Day Five: The One Rule

(Day 5) The One Rule (2)

I’m not big on rules. I like things to be easy going and flexible. But I do have one.

No editing until the first draft is done.

That’s a tough rule, because I have this lady who lives in my head. She’s my inner editor and she’s got serious control problems.

Her name is Blythe.


Blythe and my brain are in cahoots. Just as I get to the second Act of whatever I’m writing at any given time, my writer’s brain starts throwing up any excuse it can think of to get me out of the hard work of writing.

And then Blythe pipes up and insists that editing is writing.

In fact, editing is more important than writing.

It makes perfect sense to spend all my writing time making the paragraph I wrote yesterday as perfect as possible.

When really, really, really the only thing that counts when we’re drafting, Ninja Writer, is writing. That means moving the story forward. And that means no editing until the first draft is done.

So, here’s what you have to do. Visualize your very own Blythe, and when she butts in and tries to bully you into starting to edit before your first draft is done, visualize her right into some kind of cave. Or hole. Or locked box.

Or, like me, put her in a bird cage. A fancy, old-fashioned one, with a velvet cover.

Let her back out when you actually need to edit. After the first draft is done.


Get out your notebook and write out your visualization about your inner editor. Describe her (or him. Or it.) Describe the cage or cave or pit you’re going to lock her up in. I know it sounds weird, but I swear it works.

Come on over to Facebook and introduce us to your Blythe.

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