She sneaks up on me. A snarl freezes me, my fingers dance between the send and delete keys. The caustic drip of saliva trickles over my shoulder, splashing down on my keyboard in icy pools. She perches next to me, urging me to backspace my wretched pages into oblivion.
It’s the yeti inside my brain!
You may have your own yeti, it’s better known as an internal editor, and it’s an evil monster.
Insecurity strikes everyone, but many writers battle the yeti everyday and it can be our biggest hurdle. Of course we also need that voice, the one that makes us work harder and strive for perfection. But perfection isn’t real, and sometimes the yeti takes over, turning every decision into an agonizing internal debate.
Here are a few things to try when you need to silence the inner yeti.
Do something else for a while:
Tension feeds my yeti, the more stress I’m under the more I tend to find fault with what I’ve written. Getting away from the keyboard helps. I go for a walk, read for a while or I brew some tea. When I come back to the computer the yeti has retreated, I’m in a better frame of mind and more in control of my emotions.
Set a timer:
Sometimes I need to allow myself time to write without the yeti attacking a single word. Freedom from that fault-finding inner voice often helps clear a block and gets me rolling again. I also find turning off the monitor helps. If I can’t see what I’ve written the analytical side of my brain shuts up and lets me write. Once the timer rings I’m willing to invite the Yeti back into the discussion, but not a minute sooner.
Listen to pink noise:
There are tons of program apps for generating background noises. The one I have plays about 150 soothing sounds, rain, wind chimes, reed flutes, crickets and the sound of a campfire’s crackle. Background sounds drown out the yeti’s growls, block out environmental distractions, increases focus and feeds creativity. It’s a scientific fact, not just my opinion that pink noise works wonders.
Call in a friend:
When I keep writing and rewriting the same page, the chances are I’m just feeding the yeti, and he will gobble up every word and demand more. Calling in fresh eyes gives me some much need perspective, not to mention someone to brainstorm with if I’m stuck. We all get too close to our own work and we may need an outsider to help us put the brakes on a destructive revision cycle.
Sometimes I need to load the project into my Kindle, or print it out. Once I can experience the project like a real reader would, I see the work differently. It creates distance, helps me find mistakes and it’s exciting to see your work this way. It just might make you fall in love with your project all over again, it works for me.
Remove the backspace key:
An extreme solution, and one that you may need to consult an expert for. I am huge believer in removing keys. I never keep the shift lock key on my keyboard, I pop that sucker the moment I get a new computer. The act of backspacing is too easy! If I make myself cut and paste I have to think about what I’m doing in a different way. Again removing keys is not for everyone. If you’re squeamish about defiling your lovely keyboard, try some double-sided tape as a reminder.
Do you have a yeti hanging around inside your head? If so please share your favorite tips for sending him packing.
Up next…. Z The last day of the Blogging A – Z Challenge