Let's say that you started a notebook or a private Workshop Blog. You've banished the I.C--for the moment. Now, you sit down to write. Soon you fall through the page. The words are flowing.
If your I.C. pops up and starts giving you lip, put the comments in RED. Then take the I.C. out of the box, tell it off, return it in the box.
You will have zero tolerance for your I.C.
When you return to your WIP (work-in-progress), please delete those red words. And move forward.
It's important to give yourself permission to write what the heck you want. Misspell words with glee. Use all the damn adverbs you want. Tell, don't show. Violate every rule you can. As long as the story is flowing, let it flow. If your story begins to shift direction (a good sign for many writers), let it run. Let it fly. And don't look back. It's like climbing a mountain--keep looking straight ahead.
If you look back, then YOU will be in the box, and the I.C. will be roaming free.
If ideas pop up, make kinder, gentler notes to yourself in GREEN or GOLD or whatever color you want.
Whether you create a private blog or not, when you are finished with your project, you will want to spell check--or even revise. Now is not the time to invite your I.C. for coffee. Not yet. Don't look at your creation for a few days. And for heaven's sake--don't throw it away! Put it in a drawer. Leave it on your blog. Stick it in the freezer (this is what I do, lol).
After you've waited a few days or a week, you will return to your WIP with a clearer eye. By this time, you have achieved the necessary distance. Steve King says this is the time to "murder our darlings." He is right. But first, you need distance.
Now: you are ready for your I.C. Invite it for coffee.
First, print your WIP. Correcting a WIP on a computer screen is very, very different from correcting a hard copy (with an old fashioned pen).
Grab your pen of choice and start reading. You are wearing a different hat, so to speak--an editor's hat. (Some people even put on a stern, 50's hat when they are in self-edit mode.)
When the I.C. shows up, smile. Offer cake.
Just don't let the I.C. get too comfy. Lay down the law. Be specific. Do not let your I.C. be a "free range" critic. The I.C. can't pass judgment about anything you've written/decorated/baked/painted. The I.C. isn't allowed to say, "This stinks!" No eye-rolling, either.
The I.C. can point out spelling errors. You might even let it circle adverbs .
The revision process is eerily similar to decorating--editing a tablescape or items on a shelf. Sometimes you can get too close -- and you need to step back, listen to your intuition.
Later, as you become more comfortable with your I.C. (and when you learn to trust your intuition), you can let your I.C. answer specific questions. Your questions will be different from my questions (because writing is deeply personal).
My I.C. sits on my shoulder. It might say, "Wait, go back to that sentence. Yes, that one. Gee, it's kinda clunky, isn't it?"
I ball up my fists, ready to pounce. "Why, you little--"
The I.C. sighs. "Sorry, Gollum. That was harsh. I just meant you've got a lot of words in that sentence."
At this point, you and the I.C. are in sync. Just to be sure, though, read the sentence out loud.
When you read out loud, you are using a different part of your brain than when you read silently--and you will hear things that your eye would skip. (This is similar to taking digital photographs of a room--and you see what's wrong.)
Here's an example:
The car sped down the street is a perfectly okay sentence.
The red BMW sped down the street is much more visual.
You can even say, The red BMW sped through downtown Savannah and you've got a completely different scenario.
Make a note on your draft. Then keep reading. Don't dither. If you can't think of the perfect word, make a notation. And move on.
When you slow down, you are letting the I.C. get the upper hand. But if you write "as fast as the Gingerbread Man runs" (Steve King, again), then you are outrunning the I.C.
And you are listening to your intuition.
Here's another example:
She ate pie is a competent sentence, but it's a little vague.
This is better:
Casey lifted her fork and cut into a thick slice of apple pie. (Vanilla ice cream is optional. :-) )
Here's another thing your Intuition might flag:
The diner was empty except for a child with a dirty face.
Your pen might hover over this sentence. Something just feels...wrong, your Intuition says. Well, not wrong. But off kilter.
Give your I.C. a crack at this:
Your I.C. says, "Hey, I know--it's too vague. You need MORE words! Ha!"
So you jot down a few experimental words:
The diner was empty except for a little blonde girl with cake crumbs on her mouth.
Yes, says my Intuition.
But my I.C. says, Not so fast, Gollum. See, "diner was empty" is the passive voice.
True, I say. But I need that "quiet" before the Reader gets to the little blonde girl.
My I.C. wanted to know what kind of cake the girl was eating. I'm leaving that for the Reader to fill in. That's part of the fun of reading--filling in details the way you see them.
But I listened to my I.C. and started scribbling. Adding words. (I have a tendency to do this with tablescapes, too.)
The Drive Bayou Diner was empty except for a short, blonde girl with strawberry cake crumbs on her left cheek.)
My Intuition tells me that I've goofed. But how? It's specific, yes. But do we really need to know that the cake crumbs are on her left cheek?
On the other hand, don't tell us the girl is short. Show it.
The girl jumped off the stool. Her eyes peered over the counter.
(My I.C. heehawed at this one--"Her EYES PEERED?" Next you'll be telling me that her eyes dropped or somesuch!)
Oh, SHUT UP, you vile, filthy, stinky....
But the I.C. does have a point. Okay, let me amend that to: She peered over the counter.
This is where the notebook/secret blog is helpful. But try to practice every day. Even if it's just a sentence. You will need to write big, hairy things in order to write toned, buff things. But the big, hairy things will always creep out. Always. If you live to be 150, they will be there. I've been writing for decades, and hairy things pop up like weeds.
But you need them...just like you need the I.C. Hairy words have a function. They keep us on our toes, keep us from being lazy, keep us pushing forward up that mountain.
Writing is a lot like cooking--and decorating. Knowing what to leave out. Knowing what to add. Just like with decorating--don't "over polish." Don't edit the life out of your WIP. Just study your WIP the way you would a tablescape, and you will be fine.