Have you ever tried to type an email, only to keep re-writing it half a dozen times in the middle of actually writing it? Change a word here, rephrase a sentence there, correct a minor grammatical error in paragraph one--and do you sign with "Sincerely" or "Thanks"--and did you use perhaps a few too many times? Essentially, your cursor keeps running back and forth across the page like it's trying to get in the best shape of its life.
That's the result of your inner editor. You're constantly tweaking whatever you're trying to write--editing it--while still trying to write it. And how productive is that?
It's not terribly unproductive if you only have to compose a three paragraph email or a three hundred word blog article or college essay, but it's pretty near impossible to complete an entire fifty thousand manuscript if you leave your inner editor turned on.
The inner editor is a persnickety beast. (Personally, I imagine her as an old lady with blond hair, rhinestone glasses, and red fingernails who likes to purse her lips at my writer self and shake her head sadly, clucking, "Now, now, that won't do." And then she gets out her huge red pen and makes my manuscript bleed.) She (or he) likes to tell you to fix things while you're still writing.
When she does this, you must politely decline and shut the door to her office so that she doesn't bother you. She's going to scream and shout and pound on the door until you let her out with her armada of red pens. And she's going to be cranky when she does come out. But, to finish a rough draft, sometimes you have to lock her away while you're still writing it.
Now, your inner editor can also be a good friend (sometimes she just needs taming with some chocolate or coffee to calm her down to a normal, less frantic state). But, you have to let her out only at certain times or she'll crush your inspiration. That's not conducive to writing. But make a friend out of your inner editor when you're actually editing. She's a valuable resource, rhinestone glasses and all.
Do you struggle with your inner editor? Any suggestions for "What is..." articles?