Writers, in my view, can be a strange lot. Our internal conversations may from time to time exhibit something of a split personality, though this would not be a clinical condition. In my experience, I am a creator, on the one hand, while on the other, I am a tenacious editor.
When I’m in composition mode, I try to keep my editor at bay. She tends to serve as a wet blanket in the midst of creativity. (Writers, you know what I mean, right?) Once composition has had its way, my editor elbows in for an initial assessment. It is this split between the two forces − and even though they’re both me, they are both formidable forces − that refines a piece (whether poetry or prose) to live or die.
As a by-product of the creative process, the splits in our personality must be controlled but it’s a delicate balance. A friend once asked me what she needed to do to actually produce a full book-length manuscript. (She would write ten pages and immediately return to those pages for editing. It seemed she was continually re-writing the same ten pages!) Of course, I advised her to send her editor packing until the manuscript was complete. Then, she could go back and edit, but not before!
For writers, of course, this rule of thumb is easier said than done. The sonnet below relates this tension. As with other poems I’ve posted, I’m offering a light-hearted poem, but there’s also the gentle reminder (mostly to myself) about this lesson that needs to be re-learned almost daily!