooh look a shiny object, now I am distracted." 

It can be so much more fun to follow something as far as you can. For example, I discovered that the person that Boyle Heights is named for was a vintner, and he was the first European settler east of the LA River and built the first brick house there. Then when I kept tracing his family, I found former city council members, a Mayor and that one of his heirs today sits on the board of the Los Angeles Historic Society and we might get the chance to sit down and talk to him.

But, as fun as that is for me, sharing these stories through our book is more important so that they are not lost as time goes on. So, to silence my inner editor I am using this very funny graphic I found a few weeks ago. 

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