I have this problem where I always just can't seem to be satisfied by my choice of words resulting it me never getting far in writing.

Almost every sentence I would think "This isn't the kind of thing I would say.." But the other part of me is thinking "This is how I want to be portrayed". Which is effectively "I want to be this person that I imagined".

While writing this I just realized I may be posting this question in the wrong place. And that I l'm only referring to writings in regards to self branding. But this is where I see to be most appropriate to ask for help.

p.s. i had to force myself to minimize any edits and even submit this question. feeling extremely uncomfortable.

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    Welcome to the site, jkris! It sounds to me like you are having problems with your Inner Critic. The Inner Critic is the editor within you, the part that is always certain nothing is good enough, and so strives to make it perfect. This is both a bane and a blessing. It's a blessing because it keeps you editing and refining. It's a bane because it never stops. To control your Inner Critic, you need know when to say 'this is as good as it's going to get; any further editing will just hurt it.' Then you need to go ahead and release it, no matter how bad you think it is. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 31 '15 at 15:49
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    A further note: Deadlines can help in controlling your Inner Critic. They force you to stop editing at a certain point, even if the deadline is self-made. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 31 '15 at 15:50
  • Both are excellent pieces of advice, @TommyMyron. Great points to bring up. – Josh Nov 2 '15 at 15:08
  • @TommyMyron you pull out my mangled-thoughts, pieced it together and put it on a silver platter: inner critic. Thank you. And for the advice you gave through out :) – jkris Nov 5 '15 at 2:47
  • @jkris I'm glad you found it helpful. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Nov 5 '15 at 8:00

It's common to have a different persona in your writing than in person. One of the advantages of writing is that you can appear wittier, quicker-witted, more eloquent and knowledgeable than in life, all through the magic of editing.

I always advise people online to present their public persona, not their private one, and to make it a kinder, calmer, more modest and moderate self, because the online record is visible to all, and never goes away.

As they say in the theater, realism is just another style. Presenting yourself in print exactly as you are in life is arguably not even possible, let alone a moral necessity.

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In Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, she talks about "shitty first drafts." (Read about it here.) The point is that your first draft should be nothing more than a dump of creative ideas, disregarding spelling, grammar, consistency, and all other quality measures. Then clean it up to make sense when you revise.

[Someone who wasn't Hemingway] said, "Write drunk, edit sober," and it echoes Lamott's advice.

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  • That make senses, I never thought of it that way. This definitely can help me, thank you. Though I'm going to hold off accepting this as the answer in hopes to see what others might have to say. – jkris Oct 30 '15 at 15:46
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    @jkris As I mention on Josh's answer, all writers are different. All use first drafts in slightly different ways (or in a few rare cases, hardly at all). You may find that structuring your first draft a bit more is the way to go. Or it could be the complete opposite: a 'dump of creative ideas,' like Ken mentioned. The point is, try to find what works for you. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 31 '15 at 15:56

Another approach for you might be to write in sprints - say, 10-15 minutes - and do not permit yourself to edit. Get up for a short break, do something other than writing, then return to the writing for a new session. When you do, go back over the words you wrote in the previous session, and do any editing you'd like to do. Then move forward for another 10-15 minutes (or whatever you can manage). Lather, rinse, repeat.

I've found this helps me produce more work, with better wording, and satisfies the "internal editor" telling me to fix things. Maybe that method will work for you too.

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  • Sounds like a good approach that may work for me too. I will try this the next time I write :). Thank you! – jkris Oct 30 '15 at 23:44
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    @jkris This is great advice. I would only add that all writers are different. I, for example, cannot write a paragraph without editing slightly as I go. Find what works for you. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 31 '15 at 15:52
  • @jkris, you're more than welcome. I can't recommend Dean Wesley Smith's book "Writing into the Dark" enough for writers, too. It's a great way to approach story writing and works well in lots of cases. – Josh Nov 2 '15 at 15:05
  • @TommyMyron, that's exactly what I do too. If I spot something, I fix it; there is no ignoring something if I've seen it. I do try, however, to keep my critical mind away from the creation process as much as possible. (Not always successful, but...y'know.) :) – Josh Nov 2 '15 at 15:06

I think you're talking about strategic writing.Seth Godin has advice for the mind set this needs.

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    Thank you for the direction. May I ask if you could point to me specifically which advise – jkris Oct 30 '15 at 15:42

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